Help finding a symbolic anniversary/wedding ring.
September 2, 2012 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Help finding a symbolic anniversary/wedding ring.

Hi Mefi,

My parents have been together since the 7th grade (40years).
Both physically disabled but my mother is bed ridden for several years. He's been her primary care giver 24/7.

My father runs a food business a few hours per weekend that earns about $250/mo.

Recently, he came up to me and told me that he was going to sell his equipment to buy her a engagement/ring. Her wedding ring was stolen about 20 years ago.

Naturally I dont want him to give up his side job and only source of mental relief. So here I am.

Looking for ideas or suggestions that would allow him to buy her a special ring. The ring is all about symbolism. The goal is to buy her something pretty and present it to her in a special way. It doesn't have to be a Diamond ring.

Right now the budget is undetermined - but pretty low. Do you guys have advice for this situation? Thanks!
posted by Highest_Of_Fives to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total)
Have you looked at Etsy? Here are some things to think about:
--budget: are you looking for under $100, under $500, or...?
--metal: would silver be ok? Goldfill? Must be solid gold?
--Traditional-looking ring, or not?

I found some on etsy that I liked the look of, but I have no idea what your father might be interested in.

Stackable rhodolite silver ring

silver eternity ring

Titanium and olive wood ring

three-band floral silver rolling ring

Simple white gold diamond ring

gold-filled stirling silver three band rolling ring

double-braid gold fill ring
posted by leahwrenn at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does she have a wedding band at all? Plain wedding bands are inexpensive. If he wants to purchase something with a stone perhaps the birthstone of the month they met or got engaged or married. Tie the stone to something - her blue eyes (aquamarine), green eyes (peridot)...whatever.

I did a quick check of Zales - here's a selection of aquamarine rings that look pretty engagement/wedding-y without breaking 100 bucks. If he needs to stay below 50 dollars, he'll need to select something with a less expensive stone like this white topaz. He's still getting a genuine stone, just not a diamond.

Pawn shops or second-hand shops are other options.

I'm sure you know this, but your Dad is a special guy.
posted by 26.2 at 5:20 PM on September 2, 2012

Just a small thought: is it possible that your dad might be wanting to stop his side business, and the ring is a "reason"? Not being cynical, not impugning your Dad's lovely idea!
posted by likeso at 5:28 PM on September 2, 2012

There are a lot of ways to do this if you're willing to bend the traditional rules. You can buy a 2nd hand engagement ring and have it polished and re-sized. You can also shop Ebay, which is stocked with them, and pawn shops. New or used, you can shop for a cluster ring, which will be vastly cheaper than a solitaire, even with the same total carat weight. And as another option, while I have never found one to my taste, you can also buy inexpensively what's called a Mother Ring, which has a stone for each child. That may hit the sentimental spot your dad is looking for at less cost.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:41 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing pawn shops. If gold, look for 14K stamped inside. Usually, but not always, those will have real gemstones, whereas say, 10K will be some faux or lesser stone from someplace like the HSN. I tend to favor the vintage looking rings, and have found many great looking rings for under $100.

Also, if it's cut into a really odd shape, say, indentations at the corners, chances are it's a fantasy ring (aka manufactured stone, as most gems can't be cut that way). It doesn't matter as long as your mom likes it! But I'd definitely go with him to a pawn shop and check out the rings there. They can easily be resized and inspected for say, loose settings. Way cheaper than a mall store and sometimes you find very unique pieces.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:12 AM on September 3, 2012

Your dad may want to check out, which is a site for jewelry resale. Check out the rings section--I don't know your mom's size, but there's a pretty Art Deco platinum filigree ring with small, nice antique-cut diamonds going for $150.00 right now. (!) There are some other pretty things, too. Some of the rings do tend to have diamond "stimulants" or alternative like Moissanite or sapphires, etc. I don't know if that meets your dad's needs, but it does open up the options a bit.
posted by anonnymoose at 10:53 AM on September 3, 2012

Sorry, I misspoke--looks like the ring I described is actually going for $99.00.
posted by anonnymoose at 10:57 AM on September 3, 2012

All - Thank you for the kind suggestions and PM's. My father really appreciates the warm thoughts. Metafilter has helped us deal with health insurance woes and many other problems. THanks again.

We will set the budget around ~$500. I will give him half just to help out. If my mother finds out he spent a fortune she would kill him for sure :)
She will have a spinal operation on the 15th to install a perminant device in her spine to stimluate it. We're trying to buy it before then.

leahwrenn: Thank you. I didnt realize Zales had so many budget offerings.

26.2: Thanks, he's definitely awesome. Having been through lung surgery a few years back it's like hes 15 years old again. Zales has a ton of options (which we didnt think of). We're looking at either a 'Anniversary Band' or a 'Wedding Set'. She doesnt have her band either.

Likeso: His small business is pretty much Gas money for my little sister while she attends college. He doesnt want to stop. It also gives him a chance to talk to the members of his community (and their kids!).

DarlingBri: The second hand engagement suggestion looks great, but with so many fakes/scams out there it's tough to tell what's legit or not. The cluster ring idea is also great, zales has a few nice ones for about $500. As for the mother ring idea, she loves that type of thing. We have already given her a bracelet which represents each of us, and also a chain/pendant with stones for each. Right now we're looking around and hopefully something will stand out.

anonnymoose: Interesting. We looked into diamond alternatives but some are as expensive as the real thing! Moissanite/Sapphires look great. We were also looking into Amethyst since she likes purple.

I'll post some photos on here tomorrow and will surely keep you guys update.
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 11:50 AM on September 3, 2012

Great, note that there is also a Zales Outlet, and you can sort by price band!
posted by DarlingBri at 12:15 PM on September 3, 2012

I think you can find something gorgeous in your budget range in amethyst and still have enough left over for a wedding band, too, if your dad wants. Check out all of these options!
posted by anonnymoose at 12:42 PM on September 3, 2012

Here's a lovely silver & amethyst willow-twig engagement ring on Etsy, $258.

My own wedding ring was molded out of foundry wax by mrs_goldfish, who tried it on me for size and then took it to a local jewelry-maker who cast it for us in silver. It was well within your budget.

Another possible symbolic dimension: a ring made from recycled metal, if your parents would appreciate the environmental or labor or other aspects of that symbolism. Here's what quick googling generated: GreenKarat carries rings made of recycled platinum or other metals, under $500. Artisan Wedding Rings carries more such rings, with themed patterns (Celtic, Middle Eastern, cranes, bears, waves, plants). Lots more on Etsy.
posted by feral_goldfish at 2:01 PM on September 3, 2012

Thanks for the well wishes, private messages, and even offers for donation.

As promised - Some photos:

High school:
First wedding in 85:
25th Anniversary Vow Renweal
Recent photo

The hunt is still on ! Ebay has a ton of options also but I'm still wary.

We're leaning towards Ring+Band combo in an alternative stone (Wedding Set).
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 3:40 PM on September 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

There are plenty of legitimate jewelers selling on ebay. I'd look for (a) a high % satisfaction AND a high number of votes - this seems pretty hard to fake (b) a business that is also a brick & mortar. That said, once you focus on these safe looking jewelers, I'm not sure you'll find better prices on ebay than from a brick-and-mortar, particularly if you are in (or can get to) a big city. But it's easier to browse & get an idea of the going price for stuff.

Also, Costco.
posted by mr vino at 6:57 PM on September 3, 2012

FWIW I like this one.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:08 PM on September 3, 2012

So last night my mother was admitted to the ER because she was in a world of pain. They administered pain killers intravenously to and sent her back home. My father massaged her back throughout and never left her side. I cant help but respect the heck out of him.

Anyway, after researching a bunch we decided on a bluish/purple light colored stone, with a diamond 'halo', and wedding band. This one here is out of reach but looks to be what we're aiming for.

With a stone that maybe looks like this:

She has some yellow gold jewelry pieces handed down from her mother so we might have to lean that route. I'll keep digging!
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 8:12 AM on September 4, 2012

If you're leaning in the "blue/purple" range of stones, then tanzanite and iolite are options. Both of those stones have a color shift property so sometimes they'll look more purple or blue depending on the available light.

Tanzanite is popular, but a bit expensive. Less expensive tanzanite will be lighter and more lavender. It will also not have the color shift visible.

Iolite is in the same color range. It's a bit harder to find and much less expensive than Tanzanite. Iolite would definitely be in your price range, but you want to see those stones in person if at all possible. Cheaper stones are sometimes poorly cut and they look dull.

I hope your mom is feeling better today.
posted by 26.2 at 9:55 AM on September 4, 2012

Thanks. The jeweler is willing to use smaller diamonds and reduce the total number of diamonds by 2. This would make the ring $700. The stones look good via photos.

White Topaz:
Blue Topaz:
Blue Sapphire:
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2012

Didnt know that I can post hyperlinks!

White Topaz

Blue Topaz

Blue Sapphire
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 11:55 AM on September 4, 2012

Just from a hardness and durability standpoint, I think you'll find that sapphire will be the best choice. Topaz, while also gorgeous, is softer (with a Mohs scale hardness score of 8 vs. sapphire's 9), so your mom will see a lot more wear and tear over time from topaz.

The set you picked is so pretty! And you as your dad are so thoughtful to sort this out. No matter what you pick, your mom will be thrilled.
posted by anonnymoose at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2012


This is the ring he chose

From Dad:

"Hi pal, i didn't sleep last nite (haa) it looks the blue topas it is . it looks great in the pic, plus i only have 400.00 and it is 750.00 .is there away to rename the email you send so that it doesn't say which ring do you like for mom. just in case she looks at my computer"

I'm working with Etsy jewelers to use a smaller gem (this one is 3.48ct 9x9mm). To cut costs we will change the metals to 10k white gold and will remove two diamonds from the band. This would allow us to add a plain wedding band into the mix.

Since you guys seem to love the photos I decided to add a few random's
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 7:44 AM on September 5, 2012

Also, another option is to use Morganite instead of Topaz. Waiting on that quote though....
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 8:50 AM on September 5, 2012

Thx for photos. Your parents are freaking adorable.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:31 PM on September 6, 2012

My grandma and I helped out and the ring will be purchased today. It will be around $1k.


After obsessing about the main stone we realized that they are so cheap to purchase (and even change colors) that it wasn't a big deal. Awesome :)

PS: Thanks again.
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 6:42 AM on September 7, 2012

Thrilled for your mom and dad. That set will be beautiful.
posted by 26.2 at 12:40 PM on September 7, 2012


We do have a question.

On this ring the wedding band has a cut out so that they match better and to reduce spinning.

My father asked if it was possible to get the second ring so that it could be worn on its own. The jeweler suggested raising the buckets Like this

However this would probably lead to one or both of the rings to spin (even in separate directions).

Since the rings are only half covered in diamonds this might not be a good idea.

So - Do you think we should go separates? or get the diamond with the cut out? Or other..
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 6:07 PM on September 7, 2012

I asked the jeweler for input im sure he gets this often!
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 6:17 PM on September 7, 2012

Well go with the non-cutout version of the wedding band. The jewler will sell the addl diamonds at cost. If we have issues with twisting and such well just weld them!
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2012

Very happy woman!
posted by Highest_Of_Fives at 7:31 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oooooh, lovely. Thanks for updating!
posted by likeso at 12:21 PM on October 4, 2012

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