Found the guy. Now, about that ring...
June 5, 2016 1:59 AM   Subscribe

It's time to get an engagement ring, or is it?

Boyfriend and I are seriously planning to get married, but since we will be long distance until then, I said it might be nice to have an engagement ring to remind me of our promise. Previously, I hadn't really wanted one and am currently still very happy with this ring he got me a year and a half ago. (I picked it out, though.) I love the simple, yet intricate design, the sparkles, the fact that it doesn't bother me when I wear it, and that it's from him. He says he's glad I love it, but he will buy me a "real" engagement ring if I want one.
The thing is, I'm not sure if I want another ring. This one is perfect to stack a thin wedding band together - it has been mistaken for a wedding ring itself, though. Just a short while someone at work asked me if I had gotten married, even though I have been wearing this ring on my left ring finger for over a year. I mostly just explain that I wear this ring because I love the design and want to ward off creepy guys and awkward questions, as I work in a culture where people still ask a woman over 25 why she is not yet married.I am not sure if I want to flaunt a big engagement ring at work, though, because people may think I'll quit as soon as I get married, like many women in this culture still do.
But I do love the look of some engagement rings, and thought maybe I could still get one and wear it outside of work, and then after we get married and I found a new job that is not as sexist. Only if I can find a ring I love, though. If not, I'll perfectly happily wear my old one forever or as long as it lasts.
Boyfriend says maybe we should get the first one remade in better material, which is definitely one option, but maybe more for a wedding band? I do love the look of a solitaire on a thin band, but worry about practicality. Will I be scratching an eye out with one of those? And will it be stackable with my old ring and/or a wedding band?

I do not like bezel settings or inlets or pretty much any designs other than the ones posted below... I also do not want a blood diamond, and our budget of a few hundred means we'll probably get a lab diamond or another (clear white) stone.

So far, I am loving these designs, but they all have some drawbacks:
Ring 1: Love it, could probably even wear it to work, but it doesn't look stackable and seems way too expensive for the size.
Ring 2: Super pretty, but no idea where to buy, what price, if the stones are conflict-free... Doesn't look very stackable either, and a bit too blingy even for someone who loves sparkly stuff.
Ring 3: Affordable, would not draw attention at work, looks like it wouldn't bother me much, design goes nicely with my current ring. Origin of diamond questionable, and I like it, but don't love it.
Ring 3b: Same as 3.
Ring 4: Just a round solitaire on a thin band (like this or this), which I love, but might bother me during the day. I guess I will be able to test that and stackability out in a store if I can find one that sells conflict-free (possibly artificial) diamonds.
Ring 4b: This looks like a solitaire that wouldn't bother me too much, and I love the added details, but I don't love the price and the questionable origin of the diamond.
Ring 5: The twisted design would fit nicely with my current ring, but the price is too high.
Ring 6: Love the idea, but hate asymmetry, and it's too expensive.
Ring 7: Affordable, probably stackable, won't bother me or draw much attention. Cute, but a bit boring.

Is a custom ring the way to go here? How would we do that? I am a bit wary of ordering one online without seeing it, and boyfriend will be in Japan and I am in Switzerland, where prices are exorbitant. I am starting to dislike myself for buying into this ring thing...

Thank you, everyone, who has read so far!
posted by LoonyLovegood to Shopping (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you are seriously concerned about diamond origins and ensuring a conflict-free stone, may I suggest not getting a natural stone of any kind, at all?

Here is one example of many articles you might find that suggest that it's pretty hard to be certain where your stones came from and how they got there - diamonds aren't the only stone susceptible to this kind of thing, either.

I'm personally a big fan of moissanite, if you want a diamond lookalike (it's actually even sparklier than diamond) and then of course there are lab grown stones in just about any type or color you can imagine. Would synthetics be acceptable to you?
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 3:06 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks! As I said, I prefer lab-grown, both because of ethical concerns and price.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 3:10 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Love the look of #1, could stack it with existing ring. Agree with previous poster…find a similar style and look in moissanite.
posted by zagyzebra at 3:45 AM on June 5, 2016

I agree with gloriouslyindancescent about moissanite. I have a pair of moissanite earrings that I wear all the time that have teeny little stones in that are super-sparkly. Moissanite isn't cheap compared with CZ, but it's much, much better quality and doesn't have that 'blueness' that you get with CZ.

Search on etsy for moissanite rings and you'll find lots, from the massively blingly to some really nice, delicate rings that fit with the aesthetic you've shown us in your examples.
posted by essexjan at 3:47 AM on June 5, 2016

Thanks! I know about moissanite, but after years of googling, the above are the rings I like, so if anyone knows a good custom moissanite jewelrer and a software that lets me design my perfect ring, that would be wonderful!
posted by LoonyLovegood at 5:32 AM on June 5, 2016

I think most any custom jeweler will do moissanite if you ask them to.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:46 AM on June 5, 2016

Just stick with the ring you have. Given that you guys are long distance right now and that you said your office may be expecting you to quit once married - skip the hassle and expense. Your current ring is lovely and meaningful.

Disclosure: married six years and skipped the
Engagement ring.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:14 AM on June 5, 2016 [13 favorites]

Insist your diamond is Canadian and ask for its certification. Canadian diamonds are conflict free.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:21 AM on June 5, 2016

Definitely, yes, get an engagement ring. You will sort out what to get eventually, but put the worry about whether or not to do it behind you now.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:28 AM on June 5, 2016

I had a Mennonite nurse during my last pregnancy. I don't know how we got on the subject, but she told me that they don't wear wedding bands at all because their way of thinking is that it doesn't make sense to need a removable piece of jewelry to remember your commitment. I'm in agreement there- you know where you are in life, you don't need a blimp announcing it to everyone. It's not as if there is a magic engagement ring that is going to stop men from hitting on you or insure the love of your boyfriend.

Since what you really seem to want is something to hold while you can't hold him, why not go for a locket with a picture of him in it? Or go goth and get one with some of his blood. Whatever. Long distance is hard. Do what you need to do to feel connected, but it doesn't sound like the ring is what you need. Spend that money on plane tickets.
posted by myselfasme at 9:40 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am starting to dislike myself for buying into this ring thing...

This ring thing seems to me part of that same culture where they ask a woman above 25 why she is not yet married.

You don't need another piece of jewellery.
posted by Kwadeng at 4:05 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think engagement ring traditions are overrated. My best friend and I each ended up with non-traditional engagement rings (hers an art deco style antique ring with sapphires, mine just a pretty sparkly ring I liked) and neither of us wears them with our wedding rings. We both have extremely plain gold wedding bands, as do our spouses. I wear my engagement ring on my right hand for special occasions or when I just feel like looking a little more sparkly and otherwise it hangs out at home with my other jewelry, which makes me glad we didn't break the bank on it or overthink it.

I think it's entirely up to you and what sort of commentary you want to deal with. Because, as a woman, you will get comments. Get a big traditional rock and it'll be comments on his wealth/success and/or criticism of your showiness. Something small and you'll get aggressively sympathetic comments. Nontraditional and you get "oh, that's... nice" comments. (Or in my case: "Oh, did you... pick that out yourself?") None at all and you get "are you sure he's actually committed?" comments. There is literally no winning. So just decide what you do or don't want to wear, don't worry about what's traditional or not, and deal with the inevitable commentary as gracefully as possible. (It does die down after the initial novelty, I promise)

FWIW I think your current ring is gorgeous, and I can certainly see using this occasion to have it remade in a longer-wearing alloy and stacking it with a wedding ring.
posted by olinerd at 4:13 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I never got one, never missed it. It's just jewelry. We don't even wear our actual rings that much; turn out we both kind of hate wearing rings, so we stopped after a few years.

You already have a ring you like, who cares if it's got a diamond? Why not take the money you'd spend on an expensive ring and buy something for the two of you, or save for a house payment or something? You'll get more out of it and will never have to worry about losing it when you're out swimming or something.
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 PM on June 5, 2016

Okay, I seem to have expressed myself badly again. This keeps happening to me here, I guess...
I never talked about big diamonds or a ring that is expensive enough that the money would be better spent on plane tickets or a down payment for a house. (Who buys rings in that price range?) I was thinking 500$ tops because I would like a nice piece of jewellery - no, I do not have enough, I am not very materialistic otherwise, and I also don't see how a necklace is somehow more worthy than a ring. He says he'll be happy to buy me something and I said I'd buy our wedding rings instead, so if I want a nice piece of sparkly for once and have him buy it for me when I usually never ask for big presents, but want to this time because it's nicer than buying it for myself.
Never mind, I'll figure out a solution to the perfect ring on my own. Thank you for all the answers.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:06 AM on June 6, 2016

I have a (fancy, expensive) engagement ring, and I love it - I don't think it's silly to want this just because you want it, especially considering that you guys are long distance and it would be nice to have a tangible reminder of your relationship! I get it -- engagement rings are not for everyone, and that's fine. I would never tell anyone that they HAD to get one. But I also don't think it's ridiculous to want one if you do in fact want one! Obviously no one should go into debt over it or spend money they don't have, but it clearly does not sound like this is a concern in your case.

Personally I love the idea of getting your current ring remade using higher quality materials so it will last longer, or getting a lab-made diamond solitaire (which will definitely have that "engagement ring" feel). For example, this mossanite ring or this one come in at or under your price point.

I wouldn't worry so much about a perfect pairing with a wedding band - although my engagement ring is technically stackable, I probably wear it about 10% of the time now that we're married and I'm happy to have the option but don't feel the need to wear it every day. I also have friends that wear their non-stackable engagement rings on their right hand after marriage. So there are options. I was also really worried about a ring bothering me through the day, but honestly I got used to it pretty quickly, and it sounds like you'd only be wearing the ring part-time (outside of work) anyway. So I say go for the ring that makes you happy! :) Good luck.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:49 AM on June 7, 2016

Everyone, I found the ring! (I actually bought it myself and will hand it over to my boyfriend to give back to me when I'll visit him in Japan next month, lol.)
It did not end up being a moissanite (I really wanted one, but they seem to come in only big stone sizes and custom-made was quite pricey), but a used 0.15 ct diamond ring in white gold, which means no new diamond being mined for me.
This is what it looks like with my previous ring, which I'm sad to say is losing some lustre due to cheap quality, but at some point, when we'll have more disposable income, I'll get a it remade.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2016

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