Cheap, expensive-looking jewelry
January 12, 2019 12:13 PM   Subscribe

I am marrying someone whose family is part of a community that really cares about weddings, and specifically ostentatious weddings. Help me buy an inexpensive, but seemingly expensive 'wedding ring' for one-night only!

We already have wedding rings (made of meteorite!) that are very meaningful to us. However, for the purpose of appeasing this community, we need to buy showy jewelry just for this ceremony, so the guests can be impressed by it.

TLDR - how can I get cheap but expensive-LOOKING engagement/wedding rings? What makes something convincingly 'expensive-looking'? I don't know anything about jewelry and am worried about finding something obviously cheap and tasteless.

(PS - I am not interested in criticisms of this culture or ideas for fighting back against it. I love my in-laws, they understand why this is silly and showy, but it's also their reality and we're doing it).
posted by thelastpolarbear to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So just to be clear, they know the wedding rings used at the ceremony will be just for the show?

You could consider rentals. Also, not the most ethical, but you could also buy just before the wedding from a place with a return policy. Then you'll know what's expensive cause you'll see the prices!
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:17 PM on January 12, 2019

(PS - we've already had our own wedding for us and our friends, and our own wedding rings. This wedding is a separate event specifically for this community)
posted by thelastpolarbear at 12:18 PM on January 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are these folks legitimately educated about expensive jewelry? If so, you’re not going to fool them with something cheap. Renting is a great idea.

What’s your price range? You can get rings from Swarovski in the $100-$200 range.
posted by amro at 12:19 PM on January 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Are you looking for a conventional "engagement ring" type ring, that is, a band with more-or-less a single big diamond (or equivalent)? Or something else?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:19 PM on January 12, 2019

Expensive looking would probably mean "not obviously fake" stones to me. CZs are too flashy to look like real diamonds, especially at any size, and the coloured ones are clearly fake. I find white sapphires more convincing, but they're still $, not cheap-cheap. You could probably get a silver ring with white sapphires set into it for a zero or two less than an actual gold + diamond wedding band though.

What does expensive-looking mean to you and your guests? A big diamond? Lots of high carat gold? Big and blingy with lots of stones?

If renting is an option that seems like a way better plan.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:26 PM on January 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

(sorry to thread-sit, to clarify the existing questions -> my understanding is the only criteria is that they should look expensive, and mine needs to look 'feminine', which I think means it has to have a stone?)
posted by thelastpolarbear at 12:29 PM on January 12, 2019

What is your actual budget? How much can you spend, and how much do you want to look like you spent?

I feel like renting the real deal is probably going to work a lot better than buying fakes. It's easy to fool somebody from across the room, but not when they're standing at conversational distance and wanting to have a look at the ring on your finger.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:36 PM on January 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

See this: cubic zirconia wedding rings
posted by loveandhappiness at 12:38 PM on January 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Another thought: is there someone in the family/community that you could borrow from for the night? Maybe someone who doesn't wear their rings much, or someone who lost their partner sometime ago that might be glad to have their rings back out on display for the night, or something like that?
posted by joycehealy at 12:46 PM on January 12, 2019 [19 favorites]

A genuine-looking fake, if these folks are going to be admiring your hands very closely, is a dicey proposition. (And good-quality wedding bands can be on the plainer, "classic" side -- generally it's the engagement ring that's a status signifier.) I also vote rent.

Another idea: do your in-laws have anything appropriate that they'd loan out? A pricey, "heirloom" engagement ring could be pressed into service for the day, then returned to its proper owner? Maybe even a big diamond cocktail-type ring that's rarely worn (and has been rarely seen)?

(On preview: since this is their stipulation, I feel your in-laws could be more helpful to you and your spouse -- with guidance beyond "expensive-looking," at least, as to what's expected. Have you looked at their wedding rings? Are there other people in your generation in this family who did go the traditional route? Your rings sound awesome, btw.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:47 PM on January 12, 2019 [13 favorites]

Yeah, I popped in to say "If you have a close friend or relative who deeply trusts you, then borrow."
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:01 PM on January 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

I got my engagement ring from a fancy boutique place, which offered the option of renting rings for one partner to do a proposal with, before people go to the boutique and pick out a ring together, likely because picking things out or designing them together is an increasingly popular thing to do. The rentals do not appear to be contingent on buying a ring for the boutique. The rental was $200 for a week. Not a small amount of money, but not a lot, compared to buying a convincing fake (or an actual ring!).

Try fancy boutique places - especially those that make custom rings - in your area if you're interested in pursuing this option.
posted by unstrungharp at 1:14 PM on January 12, 2019 [9 favorites]

Thanks all! I am going to do some serious investigating into borrowing (can't believe I didn't think of that!) and renting!
posted by thelastpolarbear at 10:56 AM on January 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

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