Thoughts on...

Thoughts On… The Ring Thing

So it turns out that when you get engaged, you wear a ring.

Who knew, right?* It’s a whole thing. There’s the proposal, and all the things that come with that (champagne… lots of champagne), and then there’s the ring. Usually a shiny ring. Usually a shiny ring with a sparkly rock perched on top so that you can blind your enemies with some carefully-angled light reflection. While I was aware of all of this in a vague, theoretical sense, I hadn’t really thought about it.

Like… ever.

Of course I’ve been around other engaged people, and I’m not completely socially inept, so I have taken part in the customary, “Congratulations! Oooh your ring is amazing!” routine. My congratulations are always sincere – I am a secret sap and melt internally during retellings of funny/sweet/charming/odd/downright peculiar proposals – but if I’m honest, my interest in the ring itself has always been extremely limited. My brain sees the new bit of jewellery and registers ‘beautiful silver-coloured ring with sparkly stone’ and literally nothing else. This may sound borderline sacriligeous, but by and large they all look the same to me. More importantly, they mean the same thing; this person (who I love) is getting married (to someone they love)… and that’s lovely!

But amigos, you have no idea.

Or rather, maybe you do have some idea, but I had NO idea.

The ring thing is an actual rabbithole. It’s Ringception. You think all you need to do is pick a ring. You think it’s simple. You think there’s only one layer… but you’re wrong. You’re so wrong. There are many layers, and once you’ve jumped in there is no Edith Piaf singing Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien to kick you back to sanity.

The first time I looked at rings, I felt the same icy panic that usually closes over me in the men’s shoe department. They all look the same. I know they’re not the same – I know there are differences – but God help me, I cannot point them out. I start to feel a strange, itemised kind of colourblindness; each ring I look at blurs into a muddy amalgamation of every ring I’ve seen before it. It turns out they are not just beautiful silver-coloured sparkly diamond rings. They are rose gold, or yellow gold, or platinum, or white gold, but if they’re white gold then they can be 14 karat, or 18 karat, and can I tell the difference?

No. No I cannot.

Then there are the diamonds (you can use any stone, but diamonds are most common); they can be round, or square, or oval, or pear, or princess, or cushion, or marquise, or emerald, or asscher, or a dozen other “cuts,” and that’s without going deeper into facet cuts and table depths and mathematical formulas for making the diamond a blinding weapon of refraction. I avoid mathematics whenever possible so as you can imagine this is not an area I am particularly interested in. When it comes to one round cut diamond or another round cut diamond, can I tell the difference?

No. No I cannot.

And then, after all that, you have the settings. Do you want it in a bezel setting? Halo setting? Tension setting? Prong setting? How many prongs? Four? Six? Square-placed or compass? Talon or rounded? Cathedral or Tiffany?

It’s endless.

When I started reading online about all of this, I kept coming across forums full of men planning to propose. There are threads out there in the wilderness of the world wide web crammed full of adorably encouraging strangers virtually psyching each other up and advising each other to “Check out her pinterest so you have an idea of what rings she likes.”

Psssh! I scoffed. Like there are people out there pinning their ideal engagement rings to their pinterest boards. Pinterest is for food! Everybody knows that!

Alas, further googling forces me to admit that I was wrong; these people exist. They are legion. There are many, many people out there who are extremely prepared for any potential proposal that might pop up. In this, as in so many other things, it turns out I am that one suddenly cramming for a test I didn’t even know I had to study for, while other people have been carefully compiling binders of detailed notes** for years.

Quelle surprise.

Still, there are a few things here that are bring me a measure of serenity when I start to feel like I am falling into a vertically-placed, asscher-cut hall of mirrors.

asscher cut diamond engagement rings
You could fall in and never come out

 

  1. This is the most first world of first world problems.
  2. Parts of this process have allowed me to say shake my head vigorously and say truly outrageous things like, “NOT THOSE PRONGS!” which is not something I ever thought I would have an opinion about, let alone say out loud.
  3. I don’t really care. I mean I care in so much as I do not want to wear an uncomfortable, heart-shaped eyesore for the rest of my days, but I don’t care. I would have said yes without any ring. I would marry Scrubs with a rubber band around my finger. He is the best.***

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve read more than I ever thought I would need to know about engagement rings. I’ve made some tentative decisions (I’ve decided against heart-shaped diamonds as a general rule). I will no doubt update you when I receive the final product so you can say “Oooh your ring is amazing!” in keeping with the well-established custom.

… Even if it does just look like a beautiful silver-coloured ring with sparkly stone.

*When we got engaged there was a provisional ring (rose gold, with rose quartz and little diamonds for the curious), with the plan being to find The One Ring To Rule Them All at a later stage, together. Hence, Ringception.

**Pinterest boards.

***I realise I am biased. He is though.

78 thoughts on “Thoughts On… The Ring Thing

  1. It’s a coincidence that you post about your proposal as Fella and I went searching for a ring this past weekend! I found 3 good options and told him I would be happy with any. Now he’s hiding a ring somewhere in the house waiting for ‘the right moment’; plus, he wants to talk to my parents… I’m going half nuts wanting to tear the house apart looking for ‘my precious’, but I want him to have his moment.

    I’ve always been fascinated with engagement rings. I don’t so much have a Pintrest board as I have an entire wish list on Etsy. I gravitate towards antique rings, especially from the 20s-40s. They have such a story to tell in my mind. Like with anything else though, you’ll know it’s your ring as soon as you see it.

    I’m so happy for you!! 🙂

    1. The antique ones are very pretty, I admit. And look at you so quick and decisive! I feel like you just dived right in whereas I’m the stereotypical rabbit in headlights, except the headlights are just lights reflected by many, many sparkly stones! Congratulations! Or is it too early to say that? Do I have to wait?

      1. I will accept any pre-engagement congratulations. 😀 We figured, since we put an offer on a house last week (and didn’t get 🙁 ), maybe a wedding should be in our future as well.

        Like I said, I’ve been studying rings for years now, so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted. This weekend was just supposed to be about trying them on, but things got serious very quick. 🙂

        1. Oh no! You didn’t get it?! Well at least you’ve got Your Precious to keep your spirits up! And PRE-CONGRATULATIONS CONGRATULATIONS!

          1. Nope. Didn’t get it. We even offered over asking price, but were beat out by another offer. It wasn’t meant to be I guess…

            And THANK YOU! 🙂

          2. Argh. I’ve been there, so frustrating. In our case it actually worked out in the end though so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that it falls through with the other buyers!

  2. I don’t wear much jewelry and I certainly don’t wear anything of value, so I know probably even less than you on rings. It’s just not something I ever needed to know or ever will need to know. My mom is pretty ring obsessed. Always looking at rings at stores and for anniversaries getting her rings upgraded or fixed or something… I guess when/if I get engaged, I’ll be forced to consider things a bit more.

  3. When I asked her on bended knee, the box I proffered held a black rubber O-ring from a motorcycle carburetor. We had met in a motorcycle racing chat room, where she was asking about carburetor jetting changes as a function of altitude (she was a hopeless romantic from the start). She wore that O-ring exclusively for almost a year, and was genuinely disappointed when I finally got around to getting her a rock made of rock. Well, “disappointed” may not be *quite* the right word. In fact, if I recall, her exact words were, “it’s about fuckin’ time”. But I knew what she meant.

    Did that make you secretely sap and melt? Good.

    BTW, I spent the time between rubber and actual gem researching things until I practically became a gemologist. If you’re not in any particular hurry, I suggest you at least become familiar with the basics so you’re not conned into something like a “spread diamond” (a stone cut wide but flat, which makes it look impressively large but destroys the sparkly-sparkly we all love). My own experience showed that “cut” is the #1 key to ring happiness, followed by color. Don’t worry about clarity overly – most of the little imperfections that affect clarity rating are only visible under magnification, and are pretty much completely negated anyway if you get a stone with an excellent cut. The other “C”, carat size, is all personal preference. Do you want class, or revenge? Go wild there.

    Oh – and diamonds don’t reflect. They refract 🙂

    Post pics of the rubber band!

    1. Oh you old romantic you, you really hooked me right in there with the rubber o-ring…

      You’re quite the expert! I’m not into big rings because I feel like I’m wearing costume jewellery and how am I supposed to play in the dirt with a growth of hard rock sticking out of my hand? I’ve been reading (and reading and reading) but honestly there’s just so much that I never knew I never knew… Thanks for the tips and also the little bit about refraction. I’m going to sound so knowledgeable at my next appointment!

  4. Your token ring sounds beautiful, I chose an eternity ring of diamonds this time because I knew it would be forever 😊😍 previously I had a very large diamond princess cut which always got in the way. Happy choosing 💍

  5. Congratulations on your engagement! I really enjoyed this post.
    I’ve never been much of a ring wearer, so my (now) husband and I had lots of discussions the idea of engagement rings whenever we talked about getting engaged. I decided to only go with one if it really caught my eye. In the end we found an antique silver ring with an emerald stone and I feel in love with it. The funny thing is, as soon as I got married I stopped wearing it. My non-ring wearing self much preferred to simply stick with my wedding ring.

  6. You and I are so alike haha, they all looked the same to me too, it gets worse when it comes to wedding planning, who knew how much attention people actually pay to the most trivial things like diamond clarity or the colour of seat cover bows? I’ve been to A LOT of weddings I don’t even remember what any brides dress looked like?
    I’m glad you are the same because I was starting to think I was a bit weird and walked around in a bubble oblivious to all of this ‘important’ stuff (maybe you do too but thats cool we can be bubble chums)

    I actually have a bit of heartbreak when it comes to my engagement ring. I hadn’t looked at rings because I NEVER thought we would get engaged as neither of us were ever that fussed about marriage but something changed his mind and he decided he did, he didn’t tell a soul and picked the ring by himself and popped the question, of course I said yes, because well, I love him, obviously, how could you say no if you love him?
    SO
    1) I am not a fan of the diamond industry 2) I have tiny hands and never wear rings 3) I would not have picked this ring for myself.
    He said I could change my ring if I wanted but at the time I thought it was so sweet that he chose it for me and something had drawn him to that particular ring. so I said No. Also I dont understand these couples that go and pick a ring together then he proposes later on with the ring they just bought? WHAT? surprise?
    So my ring is the one he chose, I love it because I love him, I love that he chose it and I love what it stands for but I don’t love how it looks, or the attention the sparkly rock attracts (my little hands make it look so BIG) and I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for not loving it the way I should, my heart breaks for my poor ring as I accidentally on purpose leave it on the bedside table for the third day in a row.

        1. Honestly me too, I got so overwhelmed just looking at wedding things that I decided not to bother… currently 2.5 years engaged! I think we might elope!

    1. Hmmm… On one hand it would have been much easier for me had Scrubs picked the ring, but on the other hand I’m glad he went with the provisional one because, well, it’s very pretty and it was a total surprise, and this way I can decide on something I’ll love and wear (hopefully!). Poor ring! I have little hands too so I don’t want to go for anything big, partly because my stumpy fingers make big rings look like something I bought in a coin machine and partly because I feel it will get caught on everything imaginable! I’d say you have much more graceful hands and are less prone to getting caught on things, so you probably don’t have these issues, but I sympathise with the fact that you don’t feel comfortable wearing it all the time…

      1. I don’t think graceful is a word that has ever been used in reference to my hands or me in general, haha! It does get caught on everything and its currently caked in green mush from the avocado I sliced for my salad earlier. …. first world problems, eh!

  7. You can have fun with the experience. When you go to the jeweler, stare at the rings while reciting ‘my precious’. That gets ’em every time. 😉

    1. Oh that’s a great idea. Should I yell “OVER THERE!” and dump a bunch of them in my pocket as well? If they notice I can always scream, “IT’S JUST A PRANK BRO!” while sprinting out the door…

  8. Your thoughts crack me up. I am like you on the ring thing. I lucked out, my husband gave me the wedding ring his father gave to his mother when they were married (he is no longer with us so it is extremely special). It has 3 separate bands of gold and a tiny pear shaped diamond on top, nothing spectacular, but something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life!

      1. Ditto. If it makes you feel any better, my father spent a pretty penny on my husbands when we got married. He’s really skinny and in the winter his ring can always come off super easy. Well he was wearing it one day and then by the time he got to lunch it was gone and it hasn’t been found since. Moral, a ring is just a ring. He wears the rubber ones now.

        1. Oh no! If it makes you feel better a friend of ours lost his ring two days after the wedding while swimming in the sea! I am now terrified I will lose it somehow. I hope not!

          1. Ah. That sounds terrible. It sucked pretty bad when he lost his. But it’s just material. It wasn’t his fault and we keep hoping it’ll potentially turn up one day. I’m VERY careful about mine because of where they came from. It’s crazy to feel that way about jewelry!

          2. I think there’s a group of people online who volunteer their time to look for wedding rings with metal detectors, I’ll see if I can remember what they’re called… I think you can put up a notice saying whereabouts you lost it and hope they find it?

  9. IMHO – Skip the rings, engagement and wedding. Clutter. After sitting on our night stands for 18 years we finally put them in a box and got tattoos instead.

  10. I never ever wore rings til we chose my engagement ring. It took me ages to get used to something on my hands. Now I don’t notice and am constantly checking they’re still there.

    I had one all picked out on the internet but my hands were too small. I have child hands so we looked at a local jeweller in Aberystwyth and got a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring and I liked it more when I saw it in real life. Maybe find a jewellers with a good reputation and limit your ring research to one shop? Limits your choices!

    1. I also have child hands! It’s an absolute pain. Things I thought would look nice look ridiiiiiiculous on my stumpy fingers. Yours sounds beautiful!

  11. I don’t have a board or rings or anything wedding related haha. I didn’t realise there was thins much ringception in the world, I don’t plan on diving in any time soon but thano you fir the fair warning abd as far as I can tell, you may need some luck so GOOD LUCK!!!
    Ama / Albatroz & Co
    http://www.albatrozandco.com

  12. NOT THOSE PRONGS is gonna be the quote of 2017. There was the Princess Bride’s “inconceivable” and “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”.

    And now there is “NOT THOSE PRONGS”.

    Greatness.

  13. I have been reading this lovely blog for some time now but this is the first time I’ve felt inclined to comment because… YES!
    Many moons ago when I got married there was no ring, no proposal, nothing more than “hey so we have kids, maybe..?”. I know, I know, romantic.
    Although I’d change about a million things in that process(including having a wedding to begin with), I have always felt very strongly about the ring. I don’t care. Like, at all. I lose jewelry the second I buy it(which is rare.
    I’d say if someone really loved me and knew me, I’d have gone for a big fat engagement puppy. Honestly, a big fat engagement cheesecake would’ve been fine too;)
    Loved the read!

    1. As a fellow lurker, thanks for stepping out of the shadows on this one! I told Scrubs I’m fine with an engagement kitten, that I can hold up like Simba if anybody asks about a ring (“No, but have you seen my ENGAGEMENT KITTEN? SO CUTE! SUCH FLUFF!”) but he thinks it’s not practical.

      Which only shows a lack of imagination, in my opinion…!

  14. Decisions decisions decisions and honey child this is just the beginning.

    Absolutely adore that you face it all with such humor.
    And by creating coolass new words…ringception. Child, ima gonna make that my word of the day and see how many times the occasion arises that I can use it.

    Congratulation gal, it’s going to be one heck of a fun ride!!!

      1. Guuuurl no fear here!!! You SO got this!!!

        PS Used ringception a total of 3 times yesterday. Not sure if it was appropriately used any of the three times…but it made me smile just the same.

  15. This brought back the white hot panic of me picking my fiancee’s engagement ring… in a good way. You had me stifling chuckles at my desk many times as it brought back the memories of ring settings and trying to make ‘the moment’ as special as I wanted it to be!

    Congratulations by the way!

      1. I was quite proud of my choice in the end. The most nervewracking bit was pretending to be upstairs at work while I sneaked out and drove two mile down the road to pick the ring up. Got away with it though :p

  16. So I don’t know how long ago this engagement happened but I think a CONGRATS!! is in due order. I feel the same way about rings and literally purchased mine by walking into a single store and finding the one I liked the best out of whatever selection they had. It felt like mine the moment I put it on. The same criteria I have for shoes, on a side note.

    So I read this book on the history of human evolution and it talked about when the Spaniards came to Mexico and went crazy over all the gold the Mexicans had and the Mexicans were so confused because they were like, well sure it’s a pretty, shiny metal we like to make pots and ornaments out of but it’s pretty useless to do anything else with because it’s so malleable so they didn’t understand why the Spaniards were going nuts after it. Goes to tell you that shiny crap is only valuable when a group of fools decides it is. And apparently the world is a fool when it comes to diamonds!!

    1. Definitely. My favourite bit of information I’ve read in all of this is that DeBeers – marketing geniuses that they are – did a study that showed that when men purchased the ring alone, they spent a lot more money than when they came with their partners. For whatever reason, men would lose their marbles and spend a small fortune, whether out of nerves or a need to impress or whatever – but if the couple came in together the woman would always reign him in like, “Well yeah honey, OR we could just drop a couple of grand and redo the bathroom.”

      So DeBeers started a campaign suggesting proposals should be a surprise. So that guys would buy the ring unsupervised.

      How crafty is that??

      I love and hate that in equal measure. Its admirable from a business perspective but goddamn we can be such lemmings! Thank you by the way!

  17. I enjoyed this piece because your writing is always very enjoyable but also since I read the first sentence I was hoping for the words “I’m getting engaged!!!” in bold capital letters, but then the more I read the more I thought, maybe its just for her best friend or something?” And when I finally let my guard down, BAMM!!! But it was soo subtle, and unobnoxious. I truly enjoyed it… Congratulations dear!!!

  18. I’ve been strolling through your blog, leaving my little foot prints all over the place. And I keep forgetting to say I came by to say thanks for the follow. I like the Irish – I think I’ll stalk you !

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