JCK news report that something like 36% of Americans want to spend less than $1000 on their engagement rings, and that furthermore, older adults are likely to believe this more than those who are younger. Of course there is (as I know from my other life as a
psychologist) that there is often a gap between what people say they believe and what people actually do: the average cost of an engagement ring in the US is between $3000 and $5000. But it made me think – is that necessary? When I got engaged, in the car on the way over to buy the ring, I remember saying to my husband-to-be, ‘Oh, let’s not spend too much, I don’t need anything fancy, it’s not what it’s about anyway’…
And then they brought out the trays of bling, and I was ‘Uh…oh… I want that one’!!! And it was more than $1000. More than £1000 come to that. That was before I was in this line of work, and now I’d do it differently. Now I’d work from the stone out – that is, pick a stone that I loved and then have the ring designed around that.
I’ve got a sapphire in my ring and I love it, but I think if I were to have my time again, I’d maybe choose something different. Forget about diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire, with the prices sky-high, and having to keep it small. How about the gorgeous apricot pink oval at the top of the page, with gorgeous pleochroic lighter and darker shades? Or what could be more perfect than a big, plump, pink heart to seal the deal? This one (above left) is is around 12x11mm –
imagine that sitting proudly on your finger! Or for something more classic, the green square mixed cut (above right) would be beautiful surrounded by some baguette-cut diamonds. What I love most about tourmaline is its extraordinary colour range, and more unusual is the gorgeous sunshine-yellow oval, left. Again, it’s a good size at around 11mm long. Also lovely is the luminous pink pear, right, also a great size at around 10mm, and an even more fantastic price.
But what about a ring for $1000 and under? Impossible?! Not at all; there is plenty on offer; so many I had trouble picking just a few. Here are some of my favourites; clockwise from top left: rhodolite garnet is a beautiful and under-rated stone, in my opinion. This garnet, palladium and rose gold ring by Nodeform Weddings is beautiful in its simplicity and the rhodolite and rose gold compliment each other perfectly and comes in well under budget at $785. Those who know me know that there is a special place in my heart for textured metal; Stone Fever Jewelry’s Moonscape ring features a green tourmaline on a hand-punched, cratered 14 carat rose gold band and sneaks under the bar at $999. They will can also make matching wedding bands.and this style can also be made in yellow gold. Doron Merav’s Leaves engagement ring of white gold set with diamonds showcases an unashamedly feminine yet contemporary aesthetic, and at only $370 represents fantastic value for money. I don’t think I’ve seen anything so pretty that I’ve like so much in a long time. Last but not least is Nangijala Jewelry’s rough teal, sapphire and rose gold ring; sleek, contemporary and original. This is priced at a very reasonable $825.
As for me – the ring we ended up buying, the one I absolutely had to have? I remember saying to the rather austere assistant (with the brutal dark red lipstick) ‘My only concern is that it’s quite like Princess Di’s.’ Without missing a beat she replied, ‘Princess Di’s was much bigger.’ Well, I could have walked out there and then. But then, I absolutely had to have that ring.