Alternative Wedding Rings – Are Diamond Alternatives Really a Girl’s Best Friend
We’ve all seen that classic romantic comedy proposal.
Having lost the girl and then won her back, the man gets down on one knee in a beautiful French restaurant – or a moonlit beach, or a park at sunset – and opens a little velvet box to reveal a huge, blinding diamond. Unfortunately, in the real world, a ring like that would likely saddle the happy couple with a few thousand dollars of debt, which is why more and more couples are opting for diamond alternative engagement rings.
Simple Engagement Rings for a Simple Couple
When my husband and I got engaged, we were living as simply as two young people in New Jersey could live. I worked in a tiny hair salon tucked into a corner of the local shopping mall while he fueled planes at McGuire Air Force Base. At night, we came home to a tiny one-bedroom apartment where the only furniture was a couple of lawn chairs and a mattress on the floor. We were having a fight; I thought he wanted to leave me and nothing he said could convince me otherwise until he yelled, in a fit of frustration, “Well, would it help if you knew that I wanted to marry you?”
Naturally, the argument was over. He presented me with the tab from his soda in lieu of a ring. To me, that little hunk of metal was the most beautiful of non traditional engagement rings possible, but I couldn’t exactly wear it on my finger. The only diamonds we could have afforded would have been tiny and full of flaws, so we decided to continue the trend our relationship had already set and look for alternative wedding rings and unique engagement rings that would really reflect our own personalities rather than trying to force something that neither of us felt passionate about just for the sake of an outdated and overly commercialized tradition.
The Search for Alternative Wedding Rings
It took us a little while to find rings that we both really liked. The big jewelry retailers, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to turn out products that are somewhat bland; pretty enough, sure, but overpriced and designed to appeal to a very wide audience. Even the rings that they touted as “unique” were basic at best and hopelessly tacky at worst. I haven’t felt any particular desire to wear a heart-shaped ring since the cubic zirconia purity ring my parents bought me for my thirteenth birthday. We wanted jewelry that better reflected what we wanted our marriage to be like: low-key and simple, but deeply beautiful.
Eventually, we found some local indie artists that made a wider variety of unique wedding rings: opal engagement rings, opal wedding rings, pearl engagement rings, and even one that was made from a small piece of a meteorite. In addition to carrying more meaning, these handmade rings were also significantly less expensive, especially the ones that were sold directly from the artists, which eliminated the markup of thirty percent or more that most retailers take.
Finally we settled on two pieces that we felt deeply drawn to: for me, a moonstone wedding ring set in a sterling silver band. The inside was engraved with a Celtic knot to represent the way we wanted our futures to be tied together. His was a simple titanium band with a small moonstone chip set in to represent the strength of our love, in happiness and in adversity. These alternative rings really helped us to express and understand how we felt about each other in a way that we had never done before.
My husband and I have been together for thirty years now, and I can’t say for sure whether a different ring would have made any difference. I would like to think that we are above such material considerations. But the truth is, choosing the engagement and wedding rings is an important test of how well you and your future spouse know each other. If he picks a ring that doesn’t mesh well with your aesthetic preferences or your personality, odds are you still need to get to know each other a little bit better before you make such an important decision.
For my husband and I, alternative wedding rings were a true test of our knowledge of each other and of our readiness for marriage, and I’d say we passed both with flying colors.
About the Author
John is the owner of TheDiamondAuthority, a website covering the latest in news on diamond jewelry fashion and much more. John seeks educate, engage and entertain jewelry consumers to help them make the best purchases possible. He also extensively writes about after-market subjects such as jewelry repair, maintenance, and modifications. If you’re in the market for diamonds but don’t want something wallet busting, John highly encourages you to check out his article about asha sona diamonds.