Engagement Ring Crazed – Oy!

I’m a girl of marrying age, so I think most people would assume (myself included) that I should have some idea of what I want out of an engagement ring.  How wrong could I (and everyone else) be?

As I noted in my prior post, Mark has courageously handed me over the reins in picking out just what I want in a ring.  Now, if only I knew what I wanted.  Well, I thought I did.  So Mark and I went to a few jewelry stores to look around, but when I tried on various rings of that particular so-thought-desired style, they seemed to fall flat on my finger.  Shoot.  As I slowly made my way around the store, hovering over case after case of sad-looking empty settings, trying to envision what they would look like with a center stone, I got frustrated.  There are so many choices – cut, size, metal, “trimmings” if you will.  How am I going to decide?  And how do I know I’m seeing all the options?  What if I make a decision today and then see a much more interesting and BETTER ring 6 months from now?  I try to be decisive in life, I really do, but as my friends know, I’ve been searching for a table lamp for 2 years, and I just can’t seem to pull the trigger on buying any of the gagillion I’ve seen.  God forbid I waste $39.99 on a lamp and then see a better one two weeks later on sale at Marshall’s.  No, no, that just won’t do.  For now, I’m content to continue squinting at magazines in the semi-darkness on the far end of the couch until just the right lamp presents itself to me (in my price range).

I certainly have a much better understanding of the crazy stress guys must go through in buying an engagement ring for their girlfriends now.  Not only are making THE major life decision to commit themselves to another, they are shelling out some potentially serious $$$ to purchase that “perfect” ring.  And a lot of times, there’s an assumption that this must all be done without actually asking for said girlfriend’s opinion about what she may want, so that the ring, and often the actual proposal, is a surprise.  I like the idea of all this mystery, but it’s just gotta amp up the stress hormones.  Take for instance this guy’s guide to buying engagement rings from the infamous wedding website “The Knot”.  (Full disclaimer, I too have a “Knot” profile…please don’t judge, it seems really helpful so far!)


Entitled “Rules of Engagement Rings”, there are some potentially helpful tips about shape (for those that failed kindergarten) and style, but then it goes so far as to advise that you SPY on your girlfriend.  Now I understand they aren’t telling you to read your girlfriend’s text messages and go through her diary, but it still feels a bit creepy to follow her around and take “mental notes” as to her style choices.  I mean, why don’t you just go ahead and create a “case file” notebook like the kids on “Ghostwriter”…does anyone else remember that awesome PBS show? No? Okay, nevermind. It was great.

Well anyway, suffice it to say I think I’ve made a decision and committed to a style.  (But you’ll have to just wait and see once it’s officially on my finger…unless I already showed you a picture, and then, well, good for you.)

Although now the next hard part is upon me in where to actually purchase it.  I started with a standard style and then decided to make all these adjustments to it, so it’s not like I’m going to get to see the final product and then say “Eh, this looks like crap, nevermind, I’ll keep looking.”  I will have to be committed to this from the get-go so I better well enjoy working with the people who have my little ring’s fate in their hands.  My choices seem to stand in two camps at the moment: 1. Work with my local retailer where I can walk in and harass them about all the details of the design up until the finished product is on its way; or 2. Work with a remote designer that, while I won’t have that same person-to-person experience, will likely save me some dollars and cents.  Either way seems risky to me in that, as previously stated, I’m super paranoid that the end piece won’t be what I want (don’t worry, I realize this is obnoxious of me since I’m getting a pretty ring at all, but I can’t help worry about it).

So I can only imagine that guys going through this same sort of decision tree process blind to the tastes and peculiarities of their girlfriends find the whole thing overwhelming and a huge time-suck.  Or maybe not?

If anyone has any suggestions or pros/cons on going with a store vs a designer I’d love to hear them!  (However, be forewarned that I will likely promptly ignore your advice and continue to stress out until the money is on the table and there’s no turning back.)

7 thoughts on “Engagement Ring Crazed – Oy!

  1. Congrats! My guy designed my engagement ring from scratch remotely. He designed it in Montana when we were living in Pittsburgh in part because his brothers worked with the designer before for their wives’ rings and also in part because there was no sales tax. A few considerations: 1) he flew out to Montana 3-4 times to meet with the designer; 2) our understanding was that you can ship loose diamonds across state lines (he got my diamond in NY) but you can’t ship a completed ring without problems; 3) although custom designing a ring took longer (8 months) and was more expensive, the designer has a weird love for my ring which means that any time we go in, call, or need a repair we have first rate service (he once offered to meet us at the store after hours when we were flying through Bozeman for a ski trip for a quick fit adjustment). My opinion (which is only that) is that I plan to wear my ring for the rest of my life and I’m so glad we took the time to make it right for us. It sounds like you have a great option having a designer nearby! Feel free to let us know if you have any questions!


    1. Hannah, love, any reputable Jeweler – check certification, it’s ok to ask! – will stand by his/her product. Pam’s wedding ring has small diamonds embedded in it. One fell out and was lost after 8-9 years, and the jeweler replaced it for free, said it was their design and if it failed, it was their responsibility. And I’ve had good experiences where something I designed with the jeweler came out exactly as we decided, but I didn’t like it. They re-worked it until I was happy. Anyone who doesn’t offer this is risking his/her reputation.

      love, Aunt Karen


  2. I would love to go shopping with you for your perfect ring!!!! In the meantime, I urge you not to commit to anything that you don’t first put on your finger. It has to fit right, look right and feel right before you have to buy it!! Just keep looking and trying rings on. I don’t think guys put nearly as much thought into the ring, anyway. Indulge yourself… Love you sugar.


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