I talked about this here, but to refresh your memory, I’ve been to thirty weddings and counting with my significant other. I’ve seen a lot of rings. I’ve had to coo over a lot of rings. And only for a few rings was that cooing genuine.
I always felt a bit guilty that I wasn’t born with this innate reaction to squeal, “let me see the ring,” upon hearing a friend was engaged. Instead after the first few times of not asking about the ring and then them saying, “don’t you want to see the ring?”, I realized this is what they wanted, to show off their newly acquired ring. So I learned to squeal, “let me see the ring,” promptly after hearing of the proposal.
After you’ve been to thirty weddings your curiosity gets the best of you and you ask yourself — where the hell do these traditions stem from? I know we’ve moved passed the dowery stage of marriage, but why a big ‘ol diamond?
Advertising, my friends. You can always blame it on the Don Drapers.
During the great depression in the 1930s, the value of diamonds collapsed and the diamond cartel De Beers was not too happy about this. Coupled with the fact that their market research showed engagement rings were going out of style with younger generations (prior to WWII only 10% of engagement rings contained a diamond), De Beers was shook (as the kids would say).
So, they came up with a two-prong approach to educate and then brainwash the public. First, they launched a campaign to educate the public about the four Cs (cut, carat, color, and clarity), and then in 1947 the infamous slogan, “a diamond is forever,” was introduced and lodged into every woman’s psyche. And it worked. It linked diamonds to romantic love and women believed that a diamond was the only acceptable stone for an engagement ring (you can chime in that you don’t believe this, that your engagement ring does not include a diamond, but without even crunching the number, I would say you are in the minority).
If De Beers hadn’t done enough damage already, the notion that a man should spend a hefty penny on an engagement ring also originated from De Beers marketing materials — and they contradicted themselves while doing it. In the 1930s, De Beers suggested a man should spend one month’s income when purchasing an engagement ring. But in the 1980s, they suggested he should spend two months’ income on it.
The power of advertising.
It was because of this, and another reason I’ll get to in a bit, that I was so excited when Noura and Justine from Mejuri (already my favorite brand for affordable and ethical gold jewelry) came to me and said they were launching a line of engagement rings because they believed modern brides are ready for something different.
I promptly raised my hand. I’m not a bride, but I want something different to coo over.
So, last week they stopped by our office and showed me the goods, and genuine coos were elicited. You can find the entire line of engagement rings here — which I also find to be refreshingly affordable.
Even if you’re not in the market for an engagement ring, I urge you to check out Mejuri‘s entire line. I’ve been rocking their simple gold rings and ear cuffs for a few months now and haven’t taken them off. Mejuri‘s price points made luxury jewelry affordable for me, and can I just say how nice it is to wear jewelry that doesn’t turn your finger green? You feel like a real adult at the end of the day.
But back to that other reason I was so excited to hear about and get a sneak peek at Mejuri‘s engagement ring collection. I’ve been thinking about buying an ‘engagement’ ring for myself. Okay, so it won’t be a typical engagement ring, I’m not going to legally marry myself, but I am a bit sick of feeling like our patriarchal society owns my left ring finger. That it must be left untouched until a man asks me to be his. (Don’t get me started on my annoyance that we still wait for men to propose, can we all be a bit more like Miranda when she asked Steve to marry her over a beer? Ahhh. The dream.)
I brought up my pending ring purchase with Tyler the other night, because I felt he should get a heads up that I want to start de-stigmatizing that left ring finger and he replied with, “that’s fine with me. My mom actually used to wear her birthstone on that finger as well.”
Seems like all the more reason for me to do it.