Sunday, January 24, 2010

The ring's the thing: Part 3

This is the third part in a series on engagement rings.

This post discuses the engagement ring, and what it actually means.

There are the traditionalists who say that an engagement ring represents a man’s commitment to his future bride. He wants her to be his life partner and is willing to outlay a significant sum of money to show that. In this paradigm the large amount spent on the ring also signifies the type of life he can provide for her.

Then there are those who view the ring as a symbol of his commitment, but don’t believe in the financial implications of it. A $10 sterling silver band or a ring pop, with the appropriate question and intent behind it, serves as the sign of the man’s commitment and desire to marry the woman.

At the opposite end of the spectrum you have the anti-ring people. They may believe that it is some form of bride price with which the man is “purchasing” himself a bride. Or that it’s a sign of brainwashing by the commercial world and that any nod to tradition reflects a mindless follower. (I am not including those who are against the mining of gold or precious gems because of the treatment of many of the workers as these people are against the procurement practices, not against the ring itself.)

Lastly, you have the people who don’t think it has any particular significance, but like having a beautiful piece of jewelry and feel that the engagement is an excellent occasion to get one. These are probably the same people who will upgrade their rings as time goes on, either to get more expensive pieces of jewelry, or just to keep up with fashion trends.

Myself, I fall somewhere in the middle of camp two, with a little bit of either camp one or four mixed in. To me, when a guy asks you to marry him, anything that accompanies that is wonderful. When I gave my boyfriend a list of rings & styles I was interested in, I included a $14 ring from to make sure that all budgets were included. At the same time though, I told him that if I was getting a ring that was less than $50 that I would consider it a placeholder (for however long it would need be) until I got a more expensive ring. I don’t know why I feel as though a $14 ring would not suffice for life for me. After all, I totally believe the sentiment in giving the ring is what counts. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I like the idea of a certain amount of financial sacrifice involved, or if it’s just that I like jewelry and want something pretty on my hand given to me by the man I love.

So, what camp do you fall in? Or do you think there are other camps that I haven’t included here?

P.S. Picture is of the ring that I showed my boyfriend as a possible temporary e-ring.

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