CHOOSE THE SETTING
A ring’s “setting” refers to the way in which the diamond is placed on the ring. Like everything else with an engagement ring, which setting you pick depends a lot on your girlfriend’s preferences. You can actually create combinations of different settings if you want. Here’s a quick primer on the different types of settings, so you’re not completely clueless when you hit the stores.
Tiffany setting Introduced by the jewelry company that bears the name. It’s a timeless and classic look
Eternity band Instead of a single diamond, an eternity band has diamonds that go all around the ring
Bezel setting A metal rim that encircles the sides of the stone and extends slightly above it. The rim can stretch around the diamond’s entire circumference or around only a portion of it. A bezel setting holds a diamond securely, and the low, protective profile it creates makes a bezel setting a good choice for women with active lifestyles
Channel setting In a channel setting, the diamond or diamonds are placed into a metal channel. It can be used as an accent to a main diamond that’s set on a prong.
Pave’ (pronounced Pa Vay) This setting consists of lots of diamonds placed close together.
ALTERNATIVES TO BUYING A DIAMOND RING
Most women want a traditional diamond ring. But not all do. After all, the idea that engagement rings must be diamond rings is a modern invention, a marketing ploy by the DeBeers Company. Diamonds are not in fact rare or special. They are expensive merely because the DeBeers cartel has succeeded in controlling both supply and demand. Not wanting the diamonds to ever be resold and needing people to buy the heaps of diamonds they were sitting on, they sought to imbue the jewels with romantic meaning and social status. Launching a full press ad in 1938, the company sought to convince Americans that “A diamond is forever” and the only acceptable way to express your love. In reviewing their advertising strategy in 1951, the DeBeers ad agency noted:
“The millions of brides and brides-to-be are subjected to at least two important pressures that work against the diamond engagement ring. Among the more prosperous, there is the sophisticated urge to be different as a means of being smart…. the lower-income groups would like to show more for the money than they can find in the diamond they can afford… It is essential that these pressures be met by the constant publicity to show that only the diamond is everywhere accepted and recognized as the symbol of betrothal.”
And so it was that DeBeers succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in convincing both men and women that the size of the diamond was directly proportional to the intensity of their love. Rather crass when you take step back, isn’t it? Today a man may sometimes postpone his proposal until he can afford a proper diamond ring. All because of an ad campaign.
So why not break the mold and buy something else? How about her birthstone or some other colored gem that reminds you of her? Of course, if you are going to bust out something other than a diamond when you propose, you better be damn sure that your girl is okay with it. A lot of women have been dreaming of a diamond ring, and their heart will sink when you open the jewelry box to reveal a ruby. So check with her first.
If you’re just generally not keen on blowing a big wad of cash on a ring, ask both sides of the family if there is an heirloom that could be passed on.
INSURING THE ENGAGEMENT RING
An engagement ring is both a financial and sentimental investment. Because of this huge investment of money and emotion, it might be a good idea to insure your girlfriend’s engagement ring in case it’s ever lost, stolen, or damaged. Even if you and your wife decide not to replace the ring, you can at least take the cash and go on a romantic getaway. You have a few options when you insure an engagement ring:
Homeowner’s/Renter’s Insurance. Many homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policies allow you to add the value of expensive items, like jewelry, to your coverage. However, make sure to check the policy to see what is actually covered. Often homeowner’s/renters insurance will only cover an engagement ring if it was stolen or damaged by tornado or fires. If your wife loses her ring while cleaning the toilet, you’ll probably be out of luck with this option.
Actual Value Policies. An actual value insurance policy will pay you the value of the ring minus its depreciation from use. So, say if the ring you bought cost $2,000 and your wife loses it five years after you tied the knot, the insurance company may only pay you $1,500, taking into account the five years of wear and tear on the ring. Because actual value insurance policies don’t pay back the full value of the ring, they’re the least expensive option.
Replacement Insurance Policies. This policy will refund to you the market value of the ring you bought. So if you bought an engagement ring with a gold band and a diamond that was cut perfectly and had impeccable clarity, the insurance company will pay you the current going price for a ring like that. This could mean you’ll get more money than what you originally paid on the ring due to the appreciation of gold and diamond prices
Happy Beginnings, Mike