March 3, 2010...12:18 pm

Make mine a diamond?

Speaking of rings…
Diamonds! What the heck, everyone? I told Peter before we got engaged that I would prefer a ring without a diamond. After reading some books about Africa in my early twenties, I righteously declared myself diamond-free. My politics often resemble the all-you-can-eat buffet at the IHOP: pick and choose which issue will cause you the least amount of indigestion. After I told him, Peter looked at me suspiciously and said, “Are you sure? Because I feel like a lot of women say that and then get disappointed when it’s not there.”
I promised him I wouldn’t be. And I’m not, most of the time.
I love my engagement ring. Peter designed it with the help of a friend who is a jewelry maker. Once the sketch was complete, he brought the drawing to a man named Sergio (how romantic) who forged it with his own two hands. The ring is beautiful and deeply meaningful. And it has no diamonds.
But sometimes I feel like I’m not in the club. Like I didn’t follow directions during homeroom.
The cult of the diamond can be very strong. How do you feel about diamonds? Are they your best friend or worst enemy?


  • I’m so glad to see other women say in print that they chose to forgo diamond rings! I got married in 1990, during the apartheid era in South Africa, and I knew that I could never let myself wear a diamond. My husband and I paid for our own wedding and we didn’t have a lot of money, so that was another factor. We bought hand-carved gold bands that we bought in a jewelry store in Cannon Beach, OR, for $200 each.

    Flash forward 17 years, and I won a $100 gift certificate to the Shane Company from a radio station: I selected a beautiful white gold diamond ring, very simple, and it took three trips to the store to get the damn thing (what a hassle!). Then I discovered that it made my finger turn green and itchy. I returned it (apparently white gold can affect some people that way). So I still do not own a diamond.

  • I also did not want a diamond but, got one. White gold, eternity band. Once it was there I liked it. I loved the way it made my hand look like a grown up’s hand. Dainty, delicate, sparkly. I didn’t feel like the ladies in the ads, I felt like the ladies in the supermarket. I felt wanted. Sad to say but, true.
    That eternity band turned out to be a 14 month band and a year after that I sold that band. I think it was then that I was truly thankful for the diamonds.
    Now, I have a not so dainty and not so sparkly pair of 20 holed Doc Martin’s, bought with money from the sale of that band.
    And I have to say, those boots offer me more security and get me more “love” than that ring ever did.

    • cathleen carr

      Diamond into Doc’s is so unbelievably punk rock! “I’ll show you my diamond!” STOMP! I love it so much…

  • White gold band all the way!

    Gross diamond mining practices aside, the whole diamond ring engagement ring thing was invented back in the day by De Beers.

    I refuse to let a marketing campaign affect my sense of style, unless you count my Lululemon yoga pants or Frye boots. Or the rest of my clothes and hair and food products.

  • I’m not a huge jewelry person but knew I was supposed to have something on my finger symbolizing marriage. So I bought a $60 ring with a fake diamond stone (I’m so low maintenance that I didn’t task my future husband with the job).

    The other day at dinner, I looked down at my ring and the stone was gone. I felt slightly sad but joyous that a huge wad of cash was not down the drain.

    I have yet to replace it (I’m not even sure where it is – I put the ring somewhere….). I don’t need an item to tell me I’m married. I live it every day. I’ll get around to replacing it. But my finger is on vacation so that’s nice.

  • Super Jessica

    Everyone always tells me that their ring is the special diamond-amputee-free kind. I’m sure they are out there, but it does put a damper on the industry at large. Politics aside, Mama just doesn’t “get” diamonds. I mean, they are clear stones. I need a little more zip in my life. Our friend designed the greatest rings for us, mine with an appropriately jazzy pink sapphire.

  • I do love my diamonds, but had I seen “Blood Diamond” before getting engaged, I might have made a different choice.
    I’m kind of a sparkly gal – always wearing jewelry that sparkles (though only my engagement & wedding band have real diamonds; my husband’s ring is all platinum and gold, no diamonds).
    The only saving grace in my mind is that we did NOT go to a large, chain jeweler which you’ll find in every mall. We went to a small jeweler in Evanston, Christopher Duquet, with whom we personally designed our rings. Though we didn’t know this then, I just researched and he states on his website that he uses the Kimberley Process, which was introduced by the UN to certify the origin of diamonds from sources that are free of conflict. I can only hope that mine were not “blood diamonds.” I wear them and love them, but that whole issue makes me ill. Shall we say I’m conflicted?

  • I abhored the mentality behind diamonds and how women would compare the size and cut, suggesting how well they were loved. I even had a sister in law who after a couple years of marriage, insisted on getting a bigger ring. (They later divorced.) My engagement ring was handcrafted at Fire and Metal and used Abalone as the center piece. My wedding band is a simple silver band. My husband’s band has the design etched in the side of my engagement ring.

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