Does anyone else find commercials for jewelry stores completely irritating, manipulative and over-the-top schmaltzy? I’ve been bombarded both on t.v. and radio lately with ads designed to convince a person (mostly the man of the household) that Christmas just isn’t Christmas (and an engagement just isn’t an engagement) without diamonds under the tree/on your finger. The phrases “Diamonds are forever” and “A kiss begins with K” and “He went to Jareds!?! ” are just about enough to cause spontaneous vomit on my part. (Sorry if you were eating when you read that)
Apparently my husband and I just got it all wrong when became engaged. In fact, if we ever divorce I’m sure I can make a solid case that the core reason behind it was that he didn’t go into thousands of dollars of debt over a diamond for my engagement ring. And women around the world (mostly the kind who appear on Bridezilla) will no doubt rise up in my defense and agree that yes, it is all his fault because everyone knows that the successful foundation for marriage is a platinum wedding band and at least 1 1/2 carats of diamonds.
What were we thinking!!!
Do you want to know the ugly truth? (Lean in close now, I don’t want the proprietor of Lee Read Jewelers to overhear this and having a heart attack right where he stands)
I’ve had 3 “fake” engagement/wedding rings – including the one I wear today, and I love every single one of them.
My first engagement ring was bought by my sweetie at Wal-Mart, from the costume jewelry section. It had a heart-shaped “diamond-like” center stone with 2 other “diamond-like” stones framing it. It probably cost less than $10. Tim was ready to propose and didn’t want to wait. Even more important, he knew I wouldn’t want him to wait. He brought it with him to my place of work, got down on one knee outside my cubicle, and asked me to marry him. I threw my paperwork up in the air and ecstatically said yes. (That’s 100% true, except for the throwing of the paperwork.)
A little less than a year later, we returned to Wal-Mart and purchased a cubic zirconia solitaire and matching gold bands. Our wedding budget was quite modest and although both of us would have preferred something a little different, a little nicer, we found what suited our needs at the time. I don’t think anyone at our wedding was pondering the authenticity of the stone when we exchanged vows. (In fact, they probably spent more time pondering why the bride’s face was so flushed. Seriously…I don’t know if it was nerves or heat, but I was purple! Ahem..moving on…)
A few years into our marriage, money matters had improved, and I had been hearing a lot of good things about a diamond-like stone called moissanite. Moissanite is man-made and can easily be confused with diamonds, but is a fraction of the cost. It’s double-refractive, whereas a diamond is only single-refractive, so it actually out-ranks the big D in the sparkle department. I had been doing a lot of “window-shopping” online and knew the look that I wanted for my “forever” ring. Apparently hubby took notice. He surprised me by ordering a new solitaire, set in white gold, and we later found a “wrap” band that added two small diamonds to either side of the solitaire and completed my wedding set. (For the record, hubby also received a couple of upgrades in wedding bands over the years. He now has a collection to choose from)
My point is this: having to wait a few years to get the ring I always wanted hasn’t hurt our marriage one single iota. In fact, the drama over how I (don’t) wrap up the vacuum cleaner cord, or how Tim loads the dishwasher has caused greater friction in our marriage than what kind of ring sits on my finger. I get mad when I think about the propoganda that’s being spread – not just by jewelers, but the wedding industry at-large – purporting that a man should put down 3 months worth of wages (yup, that’s the accepted standard) on an engagement ring. Never mind how much pressure is put forth for how much is spent on the wedding itself – that’s a whole other blog post.
And it gets worse! The poor guy goes broke securing the ring, and somehow pays (or finances) the wedding, and then the holidays roll around and there’s commercials pushing diamond earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Show the one you love how much you care…by getting a second mortgage so you can shower her with diamonds!
Now please, don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of the sparkly stuff. I’m a girly-girl at heart and I LOVE it when my sweetie buys me jewelry. And I don’t care if people finance a ring or other jewelry if they know they have the means to pay it off in a timely manner AND it doesn’t involve the sale of their firstborn. I just don’t want my man, (or anyone else’s man for that matter), to feel obligated or manipulated into purchasing something simply because it’s what popular culture dictates. Puh-leaze… popular culture has been responsible for some of the lamest, most ridiculous trends around, including reality tv shows, cell phones for 5 year olds and the Snuggie. (Ok, I’m joking about the Snuggie…it’s actually kinda comfy. Don’t ask me how I know this.)
My point is that when it comes to expressing your love and affection for someone, it’s better to leave popular culture out of it. Spending extravagantly on gifts for the one you love isn’t going to strengthen your relationship or make a difference twenty years from now. (Especially if you’re still paying them off!) It’s the schmaltziest saying around and I can’t believe I’m going to endorse it, but it really is “the thought that counts”.