The engagement ring

At a friend’s gathering  a few weeks ago, a mutual friend in a group secretly whispered to me and told me that another friend of ours has  finally moved on from his previous job to a current role in another organization.

It kind of took me by surprise, as I thought he really liked the working environment and had great camaraderie with his colleagues at his previous workplace.

Well, I guess the monetary benefits for the new role must have been pretty attractive then, I thought aloud.

“You’re right!”, my friend retorted. “He has to save up to buy a really expensive engagement ring. Apparently, his girlfriend will not consider anything less than a 1 carat.”

Ok, I have to make a slight confession here. I know nuts about diamonds. I do not deny that they look pretty, but I don’t quite know the language, so all the 4Cs, whatever they mean or how big 1 carat actually is, I have no idea. I had to ask Dave about it after the gathering, and also did a bit of Wikipedia work after that.

But anyways, what I found out is that the engagement ring that he was eyeing cost a whopping $15,000!!!

I was taken aback!! I mean$15,000 for just a ring?

I would rather take the equivalent of the cash amount.

Ok I’m an unromantic.

I’m a pragmatist.

I mean a $15,000 ring!!! Would you even wear it? I wont’t!!! For fear of losing it. Can you imagine the stress level that comes with it?

Secondly, it’s freaking $15,000!!! Rather than spending it on a ring, I would rather use it to invest, or it can even finance multiple holiday trips! Or even the down payment for the new house. But giving it to me in the form of a rock?? No thanks.

Of course, that’s just me and it’s a demand and supply market. There won’t be a supply if there’s no demand for it.

Another friend at the gathering commented that the amount that you spent doesn’t matter as much. It is the fraction of the salary that you spend on it that reflects the sincerity. For example, if you earn $2,000 a month and buy a ring for $1,000 vs someone who earns $8000 and spend $2000 on a ring, the guy who earns $2,000 has more sincerity.

I find that a really warped up logic! (Sorry my friend, I still love you but I don’t really agree with this point). I mean really? Women are not that shallow. I am not going to say this on behalf of all women in the world but really, your girlfriend is not going to decide whether or not she’s going to accept your proposal based on what percentage of your salary you spend on the ring.

And guys seriously, do you really want to marry a materialistic girl who is only looking at the size of the ring?

Well there’s no right or wrong answer I guess. It’s just some food for thought.

Curious to hear what you guys think.

13 thoughts on “The engagement ring

  1. I know friends who also “require” a certain ring size. I’m with you though, I’d rather take the cash, fund a trip, or invest it in a 401K (another unromantic!) just something that I don’t have to constantly worry about losing. Plus I’m no good with rings, and to wear it every day, it could easily get lost or damaged. Really, requirements on ring size don’t make sense. Find something else to spend the money on!


  2. I will ask the Mrs to read this post.

    Incidentally, I got her an engagement watch when I was not earning any salary. Guess my sincerity is likely to be “infinite” times and anybody who earns a salary can never beat me. =p

    I guess the $15k ring buys “pride” and the ability to “one-up” others.


  3. It’s insane, but expensive engagement rings act as barrier to entry. It’s a test to sort out who is sincere. In the meantime, the guy who spent all that money would love her more due to the Ikea effect and cognitive dissonance.
    Most guys would say they don’t want someone materialistic, but it doesn’t happen one day, she has set up levels of hurdles for years… After a while, the loss aversion took over and it feel like more to lose not to continue the game.
    Marriage is rarely about romance, mostly about financial and social stability. The engagement is thus a bunch of psychological mind game that humans have been playing for centuries. It’s happening because it works. See it in behavioral economics, and it all make sense.


  4. The rock can be one carat but if the overall design is shit, it’s shit. I have small hands so a one carat rock is too big and looks weird on my finger. What I’m saying is it’s not about the size of the rock that matters, it’s the overall look and feel.

    Also, something I learnt from a jeweler, a diamond that is less than one carat can look big (like a one carat diamond) if the table (flat top surface of the diamond) is big. And if you want that shine and sparkle, only the round cut can give you that. (Remember that 8 hearts, 8 arrows thing?) All the other fancy cuts will not sparkle and shine as much.

    And yes, from my college education in advertising, it was De Beers that started this “diamonds are forever” and “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” thing. Before that, diamonds were just worthless rocks.


  5. I told my girlfriend that I would buy her shares of the diamond retailer she fancies but she still wants the actual ring. Tried persuading her why the shares option is much better for her pockets but she doesn’t buy my logic. Girls… *shrugs*


  6. I’m a girl and I never set any requirement for my engagement ring, but my then-fiance bought me a 2-carat fake diamond ring. That was totally unacceptable for me. It’s like giving your girlfriend plastic flowers.


  7. My fiance bought a 1.5 carat diamond (grade F/VS2) from a merchant and had a ring made based on a Tiffany design (Soleste Princess) which cost about $13,000 all up. (The Tiffany version costs $28,000! Rip off!) At the time he was earning megabucks and could easily afford it. It’s beautiful and blindingly sparkly, but now that we have discovered FI/RE I kinda wish he’d bought something a bit cheaper, especially as I have no children to leave it to so I will be taking it to the grave. Talk about dead money! 😉


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