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Author Topic: Engagement rings
snopes
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Comment: This is not really a rumor, but I cannot find out why people
expect you to spend 2 months salary on an engagement ring. My boyfriend
insists that he has to spend that much and I don't want him to, do you
have any idea why they say this? And do most people spend that much?

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FireSpook
The First USA Noel


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because he's thought about it for two months?

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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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'Cause De Beers has good advertising people and convinced the world that engagement rings
a. must be diamond
b. must cost 2 month's pretax salary

or else you don't really love her.

I don't think the 'rule of thumb' predates the ad campaign.

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Tarquin Farquart
The First USA Noel


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And of course aren't the prices of diamonds kept artifically high as well?

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RLobinske
Deck the Malls


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I vaguely remember something about 2 weeks salary when my wife and I were engaged almost 20 years ago. Talk about inflation.

I encourage people to find engagement rings that say something or are special to the people involved. You're not restricted to diamond solitaires, a style I find boring.

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
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I'm reviewing a book ("I Do But I Don't: The Uneasy Marriage Between Modern Women & Weddings," Kamy Wicoff) that has a nice analysis of the history of the diamond as an engagement ring, as well as a social and economic symbol. Good stuff. I highly recommend it.

For this commenter, I'd recommend pulling the conflict diamond argument. It might work.

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Tzarina
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My DH spent less than 2 weeks salary on my ring. I put in some of my own money (I traded in a diamond that I already had to the jeweler)

My center stone is a diamond, but there are also sapphires in the setting.

A person should spend whatever they are comfortable with spending. DH told me how much to spend and I went to my father's jeweler to design it. Our jeweler is a diamond merchant and not a retail jeweler so we paid far less than we would have at a mall store. I also have a more unique ring.

I think many men feel the pressure of "2 months salary" and I know many women who insist on at least a carat. I think it's BS. It's not the monetary value of the ring, it's the symbolism.

I also have a feeling that some men use the 2 months salary as a way to get out of buying a ring, saying they are saving up for it when they're really just stalling.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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If I were the "comment" author I would tell her boyfriend that if he really has his heart set on spending two months' salary on something, I'd prefer some nice new furniture for our shared home.

I'd also tell him that if he did buy it I wouldn't wear it anyway, because I'd be terrified of losing something that cost that much.

Nonny

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Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Two months' salary is ridiculous. I have a diamond ring that belonged to my grandmother; I don't wear it, because it's worth about $1000, and that seems an enormous amount to be carrying around on your finger. Two months' gross salary would make significant inroads into my my mortgage. Why on earth would anyone want to spend that on a rock? [Eek!]

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prof. yanaibara
The First USA Noel


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I think that the United States is one of very few places where two months salary is thought of as the typical standard (and I've had friends go with as high as 4-5 months!). And yes, it's been the extraordinarily successful De Beer's marketing campaign. And this history of engagement rings shocked me because it appears to be a diamond seller telling the truth. It states:

quote:
The answer to the problem was a new marketing campaign commissioned by De Beers that began in 1947. Perhaps you've heard the slogan "A Diamond is forever"? This was to mark the beginning of a change in the history of the engagement ring.

Subsequent campaigns would convince families to hold on to their diamonds as family heirlooms... and it worked! Used diamonds were not being released back into the industry which in turn created the demand that De Beers were seeking.

Jewelers were unofficially educated by De Beers to instruct men that two to three months personal wages were an ideal price to pay for the diamond engagement ring that their prospective fiancée's would gladly accept.

(An amazing coincidence - I picked up my engagement/wedding rings today from the jeweler who was making them. My wife-to-be and I are both very anti-diamond industry, and we also prefer to spend money on the things that we feel matter most, so she came up with the idea of using our wedding bands as our engagement rings, but on the other hand. So it's simple gold with an engraving for us. Even though we have our own thoughts about gold as well...)

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away...

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Rhiandmoi
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I agree with Tzarina. A person should spend what they are comfortable spending on any gift for any giftee. And I would like to add that it really isn't any of the giftee's business how much the gift costs. Two months salary doesn't mean the same thing to everyone, so I think it is a very silly amount of money to insist someone spend. It is supposed to be a suggestion anyway. An engagement gift should be priceless to the receiver, IMO, and what it costs to actually purchase is secondary. Whether or not the idea of 2 months salary for a diamond engagement ring was invented by deBeers doesn't change that the commenter's boyfriend wants to spend that much on what he hopes the commenter will find priceless. If they are bickering about how much he will spend on this, my advice, don't get engaged.

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What is .02 worth?

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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Let's think about this for a moment. Ontario's current general minimum wage is $6.85 per hour. Assuming a man works 40 hour weeks with no overtime, that's $274 per week or $1,096 per month.

That's $2,192. You can buy a lot of Ikea for just over two grand....

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I would like to add, that when a smaller sum is spent on an egagement gift there are some busybodies out there that will gasp "You poor dear, that's all he could afford?" or some other such completely rude thing. And maybe more are thinking it. And whether it is right or not some people do care quite a lot what other people think of how much money they have and whether or not they are a cheapskate and the commenter's boyfriend might be one of them.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by our next contestant, Nonny Mouse:
Let's think about this for a moment. Ontario's current general minimum wage is $6.85 per hour. Assuming a man works 40 hour weeks with no overtime, that's $274 per week or $1,096 per month.

That's $2,192. You can buy a lot of Ikea for just over two grand....

Nonny

You could, but when you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary you won't be sitting on that Ikea sofa.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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pirateslife
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I don't think my boy spent two months salary. Maybe with the wedding band it came to that, I don't know. I've never believed in spending 2 months salary on a single piece of jewelry. I think part of it is a testosterone "look what I got my woman" thing. I know my boy LOVES it when people remark on my ring; he got me a very nice ring. I picked out the band and the cut of the diamond, and he selected the type of metal and a larger diamond of better quality than I would have. I offered to use a diamond from my great-aunt's engagement ring (I also offered to use the whole ring), but he wanted the ring to be "just the two of us".
I think enagement rings really are a more sophisticated way to stake his claim on his woman, a way to show off what he can afford, sort of like why guys buy flashy cars and Rolex watches. At the same time, I do believe that it is a symbol of love, otherwise he would buy himself something flashy, not you. When Jonathan goes all proud and pleased whenever someone mentions my ring; it brings a smile to my face. I have to admit, whenever someone mentions my ring, I smile too. It is lovely, and I do love it.

I guess the real thing to worry about is this: is your boyfriend a regular saver? Mine puts aside a designated bit of his salary every month to go into savings only. If your guy does that, then he can probably afford to get you the ring he wants you to show off. I have a friend who went into major credit card debt because he got a nicer ring than he could afford for a girl who broke off the engagement and got knocked up less than two months after she broke up with him.

Tell your boyfriend that he doesn't have to spend that much money; you should enjoy wearing your ring, after all, it will be on your finger, not his. If you pick out your ring together, find the one you like and convince him that's the one you'll be happy with.

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violetbon
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I can't even manage to wear a ten dollar pair of earrings from Walmart without losing/breaking them. There is no way on earth I would want a ring that costs thousands of dollars.

I think the whole two months thing is a bunch of advertising hooey. Better a fine husband with a low budget ring than a low budget husband with a fine ring, I say.

Violetbon

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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If I thought CatNip had paid that much I'd be very upset. I love my ring, but no one should spend that much on anything that doesn't have a transmission or a back yard.

my ring

Four Kitties

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
quote:
Originally posted by our next contestant, Nonny Mouse:
Let's think about this for a moment. Ontario's current general minimum wage is $6.85 per hour. Assuming a man works 40 hour weeks with no overtime, that's $274 per week or $1,096 per month.

That's $2,192. You can buy a lot of Ikea for just over two grand....

Nonny

You could, but when you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary you won't be sitting on that Ikea sofa.
That, to me, is why if a couple wants a diamond ring (or any other kind of engagement ring) they should go ahead and get it. Comparing the cost of a piece of jewelly against the cost of a new sofa or a washing machine doesn't really make sense if what you are trying to do is buy someting that symbolizes your committment to each other that you are hoping to keep throughout your marriage. By no means should anyone feel that they have to buy a piece of jewelly "just because" but if it is important to them then I'd say go for it.

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queen of the bah-caramels
Jingle Bell Hock


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I have been looking for nearly 20 yrs to find my perfect ring. To some extent price is not a big factor . I just have never seen a ring I would wear on a day to day basis.

Mind you I hardly wear my wedding ring anyway.

PS 4K nice looking ring .

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by queen of the ...ouch caramels:
4K nice looking ring .

I like it! [Big Grin] A'course it could look like anything because CatNip gave it to me, but I was most impressed that he spent so much time (five months?) looking for something he thought was my taste.

What I think is the coolest thing about it is that it's not three stones, it's nineteen tiny ones set like this:

 -

Four Kitties

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zman977
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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My college roomate was one of those guys obsessed with doing everything the "right" way. When I dared to tell him that it wasn't the price of the ring he was going to buy his girlfriend it was the thought and the meaning he treid to tell me I didn't know what I was talking about, a common comment he would make when he had no real argument about what I was saying. When I got engaged, he could not believe that my fience now wife loved her ring even though it did not cost two months salery. Well, I'm still married he's divorced.

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Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


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Couple/three things...

My cousin got engaged last year and is getting married this year. According to her, some jewellers are pushing not two, but *three* months salary because of inflation, taxes, and the high price of precious metals (for the setting). And that's not three months *net* salary, but three months *gross* salary.

The "average" Canadian man makes just a shade over $40K, or $3333 per month.

Two months salary is $6666 - that gets you a solitaire engagement ring of maybe 0.65 carats or thereabouts - including the not-inconsequential sales taxes of 15%.

Three months salary is $10,000 - gets you a 1 to 1.5 carat solitaire, or thereabouts.

That's still a lot of money on average, and if you factor in how long it takes to save $10,000 of *after-tax* money, it becomes a serious scam.

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Probably most jewelers are going to do what they can to make as big of a sale as possible, but in general I think having a budget of 2-3 months salary is good and here's why:

Like H_M said it takes a while to save that money. Even though I know engagements can be broken off, there really should be no take backs. Before you ask someone to marry you, you ought to really be sure that is what you want. The months it takes to save up that money should be used to reflect on the situation, and if it seems like you just can't seem to save the money - maybe it is because you really don't want to get married.

I don't think you need to spend as much as you can afford, since you ought to take into account the style and likes of the other person, but I think putting in your mind that once I have saved $X I will go shopping for an engagement gift is a good thing.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Raven Waift
The First USA Noel


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My guy spent less than a weeks salary on my engagement ring- and he is not rich. The engagement ring was $125- cheaper than my iPod. The wedding ring I want is about the same price.

I'd much rather spend that money on a car, house, or dishwasher- but that is just how I am. I really don't even like having my mom spend as much as she is on our wedding.

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tribrats
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Hubby spent less than a weeks gross on mine (granted, it was on sale for 40% off regular price). It is a channel band with 12 little stones. We also got 2 cheap gold bands to bracket it.  -

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FullMetal
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when I got DW's engagement ring, I was actually unemployed temporarily, yet I still wanted to buy a nice ring... ultimately spent 1 month's (current after taxes) salary on it, which is still a fair chunk of change, ~$2000 now, it has 3 main diamonds a 1/2 and 2 1/4 carat diamonds, and 8 smaller diamonds (3 on either side of the 3 main and two tiny ones inside the band) the wedding band was only $199, not because i'm cheap but because i'm saving up for a house.
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mags
Jingle Bell Hock


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If my fiance spent 2 months' earnings on a ring, I would never wear it. I would be too afraid of losing it/being killed for it. Although, people might confuse it for a fake due to its size.

I don't want an engagement ring at all. I certainly don't want a diamond. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/040903.html
People who usually have their heads screwed on straight, and recognize when someone is trying to "sell" them, still seem to lose their heads over De Beers' advertising. I wouldn't think diamonds are worth what is being charged anyway, but when I take into account the human cost, I really can't justify supporting the cartel with my dollars.

I have considered a manufactured diamond, or other stone but I rarely wear jewelry anyway. I think we're going to get titanium wedding bands, because they're so strong and relatively inexpensive. And kinda "techy".

My sister finds my decision not to have my SO get me an engagement ring personally offensive. I'm not really sure why. I do know she had a pretty big engagement ring from her first marriage, that she has unsuccessfully been trying to unload on ebay. A few months ago she mentioned a Harry Winston diamond ring she was watching on ebay that she wanted her boyfriend to get for her. He's starting his own business and having a cash flow problem already, so he got a little pale at hearing how much of a ring she expects. She's more or less supporting him, and he's living in the house she bought herself, but she still expects a monster ring. I don't get it. My mom has always pointed out to us that our dad never got her an engagement ring, that the small (but clear) diamond she wears was her 10th anniversary present- they've been married nearly 40 years now. People starting their lives together often have more important uses for money than jewelry.

I much prefer to just have my SO. He's enough for me. I don't need anything to show off or "prove" his love or ability to provide for me.

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tuff_gong
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Wife and I got our rings at JC Penny's, $200 for the pair.
Married 24 years. I guess they worked.

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Joe Bentley
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Seconding a lot of what's been said here. Even ignoring the fact that the diamond industry is a dirty, dirty business, one that makes the average sweatshop look like the goddamn Salvation Army...

The De Beers corporation has created on of the most blantant cases of an artifically created need in history with their idea that an expensive diamond engagement ring is some sort of ultimate symbol of love.

The diamond industry, or to be fair De Beers which is the diamond industry for intents and purposes, has constantly played up the idea that a diamond is some sort of ultra rare gem stone when in reality a lot of less expensive gem stones are actually less common. Diamonds are actually fairly common as gem stones go, as evidence by there wide spread use in industrial uses.

De Beers has also demonized the idea of buying a used diamond and has all but destroyed any trade in used diamonds.

I wish people were more aware that while engagement rings have been around for centuries the idea of a "diamond" engagement ring, which is an engagement ring in most people's minds these days, was completely and totally invented by the PR Agency NW Ayer & Sons for the De Beers corporation.

They have completely created both the demand for the product and the entire industry that supports the product and they did it by one of the dirtiest and most underhanded means in history... by conviencing a large, large number of an entire generations of women that if he doesn't shell out a huge, massive amount of money for a diamond that he doesn't love you.

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LemonLimeade
Deck the Malls


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I agree with most everything on the thread. The arbitrary "two-month" deal - pfft. It certainly was an effective campaign, and DeBeers does a great job creating false scarcity (and thus keeping prices artificially high.)

The thing with me, though, aside from being extremely picky about jewelry (I only wear a couple very simple pieces, ever, and only silver or gold) is that I genuinely love diamonds; not because I'm supposed to, but ever since I would gaze into the depths of my mother's 3/4 carat solitaire and it just seemed like a whole world - a beautiful sparkly colorful world - I just love diamonds. So yeah, I did want one. I didn't want something large and flashy; I was much more concerned that it be flawless and colorless; when I look into it I don't want to see black dots or feathers; I want pure fire. And if the false scarcity were to end tomorrow and diamonds were worth practically nothing, I'd still want it just the same.

We ended up going to the Jewelry Exchange in Hackensack NJ, which carries lots of non-GL-certified loose diamonds, that they'll set for you. They brought out a series of visibly flawed diamonds but then finally one, a .42 carat, that I couldn't find a single flaw in, no matter how long I examined it under the loupe from every direction. (Which is flawless enough for me.) And it sparkled so fiery - well it was just what I wanted. We got to pick it up for under 500 dollars and have it set in a white gold solitaire setting for another hundred or so. I would have done platinum but that was too expensive. It guaranteed to appraise for at least double or money back.

The price for a DeBeers GL certified diamond ring like that would be 2500 wholesale, more retail. Myself I'd rather get more bang for my buck and if we had that kind of money there are plenty of other more needful things to spend it on. So we went with about a week's salary and I have a ring I want to wear for the rest of my life. Though it does suck being left-handed - try wiping your butt with a diamond solitairs on that hand heh. I suspect this is the real reason wedding rings go on the left; since the world is geared for right-handers.

We used plain white gold bands for wedding rings; around 100 each.

I really hope the market will open up one day (beyond the few jewelry exchange places like where we got ours) and then with the lower prices and non-rarity, only people who really love diamonds will buy them, and not have to pay through the nose to get them either. NFBSK DeBeers.

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Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't.

Posts: 285 | From: Woodbridge, NJ | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
piyokochan
I Saw Three Shipments


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I'd much rather have a much less expensive ring as an engagement ring, if it were over $500 I would consider that ridiculous for something that I'd probably wear about five times (I. Hate. Jewelry. But that's a whole 'nother story.)

Come to think of it, I'd rather get something from Circuit City or the like, maybe even something nice from Sanrio. o_0;

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"Shakespeare and Dante divide the world between them. There is no third." - T. S. Eliot

Posts: 77 | From: New Milford, CT | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by pirateslife:
I think part of it is a testosterone "look what I got my woman" thing. I know my boy LOVES it when people remark on my ring; he got me a very nice ring.

I think enagement rings really are a more sophisticated way to stake his claim on his woman, a way to show off what he can afford, sort of like why guys buy flashy cars and Rolex watches.

Wow. And you're OK with being, even in part, a display piece, a symbolic manifestation of his testostorone level, something on which he stakes a claim?

I mean, I agree that this is part of the reason for the expensive rings, but that's exactly the reason to make me run screaming from it.

Wow.....No wonder I can't stand the majority of humanity.....

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So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
They have completely created both the demand for the product and the entire industry that supports the product and they did it by one of the dirtiest and most underhanded means in history... by conviencing a large, large number of an entire generations of women that if he doesn't shell out a huge, massive amount of money for a diamond that he doesn't love you.
Men are not immune to culturalization. So maybe after all these generations if he doesn't shell out a huge, massive amount of money for a diamond after growing up in the same culture, with the same values that she did, maybe he doesn't love her.

In this culture we express our affection in certain ways, many of which have something to do with money.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Towknie
We Three Blings


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Just to be fair here, when I got married, it was the WOMEN on both sides of the family who were pressuring me to buy a diamond ring the size of my head. I told them I was getting married, not buying a wench. If they wanted a diamond in the family, they could go get their own.

DW really wanted a diamond ring, so about 6 years into the marriage, I got her a platinum eternity band that she picked out. Guess what? She never wears it, but we're still married in spite of the lack of shiny rocks on our hands.

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Towknie: Ryda-certified as wonderful, enlighted, and rational.

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nurple
We Three Blings


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I purchased my own engagement ring. My husband was freshly divorced and unemployed when I came into his life and when we got engaged, he simply did not have the money to buy me a ring.

Now, four years of gainful employment later, he has suggested upgrading the diamond, but I'm rather happy with it the way it is. This is what he put on my finger the day we married (together with the wedding band) and that's how I want it to stay.

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"You better respect the Rap or the Rap won't respect you." Ledatru

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