A bunch of people in my social circle have gotten married in the last year or so, and some of them didn't do the diamond ring thing that people often do. I don't know if rings with other kinds of rocks were involved or what. I'd be happy enough to see the social custom of diamond-giving fall by the wayside, both for blood diamond reasons, and because there are a bunch of better ways to use the money.
My tentative plan for the time of my life associated with diamond-ring-giving is to make some kind of big splashy charitable contribution out in the Third World that I can put my wife's name on -- maybe a village school named after her, or a scholarship for poor farm kids. (A US dollar goes really far in places like India.) I'll give her a pretty ring with some far less valuable stone that I can somehow connect to the charitable act, perhaps with the name of the school inscribed on the inside or something like that. Then I'll obnoxiously go around telling all my single friends what I did, with hopes that people will show me up by making a bigger charitable contribution than me when it's their time. That, after all, is how you change social customs for the benefit of mankind.
For all this to work out, I'd have to find myself a woman awesome enough to appreciate this sort of thing. But that's part of the plan anyway.
I have friends who went with titanium rings. I guess I can see the symbolism of virtual indestructibility, but they'd also be pretty lightweight, which seems less symbolically appealing. Still vastly better than diamonds, to be sure.
That's an incredible idea! Any woman would be lucky to have a guy who would do something like that.
My wife and I got unadorned $10 silver rings from the internet. They've gotten a little scratched up over the past year, but for $10 they're not hard to replace. We also told our guests to buy us charity donations instead of regular gifts.
My engagement ring was my great-grandmother's, and our wedding rings were $45 each at a museum store. Like Stentor, we figure they are easily replaceable if they get too scratched. They have lasted almost 8 years so far though, with no real damage.
Your idea sounds like a really good one. I, for one, would be a lot happier if jewelry stores stopped showing ads that equate love with giving a big (ugly) piece of jewelry. Or a new car. That isn't love, it is materialism masking inadequacy.
I have cool friends/commenters.
In many families or circles of friends there is a jeweler you recommend or make a habit of going to for this sort of thing. That's certainly the case among some of my friends. I have felt too shy to ask said jeweler questions about things like conflict diamonds, though I note that this was years ago now, and since then other people have noted that he probably hears it ALL THE TIME. It will mean a lot to friends if you share with them your thought processes as you examine this.
Also? I know some women who would absolutely adore you for this idea, Neil. Sadly, the ones I know are already married and happily doing things like aid work in Afghanistan or being classics professors, but I'll keep an eye out for more, okay?
Mighty nice of you, coreopsis!
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