The crazy world of engagement ring financing

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117 Responses to “The crazy world of engagement ring financing”

  1. waetherman says:

    This is exactly the reason we need a Bureau of Consumer Protection.

    • Aaron Lindh says:

      They don’t exactly hide the terms. You can’t protect stupid people from doing stupid things.

      • waetherman says:

        Retroactive interest, balloon payments… there is nothing about the language of these terms that is intended to be obvious to the consumer. These are usurious loans intended to reap huge profits off of those who are not credit-worthy, and barely make a profit off those who should qualify for much better terms. 

      • The thing is, when we bought my ring, the store credit card had one of those “no-interest” deals.  ONE month before the promotional period ended, they stopped sending us statements.

        I caught it, and paid it over the phone the day before it was due.  They claimed we didn’t give them an apartment number so the mail was returned.  Except we got every other statement with an apartment number on it.

        They tried to charge us the interest anyway.  Took a year to get it off the credit report.  So I have no problem believing that they’re being shady, even when you read and understand all the terms.

  2. Brea Plum says:

    If your fiancee demands a ring so expensive you have to finance it, you need to rethink marriage to this person. 

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I think that it’s rather common for the gentleman to surprise the lady with a ring.

      • bcsizemo says:

        As the husband I never got this.  Maybe my wife is just one of those people who wants something specific (I know I am that way as well.)  She found the ring she wanted and I picked out the stone for it, that seemed to work out nicely.  I’d never want my wife to buy me tools that I didn’t explicitly state that I wanted…after nine years of marriage she knows me better than to do that.

        • Preston Sturges says:

          And if someone expects you to make them happy by reading their thoughts – RUN, fake your death and move to another state if necessary. 

      • rattypilgrim says:

         Antinous, you have heard of control freaks, no? They don’t like surprises.

        • Preston Sturges says:

          They don’t mind surprises at all, because every surprise is a chance to accuse someone else of failure and then punish them for it.

          • blueelm says:

            Well then there’s the “pick whatever you want” so that I can criticize it and then use your increasing hesitance to do or say anything to accuse you of not being willing… thus I can extend this engagement and turn it into sheer mental torture.

            But hey… enough about divorces already!

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Sometimes I wonder why diamonds even come in anything but emerald cut anymore.

          • rattypilgrim says:

             Gotcha!

          • Preston Sturges says:

            In that industry, marketing is used to create the demand for what they want to sell. The emerald cut is probably much easier to create in 3rd world shops with relatively unskilled labor.  The emerald is all right and acute angles, while the solitaire has all those obtuse angles. and dozens more short edges.  The emerald cut is probably easier to make by a factor of 10. 

          • Sekino says:

            It’s actually because the round cut retains more weight from the rough crystal. Many diamonds crystals are more-or-less octahedrons, so you can get two round (or princess) cut stones top-to-top. Emerald cuts are cut from flatter crystals.

            You can also hide a lot more impurities and flaws with a bunch of radiating facets (and the increased scintillation of a round). than in simple, window-like emerald cuts. But usually, weight-retention is what determines diamond’s final cut shape.

          • Preston Sturges says:

            OK, but the stones themselves aren’t particularly valuable, and they’ve ginned up the market for smaller stones in other styles of jewelry.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Emerald cut only looks good with a large, high quality stone.  It’s the cut of choice for showing off.

      • ChickieD says:

        See the links people have posted above about DeBeers marketing – made up by the diamond industry. Women used to prefer colored stones. That whole “surprise her” thing was put into a bunch of movies in the 40′s and 50′s to prevent women from returning rings with diamonds in them (because wasn’t it so wonderful he surprised you?), and now instead of women being involved in the purchasing decision, it was men doing the buying, men who knew nothing about stones, like that diamonds are totally worthless.

    • bcsizemo says:

      Well on the flip side I make her buy me tools for my birthday.  She’s got a ways to go before my workshop is complete.

  3. rattypilgrim says:

    Buy your wedding rings from a local artisan. They’ll be unique, not massed produced, keeping up with the Jones’ trash. Your rings will have real personal significance. They’ll have soul. And you won’t be aiding and abetting the abuses diamond mine owners subject their workers to.

    • Preston Sturges says:

      As Colbert said “These engagement diamonds are guaranteed to not come from a conflict zone – until you give it to her.” 

  4. robuluz says:

    Financing the what now?

  5. Aaron Weber says:

    This is a common financing trick for most medium-sized consumer purchases: electronics, furniture, you name it. If you see “Zero Percent Financing” offered, it’s usually “Zero percent if paid in full on time every time… any missed payment and a high rate kicks in backdated from day one.”

    • Conspirator says:

      Yeah, this is absolutely nothing new.  Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and so many others do this.  Some don’t require any payments during the 0% period but you have to pay the full balance or the interest is added from the beginning, but the statements are clear that interest is accruing.  The interest is always high, but as long as you pay attention there’s no harm in this.

      • Walter Dexter says:

        Yep. This is absolutely standard. Every “no interest for one year” pitch works like this. Back when I did auto repair, we offered this sort of financing. Nothing new.

        I just got done buying a La-Z-Boy (recliner) this way. No idea what the rate would have been, but it was somewhere in the 20+ percent range if not paid off.One year of free money. I set things up to have 1/11 of the amount come out of my account each month, and no problems. You do have to be very careful of when the “free” period is up and make sure you’re paid off by then, not paying off then.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I’ve generally bought computers on this plan.  I paid the minimum every month and then paid the balance before the 18 months were up.  I got to keep my money in the bank earning interest.  Of course, there’s not much point to that anymore.

    • foobar says:

      And I’d bet plenty of “whoops, we lost the payment.”

      • Crashproof says:

        And “oh, we somehow forgot to send you statements for the last four months, now we demand payment for all four months plus interest and penalties.”

      • IronEdithKidd says:

        That may be the case for some smaller operations, but I’ve used this method of financing appliances from one of the Big Boxes with zero difficulties/shenanigans.  The only weirdness I’ve found so far is that they won’t let you make two payments on the same day.

  6. raleighstclair says:

    Saving for the ring over a period of time, 2 years for me, is a good way to really think it through, before you buy that thing.

  7. Mark Mellang says:

    My wife & I got married in a state park. No engagement ring, just the bands. The whole wedding cost less than $500, and that’s everything… even the gas to the park and hotel room for the night. The bands are 18k white gold and they were a little less than $3,000 for both.

    I honestly have no idea why people spend so much money on rings and the wedding. 

    • Boundegar says:

      My God haven’t you seen the marketing?  If you don’t buy diamonds, the woman you love will reject you and seek a wealthier man.  How could you not understand this?

      • Preston Sturges says:

        She has the rest of her life to do that.

      • David says:

        Agreed, I drank the koolaid and believe that you must spend at minimum 3 months salary on a diamond wedding ring or your betrothal will end in shame & chaos.

        • Preston Sturges says:

          Hey as long as you didn’t need the money for something better like the down payment on a freaking HOUSE.

        • Sekino says:

          This. When I was a jeweller, I was shocked at how many men really thought it was some age-old social requirement to spend 2 or 3 months salary on the ring. I did point out every time that it was merely a very popular quote from a De Beers commercial. Most of the time, it didn’t seem to relieve them of pressure or anxiety unfortunately.

          After 8 years, I realized I wasn’t cut for that industry: Way too much bullshit and greed veiled by a thin veneer of ‘romance’.

    • cfuse says:

      Look, you’re on the wrong end of the bell curve from the bridezillas, so nobody expects you to understand.

    • nixiebunny says:

      You must not work for DeBeers.

      • Preston Sturges says:

        I know someone related to DeBeers.  he told the story of how Russia wanted to sell diamonds under their own terms, the little man from DeBeers showed up and said “Yeah you go ahead a do that and we’ll dump 5 times as many stones on the market and crash the global diamond market.”  They rolled the Russian  government!

        • elix says:

          I wish Russia’d called their bluff and done it. The global diamond market could deserve crashing, although some innocent people are going to get hurt in the process.

    • Ladyfingers says:

       $3,000 for white gold bands?

      • Mark Mellang says:

        Yep, they’re really nice and thick. And actually with the price of gold they’re worth about $4,000 now.

        • Ladyfingers says:

          I thought gold bands would be a few hundred bucks at most, so I looked them up on Amazon and yep, about there. I’m sure yours are nice though.

        • SamSam says:

          I wouldn’t count on it… If your bands are 100% gold, which right now costs about $1600/oz, your bands would need to be over an ounce each to be worth $4000.

          I just weighed my wedding band, and it’s 0.3 oz.

          The price of your 18K white gold is probably a little over $1200/oz (18/24*1600, plus a little extra for palladium etc.), so your bands would need to be a whopping 1.6 oz each, or nearly six times the weight of my regular wedding band.

    • Shane Simmons says:

      Basically the same thing here, but we spent less money on the rings and took a weekend off.  We were married five years before we took any kind of trip.

  8. Steve says:

    Oh no!  Not my CREDIT RATING!

    • Preston Sturges says:

      Actually marriage is good for your credit over all.

    • SamSam says:

      If you ever want to buy a house, you’ll find that your credit rating matters a great deal. …to the tune of an extra $50,000-$80,000 or more that you will probably end up paying over the life of a mortgage, if they give you a rate that’s just a point higher than what it could have been.

  9. BookGuy says:

    “He went into debt…I mean Jared.  He went to Jared!”

  10. stretchoutandwait says:

    The only thing that stops a bad jeweler with a scam is a good jeweler with a sc….  *&#$%  no, it still doesn’t make sense.

  11. Conspirator says:

    I’ve used many of these financing plans over the past couple decades.  As long as you know what you are doing there’s no reason no to.  One important thing is to check if you make separate purchases at different times with the same card and be sure that your payments go to the appropriate purchase, although as far as I know they do apply them correctly these days.  

    One time I was able to purchase a Mitsubishi RPTV on a financing plan where interest didn’t start accruing until the end of the period.  That was back in the 90′s, and it’s the only time I’ve seen an offer like that.  Four years ago I bought a bunch of furniture from Rooms To Go on a 4-year no interest plan.  I just made sure and used automatic bill payment to get those payments made on time every month and have it finish a month or two before the period ended just to be safe.  I had the cash for it, but I was able to earn up to 4% in my savings for some of that period, so why spend it?  

    What’s really bad is short term loans with real high interest rates.  There’s that Native American bank that advertises on TV and their interest is 86% I think.  Now that should be criminal.  

  12. blissfulight says:

    Everything you ever wanted to know about diamonds but were afraid to ask:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/02/have-you-ever-tried-to-sell-a-diamond/304575/

    TLDR:  Diamonds are worthless.  You can’t sell them back to the dealer.  The whole diamond thing is a well-orchestrated marketing campaign/scam.  A cartel ruthlessly controls the diamond trade in order to keep the price of those worthless diamonds elevated.  Buying a diamond is the equivalent of sending money to a Nigerian scammer.  

    • Preston Sturges says:

      There was an episode of Frontline about this 10 years ago.  Diamonds are worthless. They showed a sorting area the size of hockey rink that probably had 50 tons of diamonds in piles. When GE discovered the process for synthetic diamonds 25 years ago, the Debeors buyer had a little talk with GE and they fired the staff and buried the research.  Each product (bracelets, cocktail rings, etc)  is marketed intensively to make full use whatever supply is on the market and suitable for processing by child labor. 

    • Katie Albers says:

      Yeah, people will go on about conflict diamonds and all sort of other problems with them, but they all miss the central problem with diamonds: they’re utterly without value. Why do you think it’s worth it that some stores promise to buy a ring back at full price? There’s be nothing worthwhile if the “worth” of the ring hadn’t plummeted the minute you walked out the door with it. They sure as hell aren’t an investment; they’re a money pit.

      • blissfulight says:

        Isn’t it odd that something that is regarded as a form of portable wealth, is, in fact, from the perspective of the diamond market, quite worthless?  How is it that a product that is essentially ‘forever’ and doesn’t diminish in quality with time or use, can be considered worthless the moment it leaves the store?  As a symbolic dowry, prospective brides would be better off demanding something more valuable, like a bank account full of cash, or a car, or even (shudder) gold.  Something, anyway, that can be readily converted to another form of currency, or has a beautiful, utilitarian purpose.  (I’m shouting in the wind.  I’ll be quiet, now.)

  13. nixiebunny says:

    I bought my wife’s engagement ring from one of those 25 cent gumball toy dispensers at the supermarket while we were on a road trip, getting to know each other. Seems to have worked OK – we’re still going strong 20 married years later.

  14. David says:

    One contention I have with this is that the credit inquiry is a superficial one to see if you qualify. Applying for a credit card makes such a minor blip, it doesn’t really count – unless you’ve done it several times in one week. What really shows up on your score is getting approved for automotive/boat financing, a home loan, student loans, etc. Those go through a different process at the credit reporting agencies. Store credit is minor. Just be concerned with your debt vs. debt potential with the cards you have.

  15. GlyphGryph says:

    Save yourself some cash and upgrade from diamond to moissanite (basically, space diamond), and you’ll get a better stone with less a chance of having to go into debt for it.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Or get an aquamarine or an amethyst or a citrine or an opal or any of the other stones that are even prettier than diamonds. The trouble with my theory is that you have to actually know the person that you’re proposing to marry if you don’t want to just buy the default stone.

      • Sekino says:

        People also have to be careful what they pick if they intend to wear the ring most of the time, for years.

        I love peridot but it is brittle and soft (I went with a plain thick silver band matching my husband’s). Opals can crack merely from going through relatively mild temperature shift; amethyst’s colour gradually fades with sun exposure; many gemstones tend to fall into a 4 to 7 hardness range so they will eventually get dull from scratches and need replacing (which people hesitate to do because of the sentimental value).

        Sapphire (corundum) is a really good colourful alternative. Topaz and spinel are also pretty durable (unfortunately, beautiful spinel is not very well-known by the public).

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          You’d think that spinels would be better known since there’s a huge one on the front of the Imperial State Crown of the UK.

          Also, I don’t really get why you would wear your engagement ring all the time after you’re married. It seems like it should go on for dress occasions.

          • Donald Petersen says:

            When I was growing up it seemed all the married women I knew wore wedding bands, and kept their engagement rings stashed somewhere.  It seemed to have become fashionable at some point (late 80s, maybe?) to make those “bridal sets” where the engagement ring and wedding band are designed to be worn together, so you can enjoy your super-spendy diamond every day instead of stashing it somewhere.

            As you say, it seems like day-to-day life would suggest wearing the wedding band only, so you’d only trot out the ring with the rocks on fancy-dress occasions.  But whether we’re an instant-gratification culture or we just don’t get gussied up very often anymore as a society, it seems plenty of people like being able to wear both rings all the time.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            It seems weird to me.  It’s as if the Queen wore a tiara to go riding.

          • Sekino says:

            Yeah, I think that wearing the engagement ring permanently is yet another fairly new invention. It often seems that people like to make things more and more complicated for themselves rather than simplifying… Now they have to match the wedding band with it (another excuse to add diamonds on the band).

            Spinels probably got an unfortunate bad rap because of synthetic spinel, which is used in most cheap birthstone jewellery and grad rings. So to many people even the name ‘spinel’ alone automatically implies something faked.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            There’s a window into previous jewelry-wearing habits in William Morris’s The Well at the World’s End wherein he mentions that one character“had turned the bezels of her finger-rings outward, for joy of that meeting.”

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I’d also like to point out these two tiaras owned by the Swedish Royal Family.  The Cameo Tiara has nary a diamond in sight, and the Cut Steel Tiara gets its glitter from….. cut steel, not gems.  Even at the top of the jewelry ladder, faceted rocks are not required.

    • welcomeabored says:

      I was married with a simple gold band 32 years ago.  The knuckle got too big for me to wear it anymore, so my hand has been sans ring for most of our marriage. 

      This Xmas, I bought a 5.5 mm moissanite round cut stone through one of my jewelry supply catalogs with the intention of creating the ring I want, without the worry and debt that go with wearing several carats in diamonds. I’ve read even jewelers have a hard time telling a mined diamond from one grown in a lab.  Good enough for me. 

  16. MandoZink says:

    My wife believes as I do – diamonds are cutting tools and not even rare at that. They can now manufacture perfect diamonds, to the absolute horror of the DeBeers Company. We decided to get gold wedding bands only. On top of that, we both wear them on our right hands. I tell people who ask that it’s because we’re left-handed. That always seems to suffice.

    • Donald Petersen says:

      Out of curiosity (well, nosiness, really), is that really why you wear them thus?  Or is there some other reason?

      (Of course, now that I’ve asked, you’ll probably tell me that it’s because you’re left-handed, which will be all the answer my nosiness deserves.  But I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, in case you decide that here and now is the place and time to reveal The Real Reason.)

      • MandoZink says:

        Well, it was the least we could do. We had lived together for over 12 years then and I knew she wanted to get married. My own insistence that I have a simple gold ring to wear that I will never lose track of added a bit of charm to the officialness of the commitment. It’s now 13 years later and I still wear it.

      • tw1515tw says:

        They wear wedding rings on the right hand in Germany – another way to explain it. 
        I knew a goldsmith’s daughter and she could never bring herself to buy jewelry. Knowing the comparatively small cost of the stones and the large markup took away took away the magic for her.

        • UnderachievingSheep says:

          They wear wedding bands on the right in The Netherlands as well. It was explained to me when I was getting married that Catholics wear their bands on the left hand and Protestants on the right. I am neither but I chose the right hand just to be contrarian to the Catholics (which is what I was supposedly raised as).

    • penguinchris says:

      As a geologist who understands rocks and minerals (though mineralogy was never my strong suit, if I’m honest) and knows that they’re all outrageously marked up in price from their real worth, I would not want a perfect diamond.

      It’s the natural differences and even the imperfections that make these things beautiful. Though I admit that the way diamonds (and some other gemstones) seem to “sparkle” is quite alluring, even – or especially – in artificial ones. But that doesn’t make them special – it’s the uniqueness that does that.

      Of course, I know from experience that it would never really work out between me and a girl who really wants diamonds. There’s a big correlation between that and other personality factors that aren’t really compatible with me. I will probably never buy a gemstone diamond, natural or manufactured (industrial ones, certainly), so it’s all academic :)

      • MandoZink says:

        I tend to wonder about the values of a person who parades around with a hand full of glistening rings. I could appreciate jewelry possibly made from an unusual stone which you may have hiked to a mountain top or a desert canyon to discover.

    • welcomeabored says:

      I understand that rubies are actually ‘rare’, compared to diamonds.  The stone I covet is an alexandrite.  It is one of the rarest precious stones.  The color of the stone changes with the light, alternately blue, green and/or purple. 

      My husband has VW Beetle painted in ‘Riviera Blue Pearl’ that changes in the light in much the same way.  It’s lovely at sunset.

      • Preston Sturges says:

        Rubies were rare, but IIRC lab-grown rubies hit the market pretty quickly, while the cartels managed to keep artificial diamonds off the market for 15 years.

  17. Donald Petersen says:

    My wife and I went ring shopping together without particularly high ambitions.  We ended up going to Robbins Bros and spending around a grand, most of which went to her ring since my band was a plain titanium ring that cost under $200.  I understand the theory behind getting one’s bride-to-be as fancy and expensive a ring as one can, but fortunately my wife believes that there are far more important things for couples-just-starting-out to spend money on than jewelry, and I enthusiastically agree with her.  If either of us were more profligate with our symbolic bling, the other party probably wouldn’t have agreed to the marriage in the first place.

    I know plenty of people, even in this day and age, who believe there’s some validity to the old “two months’ salary” yardstick, and some who also believe in “keeping the ring” if for some reason the engagement gets called off.  That kind of transactional thinking strikes me as crass and depressingly out of date.

    But y’know.  Whatever works for the couple in question.

    • Shane Simmons says:

      That’s less than I spent, but I didn’t go too crazy.  My wife’s wedding band was actually soldered to the engagement ring.  I certainly didn’t spend two months’ worth.

      By contrast, I went to school with a guy who spent $8k on an engagement ring on a McDonalds salary.  It seems to have worked out for him, but that’s more money than my first AND second cars cost, combined.

      • Donald Petersen says:

        Wow.  That cost more than my first five cars.  But then, it was the eighties and those cars of mine suuuuucked.

    • Preston Sturges says:

      “Keeping the ring” is NOT old school etiquette, because the engagement ring was frequently a family heirloom that did NOT contain a diamond. 

      • Donald Petersen says:

        As far as I ever knew “keeping the ring” was never particularly good formal etiquette, since although its sole purpose was to symbolize the engagement and the investment the giver was prepared to make to secure an outcome of a happy marriage, and though the breakage of the engagement by a given cad may have elicited sentiments in the jilted bride’s party that the cad should not be able to perform this caddish deed without risk of loss of this investment, how many brides would historically have done other than flung the ring at his back in disgust?

        Okay, maybe I watch too much Downton Abbey.  I can’t imagine Lady Edith kept Sir Anthony’s ring, but I can totally see Lady Mary encouraging her to keep it.

        (By the way, don’t nobody take any of this seriously.  I know pretty much nothing about this kind of stuff.)

  18. Ladyfingers says:

    I can’t imagine marrying anyone* not instantly concerned I spent too much on a stupid shiny object.

    *You could end the sentence here.

  19. hadlockk says:

    I’m not sure you understand how credit reports work if you’re surprised that borrowing money to buy a ring would show up on your credit report. It’s less obvious that a retailer pulling your credit history to determine creditworthiness would impact your credit score, but that’s your fault as the consumer for not researching the full impact of borrowing money, especially if you’re not responsible enough to pay back what you owe according to the WRITTEN TERMS AND CONDITIONS YOU SIGNED FOR. 

    You can make fun of people for suing about coffee cups not being labeled about being hot, but somehow being shocked about companies clearly labeling and detailing their predatory lending practices somehow makes people the victims? You can’t have it both ways. 

    • penguinchris says:

      There’s a pretty big difference between these examples, though. 

      In the case of coffee cup labeling, the label is of course to protect the coffee shop from being sued, not to protect the consumer… but the best way to do that is to protect the consumer as well, so they make things abundantly obvious. 

      In the case of predatory lenders, it’s not in their interest to protect the consumer. It’s in their interest for the consumer to be confused – so they deliberately make the terms confusing. They make more money that way because they know people will misunderstand. And they can’t be sued because technically yes, you’re right, they do explain everything ahead of time – the fact that it’s in language designed to fool even accountants and the like is irrelevant, right?

      Assuming these labels are covered under the same consumer protection laws, the spirit of the law – consumer protection – is clearly being violated in the second case.

  20. Lithi says:

    The whole wedding industry in general is just a monster and it needs to be declawed.  

    • nixiebunny says:

      The more people who ignore it, the better for humanity.

      • Preston Sturges says:

        I never see any survey where they ask if part of the declining rate of marriage is related to the increasing hassle of the process. Is the wedding industry helping to kill marriage? 

        • Shane Simmons says:

          I’m sure it’s a factor.  My wife and I spent very little on our ceremony, and I’d say the lack of crushing debt related to the wedding made things less stressful later.  We knew people who spent — and keep in mind, we’re midwesterners in a poorish area — as much on getting married as we did on our first car, and they’re divorced now.

          There’s also something else I’ve noticed; in those marriages, there tended to be all sorts of things.  One spouse or the other was completely overbearing, refused to compromise, or maybe one of the spouses needed lots of “me time” and had to “go out” with “the boys” or “the girls”.  If your marriage starts out with you requiring lots of time AWAY from your spouse, well…

          • IronEdithKidd says:

            Lots of women are all about the wedding, not at all about the marriage.  Thus, high divorce rates, especially in the US where there’s so damned much marketing of weddings.

          • ChickieD says:

            I recently was married – my second time, his first. I wanted just us and my kid on the beach for some quick “I do’s.” However, since his parents had never seen him married, he finally conceded that they would want to see him married (they are really old, so stuff like that is really important to them). All his friend who thought he’d never get hitched told us they were going to crash the ceremony. So, we ended up doing a small thing. Because I did not have people in the area to help me, I had the wedding and ceremony at a nice restaurant that would handle all the decorating, catering, cake, flowers. Because people were all traveling long distances, I felt I needed to have a certain level of entertaining – it didn’t seem right to serve cake and punch when someone had spent $1000 to fly their family in for the weekend. So, we ended up spending about $10k for about 50-60 guests for the whole weekend of events – and this was really as cheap as we could get it and still do something nice. I think if everyone is local you can do these cake and punch things much easier. I do think it’s worth sharing celebrations with people. 

            However, yeah, the bridezilla stuff definitely kicks in and it can be hard to decide how much is needed to make people feel like thought was put into the event and how much is just getting sucked into the maw of the wedding industrial complex.

  21. peregrinus says:

    OooooK …. so, having read and become enlightened, particularly with reference to the GE diamonds, I need some advice.  How do I pry the stone away from my wife in order to sell it before the market collapses?

    (PS I want a new guitar)

    • Preston Sturges says:

      You take it to the jeweler for “repairs” or “cleaning” and have him do the switch. 

      A friend used a family heirloom “diamond” ring for their engagement ring, but the jeweler later told them it was glass!  They replaced it with some other stone. 

  22. Alex French says:

    I knew exactly what she wanted- tension set, titanium with a lab grown stone (science!).  But I wanted to make it special- so I bough a small lathe and milling machine, kept them hidden in the spare bedroom, and designed and machined the ring myself.  That got a pretty positive response.

    Details about the whole process:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/flaggday/sets/72157628300156033/

    I’ve since started selling hand-machined rings on Etsy (FlaggRings) for anyone looking for an affordable option that’s focused on the making rather than the materials.

  23. Diogenes says:

    Purchase of, or longing for, diamond jewelry is a good indicator of a shallow mind.  Make your cellphone ring, take the “call”, then excuse yourself from the table for “an emergency”.

  24. spamky says:

    Every “no interest if paid before x” financing option I’ve ever seen would charge interest from the date of purchase if you don’t pay it off in time.  Thought that was par for the course

  25. Preston Sturges says:

    A DIAMOND IS FOREVER. SINCE WHEN?
    …..That explains how De Beers helped prop up the price of diamonds and create an illusion of scarcity, but how did diamonds become such an integral part of the marriage process? Depending on your point of view, you can thank or blame De Beers for that one, too. While we may think of the diamond engagement ring as a time-honored tradition, it’s really just the end result of a brilliant marketing plan De Beers rolled out in the late 1930s……. http://mentalfloss.com/article/26619/why-engagement-rings-are-made-diamonds#ixzz2J0HEXkns

    Diamond engagement rings are a 20th century marketing gimmick, based from the outset on slave labor.

  26. Velocirapt42 says:

    I remember I knew a girl back in my twenties who was getting married to the ridiculously wealthy heir to a huge-ass fortune. The kind of wedding where they were debating whether to make it over or under 1000 people. (“His dad has to invite all his business associates”).She was sad because she loved pearls and wanted a pearl engagement ring, but he “had” to give her a huge diamond or “the guys at his firm would never let him hear the end of it.” She was a lovely girl and I hope they are still happily together, but I found that so depressing. 

    Screw rings, I say start a tradition of engagement cheesecakes. I’d love me an engagement cheesecake. And then when it’s gone you have to give me another cheesecake because I need a lasting symbol of our love. And then when IT’S gone, etc…

  27. Preston Sturges says:

    The most inconsiderate wedding plan we ever experienced was when some good friends decided to get married in NJ on 4th of July weekend.  We got to fight holiday beach traffic all the way up and all the way back without even a chance to stop at the beach!

  28. shawntbrothers says:

    The author must not frequent Big Box stores at all. I love reading the terms for these kind of arrangements whenever I go into Lowes or Best Buy because my accounting brain just loves churning the figures. This is nothing new and has been going on for a long time now. It’s always the same whenever you see “promotional financing” in one of these stores. I’m not saying its a good thing, but people who don’t read the fine print when dealing in financial matters are just as guilty as these scumbag stores who try to pimp the financing deals. People wake up! These places are in business to take your money not save you money!!!

  29. Little known fact: Almost all jewelry chains in america are owned by one company, the Sterling Corp.   They own Kay’s, Jared’s, J.B. Robinson, Osterman, Belden, Friedlander, Goodmans, LeRoys, Marks & Morgan, Rogers, Shaws, Weisfield.

  30. Jenn Difie says:

    If you really want to make a good decision, go to a locally owned small business jeweler.  Most of the time they will actually HELP you budget, and many offer lay-away plans so that you can make payments on the ring as it is being created.  Anyone can do a Google search for a local custom jeweler, and besides keeping a local business open you will be able to actually talk to the person doing the work and get your questions answered by an expert instead of a professional salesperson who has never even toughed a buffing wheel.

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