"If it's causing you more stress than it's worth... it's not worth it." - Yellow
Question #23082 posted on 02/16/2006 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm not getting married (no prospects, at the moment), but being at BYU it's something that I think about from time to time, since a lot of my friends are getting married. And Singles Awareness Day is right around the corner too.

One thing that has really bothered me is the whole idea of buying a diamond ring for whoever that special someone might be. It's not that I don't want to be romantic, but I look at that $1,000 price tag and see something that's small, could get lost or stolen, and worth the equivalent of about 6 months of groceries or the down payment and first couple monthly payments on a car. Since a lot of marriages start with financial difficulty already, it just seems a bit wasteful to me.

Then I also read this article on the internet, which seems to give some more very justifiable reasons for not buying a diamond:
(To sum up, it talks about the DeBeer's diamond cartel and various human rights and environmental issues associated with their mining)

So, I guess my question is, what's your opinion about getting a diamond ring for your fiancee? What would you do if you didn't want to get a "conflict diamond"? In other words, would you accept an alternative? I'm also kind of curious why the U.S. couldn't somehow place some sort of sanctions on diamonds to get these abuses to stop.

This is especially directed towards the married/engaged members of the board, though I'd like to hear from the rest of you as well.

- Seoman the unromantic

A: Dear Seoman,

I am one of the married Boarders of which you speak. I may sound completely materialistic, but I L-O-V-E my diamond ring. It's exactly the design I wanted and it is incredibly beautiful. I've stopped wearing other rings and most other jewelry because nothing can compete! It was a symbol of Mr. Nike's love and every time I look at it, I remember how much I love him (not that I need the ring to remind me, but it helps!).

Here are some things about buying diamond rings. It is a tradition in America, but that doesn't mean you absolutely must cater to tradition. I have a friend in my ward whose husband gave her a cubic zirconia and she's completely fine with it. I didn't even know it wasn't a diamond until she told me. Secondly, you mentioned that you could lose a ring that expensive. Did you know you can get insurance on diamonds? When Mr. Nike and I went to get our car insurance at AllState, our agent offered us renter's insurance, which also covered any valuables we might own - including my ring. We insured my diamond for $2000, which means if my ring were to get lost, the insurance company would pay up to $2000 to replace it. Lastly, it's an investment that should last a lifetime. Diamonds are solid rocks that can withstand quite a bit of abuse and if you're going to invest in a precious gem, you could do a lot worse than a diamond.

However, I really think it depends on what you and your fiancee (I'm assuming you're male) want. If you both really agree that you don't want a diamond, for heaven's sake, don't buy one and don't worry about what anyone else says. Do what makes you happy. I just wanted you to have some more information so you can make an informed decision.

A: Dear Practical Seoman,

I'm not engaged but I highly doubt that I would demand a diamond ring for my engagement. The link you provided didn't tell me anything I didn't know already and because of that, I would feel extremely irresponsible partaking in what is but another demonstration of material one-upmanship which Americans gluttonously propagate.

I couldn't do it. I'd rather have a gem or a pearl if anything precious at all. Coveting a ring makes me feel eerily Gollum-esque. My precioussss...

I don't feel unromantic, I mean, I'd like a wedding band. At least that tradition is older than the 20th century DeGreed. My mom only wears a simple wedding band and I have only wanted a marriage like my parents'. Maybe a band is superfluous but I'm OK with that.

-la bamba
A: Dear Unromantic,

I'm with you, actually. The reasons against diamonds, in my opinion--human rights violations, unnecessary cost, unethical cartels, the risk of getting a ring snagged on something--vastly outweight the reasons for diamonds--as far as I can tell, limited only to the joy of having something sparkly on one's finger. Since, for me, this joy is small, I have never felt the slightest desire for a diamond ring (or necklace, or bracelet, or earrings, or anything at all).

Then again, my opinion may be a little biased in this regard, since I don't really want a precious stone at all. Or an engagement ring at all. (Especially since my fiance wouldn't wear one. That's always seemed rather unfair to me.) I'd much prefer to save the money and spend it on something practical; a plain band serves as a symbol and reminder of love just as easily as a diamond. And it would match with everything, and I wouldn't worry so much about losing it and I wouldn't worry about snagging it on stuff.

So rest assured that you can find a girl who doesn't want a diamond, or who could be persuaded not to want a diamond. (We have here direct evidence of at least three: if you're not interested in me or la bamba, A.A. Melyngoch might be available in a few years. See Board Question #12823.) And if that's the case, why would you even think twice about it?