Every guy out there knows that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. However, he also knows that they’re a bank account’s worst enemy, as well. I won’t go into the whole origin of the diamond engagement ring (because I’d probably never stop complaining), but the Cliff’s Notes version of it is simple: diamonds aren’t really all that rare. The only reason they decimate our wallets is because we’ve been convinced they mean more than they actually do. Alas, I digress.
The point is, if you’ve managed to find a woman who understands the whole diamond debacle and would rather opt for something a bit more out of the ordinary (first of all, congrats! Second of all), here are some of your options:
1. Lab-created “diamonds”
We are lucky enough to live at a time in which scientists can work wonders in a lab, even when it comes to replicating one of the most beautiful minerals on Earth. Diamond simulants duplicate the physical, chemical, and optical properties of actual diamonds. They are only discernible as “fakes” to trained professionals. Even those who know their minerals may have trouble noticing a difference between a real diamond and a simulant when viewed in passing with the naked eye. Of course, your significant other will always know the truth. You should definitely consult with her before going this route.
Moissanite is a silicon carbide compound that is similar in many ways to actual diamonds. Although moissanite has been found to occur naturally, scientists have been able to synthesize it completely (unlike diamonds, which, as stated, has only been replicated). Moissanite is about as durable as diamond, but it can withstand heat to a much greater extent. Not only that, but it also never loses its luster, which makes it ideal as an heirloom to be passed on from generation to generation.
3. Knot rings
If you’re looking for a ring that symbolizes the notion that two lives have become forever intertwined, a knot ring is the way to go. Although knot rings generally don’t come with gemstones, they can be made with yellow and white gold that weave together, creating a unique piece of jewelry for your significant other to show off. Some knot rings are made so that each piece is free to move independently while remaining connected forever, which is much more meaningful than any diamond ring could ever be.
As I said in the intro, we’ve been beaten over the head with the notion that “diamonds are forever” our entire lives. However, you might not know that almost all gemstones have symbolic meaning to them as well. For example, alexandrite symbolizes prosperity and growth, while rubies symbolize peace and tranquility. Put some thought into the jewelry you buy your love, and it will be much more meaningful than simply buying a diamond because it’s a societal norm.
5. Family heirlooms
I mentioned family heirlooms before, but the importance of a piece of jewelry that has been passed down throughout the ages cannot be overstated. When a ring is passed on to the next generation, the stories behind the ring come with it. All the accomplishments, struggles, hopes, and dreams of the past come alive and combine with an entire new set of stories to be passed on in the coming years. These inspirational stories are certainly more interesting than, “Your father bought this for me at the mall twenty years ago.”
6. Something Actually… Useful
Let me start by saying you should definitely check with your significant other before going this route. However, if you’re just starting out in your journey together, you might want to skip the ring altogether (at least for the time being). Think of everything else you can do with a few thousand dollars that will actually do something for your life as a couple. You could start putting money away for a down payment on a home or a new car, or pay off some of your significant other’s school loans. You could even opt for a more extravaggant vacation than usual, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Rather than spending money on an object that symbolizes your undying love, use that money to do something that will show your undying devotion to the love of your life.
Featured photo credit: NUBIA AQUA BEACH RESORT HOTEL. / Kakha Kolkhi via farm1.staticflickr.com