In this week’s column, Wedding Maven Marta Segal Block answers questions about ring etiquette.
Dear Wedding Maven,
I’m not engaged, or even seriously dating, but I have a question I’ve always wondered about. I have a moral issue with diamonds (and for that matter with spending a kazillion dollars on an engagement ring, and maybe with engagement rings in general...). At what point in a relationship does one mention that? I think pressuring people to get married is gross, and I wouldn't want to seem like I'm hinting. On the other hand, I wouldn't want the theoretical nice young man to spend three months' salary to proudly surprise me with a blood diamond.
So when do I speak up?
If we were to believe what we see on TV, restaraunts are chock-full of proposing men, surprised women, and babies about to be born. Fortunately, in real life, most people just go to a restaurant because crème brulée is too hard to make at home.
My point is that in all likelihood you will not be casually drinking a cosmo when your boyfriend suddenly throws an expensive and deadly symbol of patriarchy and colonialism into your glass. (Also. the woman next to you will not have her water break.)
The best engagements happen after a couple has taken the time to get to know each other. If your boyfriend is shopping at Tiffany’s before he knows your political views, then you have problems.
You sound like a young woman of strong convictions. The man you marry should be someone who loves you at least in part because of those strong convictions. Given that, it is hard to see how you could get as far along an engagement without him realizing that a diamond is not the way to go.
Dear Wedding Maven,
Several years ago I bought myself a beautiful ring. I wear it on my right hand. I recently became engaged and now have an equally stunning ring on my left hand. The problem is, the ring I bought myself is silver, and my engagement ring is gold. Can I wear them both at the same time? Can I still wear my right-hand ring even though I’m now engaged?
Embarrassment of Riches
I know it’s just a marketing ploy, but I love the whole right-hand ring thing. Why should fantastic jewelry be the domain of married people?
As a general rule, there’s no reason you can’t wear both rings, even if they’re different metals. If people are complaining that your handshake is blinding them, you may want to tone it down a little and save one ring for evenings out. Similarly, if your commute involves time on public transportation, discretion may become the better part of not getting robbed.
For your wedding day itself, you may decide to wear your original ring as your something old, a symbol that you take to the altar all your past experiences. Or you may decide to let your new rings shine by making them the only ones you wear that day.