We all know the classic engagement story very well: two people meet, fall in love, someone saves up, buys a ring, and surprises their partner with the big question and the ring over dinner/coffee/the middle of the second half at an NBA game/a flash mob/ at home on their living room couch.
But what happens if the partner that you’ve chosen to love forever and ever doesn’t have a clue what your taste in jewelry is? What if you dislike the ring and you feel awkward about mentioning that to your future spouse?
Whether you have a very particular vision of your ring or you just aren’t a fan of surprises, shopping for a ring together is a practical and modern approach to an engagement. Here’s how to know whether or not ring shopping together is the right thing for you.
You Have a Vision of What Your Ring Looks Like
Engagement rings aren’t just the standard princess cut diamond with a silver band anymore—they can be personalized with different colored stones, unique settings, engravings, and anything else you can imagine. Expecting your partner to be able to pick out your perfect ring without ever discussing it first is a lot of pressure to put on someone. If you have a specific vision of what you want for your engagement ring, then shopping for a ring together can be tremendously helpful. Being surprised is fun, but getting a ring that you love is even better.
You Have Issues with the Diamond Industry
Diamond rings may be beautiful, but they can sometimes have a not-so-pretty story of how they got made. Conflict diamonds, or diamonds that are mined in violent settings resulting in civil wars, worker exploitation, and human suffering, are said to make up about four percent of diamonds in the industry. If you are a person who has great passion and conviction for this subject (and who wouldn’t!), then you might want to be extra sure that your partner isn’t accidentally purchasing a conflict diamond. Therefore, shopping together would be a great solution. When you go shopping for the ring together, you can take the steps necessary to ensure that your jeweler can certifiably prove that your stone is indeed conflict-free.
You Don’t Believe in the Traditional Engagement Setup
Traditional engagements where one partner surprises the other with a ring and a question can be really special—and for some couples it’s the right way to go. However, not all couples are the same or have the same outlook on how they want their engagement to go down. Whether you are in a same-sex couple and you don’t want one partner to feel pressure to ask the other, or you think that an engagement should be a decision made together, sometimes a surprise popping of the question isn’t the right move.
Shopping together for a ring may not be the romantic gesture they show in the movies, but it can be an incredibly joyful (and absolutely) romantic experience. Picking out a ring together is definitely a shopping date you won’t forget. And really, what’s better than shopping for jewelry together and popping a bottle of champagne at your favorite restaurant afterwards?
You and Your Partner Are Buying the Ring Together
The notion that the man is supposed to pay for an engagement ring alone is a vastly outdated idea. Although you might think that giving a diamond engagement ring is some ancient practice—you’d be incorrect. Buying a diamond engagement ring for a proposal actually didn’t start until after the Great Depression when an ad agency called N.W. Ayer & Son launched their now famous ad campaign, “A diamond is forever.” In combination with the slogan, the advertisement instructed young men who were eager to take a wife to save up two month’s salary and purchase their bride-to-be a diamond engagement ring. Diamond rings had gained popularity after the DeBeers Mining Company discovered diamonds in South Africa in the late 1800s.
So because this idea of a man purchasing a diamond ring and surprising their wife-to-be is nothing more than an old advertising ploy (albeit a very effective one), it’s totally okay to change the rules and go in on a ring together. Women are now the breadwinners of 42% of families, and of course, many women are now marrying women, making these outdated rules even more outdated.
An engagement ring is a very expensive item and there’s no reason why your partner should feel pressured to go into the financial commitment alone. Going shopping for a ring together will help you come up with an agreed-upon budget and work out the financial agreement together. Plus, if your partner isn’t paying cash for the ring and has less-than-stellar credit, you can swoop in there and save the day with a lower interest payment.