The Question: Are Women Losing Out On ‘Precious Carats?’

Sometimes the public relations e-mails I get really raise my hackles, particularly when the companies advertising therein are trying to convince me (and thereby you) that their product or service is necessary to matrimonial or marital happiness. For example, I recently received an e-mail with this subject line: Is the recession costing women carats? Here is the FiLife poll doing the asking, where the actual question is “How many weeks’ salary is appropriate to spend on an engagement ring?”:


The more traditional seven to nine weeks is winning out over three to five weeks, but just barely. Personally, I think the appropriate number of weeks’ salary is however many weeks the giver can afford and is comfortable with. For some, that might be half a weeks’ salary. For others, it might be ninety-nine weeks’ salary. Twistie has her silver frog. I have two engagement rings, both of which sport semi-precious stones and were purchased via eBay. Most of my momfriends have these ginormous diamond engagement rings that kind of make my eyes glaze over. Different strokes for different folks, right?

But I guess not, since us ladies are apparently losing out on precious carats now that there’s a recession on. Poll comments like “I want a real ring to go along with my real marriage…If you are cheap don’t take champange (sic) to the beer store.” appear to confirm it. You know us women, all thinking math is hard and drooling slack-jawed over shiny bits of carbon. Seriously though, diamonds are definitely pretty, but precious carats? Precious carats? Goodness forbid we have to go through life without enough carats in our engagement rings!

My only consolation is that if the recession gets bad enough, we’ll all be too busy worrying about acquiring, ahem, precious carrots to give a thought to precious carats.

11 Responses to “The Question: Are Women Losing Out On ‘Precious Carats?’”

  1. Meg July 14, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    That’s really not a mindset I get. Our engagement rings (we both wore one) were matching stainless steel bands we got at a kiosk at the mall. Our wedding rings are matching titanium bands.

    Eventually (10th anniversary or so) I’d like something with a stone in it, but it’s not critical and we spent the money on the wedding instead.

  2. mkb July 14, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    A friend of mine who just got engaged created her own engagement rings from a pair of quarters.

  3. Twistie July 14, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Call me wacky, but I’d rather have precious carrots than precious carats.

    As with other non-essential spending, diamond buying is on a downward trend because right now people can’t afford it. Also, there are more people realizing that just because it’s traditional doesn’t make it a requirement, and then there was the popularity of the movie Blood Diamond, etc. Of course people are buying less and smaller diamonds.

    Besides, someday people are going to figure out the ‘two months’ salary’ bit isn’t etiquette or proof of the bride’s worth, but an advertising slogan designed to sell more and bigger diamonds.

    Want a massive diamond? Cool. If that’s what you want, and your true love can afford to get you the rock of your dreams, have at it. I’ll even send my entirely unnecessary blessings. Want a smaller diamond? You will never hear a nasty peep out of me. I say go for it. Want something else? Great. We are thinking alike. What goes on your finger should be something you truly love, whether that’s a big diamond, a little diamond, or something less expected.

    The one thing I cannot stand in this regard is the conflation of size of rock with willingness to commit. My silver frog had a price tag of less than a hundred dollars, but it’s the perfect summation of us. It’s a symbol of the commitment, not the commitment itself. I’ve been wearing it for nearly twenty years now, and every single day I smile at it. Every single day it reminds me of why I love Mr. Twistie so very dearly.

    What I wish for each and every one of you is that when you’ve been wearing the ring for twenty years or more, it still makes you happy, and still makes you think of your beloved with joy.

    That’s the true meaning of a precious engagement ring, no matter what it’s made of or what size it is.

  4. Pencils July 14, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    It’s pretty sad that some women are moaning about the size of their diamond rings. What a sense of entitlement. The size of the diamond isn’t directly proportional to the worth of the groom, nor to the amount of his love for the bride. I always wanted a colored stone myself and ended up with a gorgeous aquamarine in a vintage setting. It’s the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen, and I was incredibly impressed that my husband found it and chose it for me. I would never trade it for a diamond of any size.

    Someday, though, I’d like a diamond eternity ring. ;)

  5. Miss Seashell July 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    It’s so ridiculous to me that people so often confuse price with value! Personally, I think that the size of the diamond in an engagement ring is not at all a reflection of the love or level of commitment in a relationship. The metal of my ring is what’s important to me… platinum is the most durable of the precious metals, so I know it will last a lifetime, just like my marriage :).

  6. Carol July 15, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    Mr. Carol purchased a diamond and a setting with no input from me whatsoever. He found something he thought I would like, something that he could afford and something that made him proud to see on my finger. It happens to be a 1+ carat diamond. I love it and I love him and I love that he spent the time thinking about what I might like while still being fiscally responsible.

    I make no apologies for my big sparkly ring. Does it define our relationship? Not at all. I said yes before I even knew about the ring. I would have still said yes had there been no ring at all.

  7. Blossom July 15, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Yer, i have never understood how people go batty for diamonds. To me its just a clear stone not very exciting. i have a ruby in my ring and i love it, like twistie whenever i look at it, it makes me smile. And it cost in the hundreds not thousands.

  8. daisyj July 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    Huh. Could have sworn I commented here yesterday. Wonder what happened?

  9. Never teh Bride July 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Our spam catcher has gone pretty wonky these days, daisyj, and unfortunately a few comments here and there (including a bunch of our own!) get lost.

  10. Rabrab July 25, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    My engagement ring stone is 11 1/2 carats. It’s also an amethyst, and it came from a pawn shop as a 35$ loose stone. My husband bought it because he knew that I loved amethysts, because my hands are square and muscular so I don’t wear delicate rings, and then he designed a ring to fit me and the stone. I suspect I smile the same smile as Twistie and Blossom whenever I look at it. There is no diamond in the world that would make me happier.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

  1. stynxno.net .: » Blog Archive » Quick Hits for July 19, 2009 - July 19, 2009

    [...] Women are losing out on their carats due to the recession! You know how to realize that this survey isn’t 100% true? Go to New York City and hang around where the ladies who lunch hang out. Look around and notice their rings. Once you get to the 3.5/4 carat range, it’s hard to realize if a woman is actually getting a smaller engagement ring now because, well, they’re all just HUGE. From an outsider’s perspective, you can’t tell the if she lost out on carats. But if she really wanted a 4 and only got a 3.5, a pox on his house, amirite ladies? [...]