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Engagement Rings | Manolo for the Brides - Part 3
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Ring Around the Groom

Once upon a time, when marriage was more likely to be a financial arrangement than the joining of two hearts desperately in love, rings were pretty much only for the bride. She might or might not get a betrothal ring, and she wore the wedding ring. After all, he was the one with earthly goods to endow people with. Hers were… not hers. They were her father’s and the groom had probably already gotten that milk cow, interest in the family shipping business, or strategically important tract of land.

Of course, times change and symbols with them. Marriage became a more equitable and less businesslike proposition. Around World War Two, wedding rings for men became popular. Since then, the majority of men do wear wedding rings.

In fact, there are some parts of the world where men wear engagement rings, too. For instance, last month singer Michael Buble announced that he was wearing a ‘man-gagement’ ring, as is the custom in his bride-to-be’s native Argentina.

But neither an engagement nor a wedding ring is actually required on anyone. There are some professions where wearing a ring could be dangerous on the job. There are some men – and even some women, but it appears to be more common among men – who just plain don’t wear jewelry of any sort.

For instance, Mr. Twistie doesn’t have a wedding ring. When I asked him if he wanted one, he look about as though I’d just suggested he expose himself to my grandmother. For the record, I never suggested any such thing. Still, one look at that face and I told him not to worry about it. If he didn’t want a ring, that was fine by me. One less thing to buy suited me fine. And considering he doesn’t even wear a watch, it wasn’t a huge surprise to me.

But different people obviously feel differently on the subject. What are your thoughts on rings (engagement and wedding) for guys? Does your man wear a ring? Will he? Voluntarily? Whose choice was it? Does it matter if they match?

Picture-Perfect Wedding Rings

How sweet is this custom wedding ring that artist Luke Jerram designed for his wife? Along with local jeweler Tamrakar, he created the Portrait Projector ring, which contains a tiny photographic slide paired with a lens. Hod it up to a wee light source – like a mini flashlight or a candle flame – and the images contained within the ring are projected onto whatever is nearby.

Jerram made an equally fascinating engagement ring for his wife, which you can read about here. I’m like Jerram’s other works, too – particularly all of the neat gifts he’s made for people!

LOVE/HATE: The “Mine, All Mine!” Edition

calling off a wedding

Here’s a little something from Slate’s DoubleX that talks about engagement rings – specifically what is to be done with them in the event that the wedding is called off.

Christopher Reinhold of Staten Island says the diamond ring he gave to Collette DiPierro, who broke off their engagement in September 2009 after four months and growing doubts, is rightfully his. He has sued her to get it back. In his New York state-court suit, Reinhold says that he gave DiPierro the ring upon her promise to marry him. Since she broke off the engagement and the marriage did not take place, the deal, he says, is off. But DiPierro says that because Reinhold proposed on her birthday, the $17,500 ring was a gift, not a token symbolizing a promise to marry. So she can keep it. Or, actually, spend it: Neither Reinhold nor DiPierro claims sentimental attachment; both would be happy with the ring’s cash value.

I know that an engagement ring ought to be a gift, not a contract or a payment in advance of future “services,” but in court contract law usually wins out and apparently agreeing to marry someone means entering into a verbal contract of which the ring is a part. Tres unromantic! Etiquette, of course, agrees that giving it back is the thing to do, but bad blood sometimes wins out over good manners.

What I’ve always wondered about the never-bride who keeps the ring is what she is going to do with it. Wear it? That could be awkward. Keep it at the bottom of her jewelry box? Again, awkward – I don’t like having old jewelry given to me by exes around. Sell it? Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but that seems rather mean spirited – though if the giver of the ring was very abusive I might just say hock the thing for plane tix to somewhere awesome.

Calling off a wedding is such an emotionally charged thing to do, so do you really want a piece of bling (or the cash equivalent) reminding you that you or your once spouse-to-be said “I don’t” before anyone had a chance to say “I do”?

I HATE the idea that it’s even an issue. What does it matter if the ring was a gift or a way to seal the deal or something else? My idea of good manners does not include trying to profit off of a failed relationship (unless, as I mentioned above, there are some serious issues involved). Now you tell me: Is there any situation you can think of in which keeping the ring would be a love, not a hate?

From Sarcasm to a Sweet Story

What feels like a million years ago, but is really only five, I posted about acrylic wedding rings and the tone of my post was kind of sarcastic. I talked about space and the future and the word “um”.

After reading this post on Conversation Pieces, however, I feel rather differently about Alissia Melka-Teichroew’s acrylic engagement rings. I love that the author received one of the by:AMT diamond rings as an engagement ring, didn’t really want to upgrade because of the attachment she had to her original ring, and then found out that by:AMT sells a solid gold version of their acrylic diamond ring.

The main difference between the two rings, other than the materials used to create them, is $888 more for the standard width gold version. There’s also a thinner gold version for $600 and silver version for $180. I actually think I’d rather have the $12 acrylic engagement ring – as in right now, I want one, in pink. Target has a series of similar rings that don’t mention by:AMT or Alissia Melka-Teichroew, so I’m wondering whether Target ripped Melka-Teichroew off.

LOVE/HATE: The Never Too Thin Edition

Lately I’ve been coming across brides shedding weight, but instead of dropping poundage of hips and thighs, these ladies and losing bulk in their ringular regions. That’s right, I’ve been seeing slimmer, smaller, more delicate wedding bands and engagement rings gushed about on more and more blogs written by actual brides-to-be.

simple engagement ring

The warm champagne diamond ring above was crafted by jewelry artist Sara Westermark and can be found in her shop, while the simple hammered wedding band below was created by Raina Lee Scott and can likewise be found in her shop. Both are stackable, but look just as lovely worn alone.

slim wedding band

Now this is a trend I can unequivocally say I LOVE. Big honkin’ diamonds and thick gem-encrusted eternity bands have their place, but they can sometimes seem somewhat lacking in soul when compared to a simple and pretty hammered band of gold.

What say you?

LOVE/HATE: The ‘All Wrapped Up’ Edition

Before I launch into this week’s LOVE/HATE, I have to admit that I’m not typical when it comes to rings. I had two engagement rings, both with semi-precious stones, and I wear them when they happen to go with the day’s outfit. I sometimes wear a beautiful ruby ring I received for my birthday last year in lieu of my wedding band. And that wedding band? It’s not even the one The Beard put on my finger on the day we said our vows. So suffice it to say, my opinions regarding finger baubles for the bride probably cannot be considered normal.


That said, I really cannot stand engagement ring wraps. Big HATE from NtB’s corner! I will never, ever, ever tell someone they shouldn’t wear one, nor will I look down upon those who think they are just spiffy. I’ll even smile and say I adore your ring, because I’m a sweetie like that. It’s all a matter of preference, right? You can love them, and I can loathe them, and we can all be friends and go for cocktails.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the engagement ring wrap is basically a wedding band — with or without gemstones — sporting a hole in the middle that accommodates a solitary stone set in the usual way. They come in various metals and with various stones. They can be simple like the one shown above or rather complicated. There are single shank wraps, circumference wraps, and dual shank wraps. But whatever sort they are, their job is to make two rings look more like one for those who dislike two ring bling. Oh, and they can also safeguard more delicate rings by acting as a sort of bumper.

What say you? An easy way to customize an engagement ring? Or a great way to ruin one?

LOVE/HATE: The ‘Ring Solo!’ Edition

Previously, we’ve gabbed about the old wedding photography standards, like the bride applying her makeup in the mirror, the bride and groom touching foreheads, and the ringbearer sneaking a finger full of wedding cake buttercream. But how about the “look at our wedding rings” shot?

The Beard and I both thought of wedding ring photos as kind of silly, but we did it anyway and have a lovely photograph of his hand supporting my hand holding our rings on top of my bridal bouquet. And I’ll admit that I also took a picture of our wedding rings, still in their boxes, on top of our marriage license application.


While the hands of the bride and groom (or bride and bride and groom and groom) usually play a starring role in wedding ring portraiture, sometimes the rings themselves steal the show, like in this photo from Critsey Rowe Photography.

I’m leaning toward love, not just of this unique wedding ring portrait, but of ring photos themselves. Many long years ago, I didn’t really care for them, and I still don’t think that they are the kind of thing one looks back on and sighs. That’s reserved for pictures of the bride kissing her dad on the cheek before they head down the aisle or covert snapshots of quiet unplanned moments between the newlyweds. Still, I’m surprised at how much I’ve grown to like my own ring portraits, and I think they do make a fun addition to a wedding album.

What say you?

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