November 13, 2013

I had a few comments from my column, Dear Donna, in the Gazette November 11, 2013. I responded to a question from a reader who is going to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend. His sister told him the ring should cost two months’ salary and he wanted to know if that was the expectation. Based on what I researched, that appeared to be the expectation but several readers disagreed. I personally think you should spend what you can afford and feel comfortable spending. I want to share an email from Matthew that I feel puts it into better perspective.

Hi Donna,

I’d like to take a minute of your time to offer a differing opinion regarding your answer to the gentleman who sought advice regarding the purchase of an engagement ring.

I’ve been a jeweler for over 2 decades, and in the last 10+ have designed and made engagement rings for scores of clients. I can tell you with no hesitation that:

– The two-month “rule” for expense on a ring is a construct of the diamond jewelry industry, created by DeBeers to sucker consumers to buy as expensive a diamond as possible, and has absolutely no bearing on the reality of most men and women who buy such an item. And the idea that a 1ct diamond is needed is, respectfully, ludicrous.

– To assign an arbitrary value to one’s supposed love and devotion is an insult to the emotions shared between two people, and can create resentment and hostility within a relationship, due entirely to what “should” be spent on a ring.

– The most important thing I expressed to all my clients (including a couple that you arranged!) is that what they work together to design ought to be an expression of their commitment to each other, not a reflection of their purse or wallet.

I hope you’ll take the time to consider these points.

Thank you,
Matthew Crawford