“When you Propose, You give the Woman a Ring of Engagement…”

bth_MoonstruckIt’s Johnnnnny Cammaaaaarariiiiiii!?”

“Who are you?”
“Ronnie, Johnny’s brother….”

Do you remember this scene from Moonstruck?  I LOVE the scene where Ronnie asks Loretta, just-unengaged-from-his-brother-Johnny, to marry him.  “Where’s the ring?”

Johnny borrows the pinkie ring from Johnny to give to Loretta, the one Johnny had just reclaimed FROM Loretta when he tells her he can’t marry her.


One of my best friends in all the world just got engaged.  It wasn’t as dramatic as Moonstruck, but I can tell you, that she just simply glows with happiness at having met the man of her rings of engagement 001dreams.  Finally.   It’s lovely to see.

He bought her the most gorgeous engagement ring.  It’s just astonishing.  And now, we’re embroiled in wedding plans, which is both fun and frustrating.  I’m pouring through bridal magazines with her, which is fun and nostalgic and cool.  (Frustrating only in that most of these magazines and shops predicate their work and time frames with the idea that the bride has a year to plan….They’re going for April.  Of this year.)

One thing that is TOTALLY astounding to me is the change in style of engagement rings just since I got married 14 years ago.   There are so many ornate styles, set with tons of diamonds, and lots of filigree work.  Platinum is in, whereas yellow gold was more the thing when I got married.  Fourteen years ago, ovals were a fad as well.  I remember lhemp plantooking at LOTS of oval diamonds.  Not so much anymore!

Now, let it be said that the solitaire is ALWAYS right.  It’s always classic, it’s always beautiful and you can pair it with any style wedding ring and it looks flawless and fabulous.  Can’t go wrong with that lovely single stone.

Looking at all of these, and talking with yet another friend who chose not to get an engagement ring – she doesn’t really wear jewelry, being a doctor – I started wondering how all this ring business began.

So, of course, I did some research.  Seems the whole deal started with the Egyptians.  They wove rings of hemp – yes, that stuff, because it’s very sturdy! –  to signify the neverending circle of love, and placed the rings on the left hand because they believed that hand had a vein which ran straight to the heart.   Pretty cool.  Of course, plant material being what it is, you had to renew the vowsbth_DSCN8234 periodically! 

Which led to the Romans.  They adopted all the mushy stuff from the Egyptians, but hey, they wanted permanence!  Iron rings became all the rage, echoing the “key ring” and signifying that a man gave a woman the keys to his lockbox, his house, etc. when he married her.  Iron, of course, being iron, wasn’t as appreciated by the Roman ladies, especially those of high status, so gold rings took on a new luster and new purpose!  That’s a Roman Iron Ring.  Not what I’d choose for my Big Day.  Would you?

Moving forward in time through a lot of societal changes, and a lot of power plays, it’s reported that the first dude to give his betrothed a diamond ring was Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477.  He figured if gold was good, gold with then-rare diamonds would make him THE MAN of big-time betrothals and show coolored stonesjust how much status he had!  Worked pretty well for Mary of Burgundy, I think.  Ha!

Colored stones got to be a “thing” in the 1600’s with lots of brides choosing Indian Sapphires.  Then once more diamonds were discovered in the Amazon, and later in the 1870’s in Africa, they became the stone to give your gal if you wanted to show her – and her daddy – that you had serious intentions. 

Of course, those smart guys who formed the DeBeers Mining Co. in Africa wanted to be sure that there would always be demand, no matter how many diamonds their mines produced.  Hence the ad campaigns stating “A Diamond is Forever!”  “Show her your fidelity with a flawless diamond!” and “It’s an heirloom for your bride!” 

An industry came into it’s own.  Now they toss around the “Four C’s”  (Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat weight), and the myth that it should cost you and your partner 3-month’s salary, just to show their commitment to rings of engagement 003the relationship.  Grins.

My friend went back to ye olde tradition – not iron! – and chose a colored stone.  She has an emerald as her center stone.  It’s stunning!  I know several people who’ve gone this route.  One friend chose a sapphire, much like Princess Diana’s ring, now gracing the Duchess of Cambridge hand.  Another friend got a diamond anniversary band and called it done.  Some, like the doctor friend I mentioned earlier, have just done the wedding band.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?  What do you think of the Solitaire?

What’s your favorite shape?  (Mine is the Princess cut – square – and I have it and love it!)

White gold, platinum or yellow gold?

If you’re not married, what do you think you’d like to have if you get engaged?

If you’re married, do you like your rings, or would you trade them in on a newer model?

A friend of mine “upgraded” her rings at her 15th wedding anniversary.  Would you do this?

Do you like the rings with colored stones, or is the diamond your first choice?

Let’s talk rings!!

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  • Jane says:

    Hi Jeanne,
    I love the princess cut, too, with platinum. I wanted a pink diamond after Jennifer Lopez got it. Diamonds are lovely, but I also love sapphires.

    • Jane, watch out that the rooster doesn’t steal any stray jewellery you’ve got hanging around!

      Actually I’m with you on colored diamonds. Did you know the highest quality colored diamonds come from Australia? Pretty snazzy, eh? Pinks and yellows from what I can gather.

      Jeanne, do you remember going to see the fabulous Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian last time I visited (too long ago!)? I was absolutely bowled over by the brilliant blue. It’s stunning if any if you guys get the chance to see it in DC.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        I didn’t know they came from Aus! How cool! I love the colors. :>

        And yes, I SO remember going to see the diamonds. How could you forget them? Gor-G-Ous!! Grins. And I’m bummed that we haven’t had a visit in a while either. New costume exhibits await, and I think there’s something at the Portrait Gallery to tempt you too….tempt, tempt….

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Jane! Happy Rooster Wrangling for the day. And Anna’s right. He likes the shiny – the more expensive the better! (I always worry when he comes to visit you, he can get in SO much trouble up there!)


      I love the colors too. The canary yellows and browns are very popular and so gorgeous!

  • Jeanne, what an a propos piece (yeah, slight pun there!). My best friend’s daughter just got engaged and she sent me photos of the ring. It’s gorgeous. Quite Art Deco – square cut with smaller diamonds framing it. Love it! Like your friend, she’s walking on air which is beautiful to see.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh how fun! Love is in the air! Give your friend’s dauther some Bandit happy for us. Grins.

      It is a lovely thing to see, isn’t it? That “Wow, he’s real!” bit. My friend keeps saying, “I’m not dreaming this, right?”

      The center stone with all the diamonds around seems to be really popular right now. And rightly so, it’s gorgeous!

  • catslady says:

    Just before our 25th wedding anniversary I lost the diamond out of my wedding band while raking foot deep piles of leaves so finding it was impossible (the prong broke) and I was devastated. My husband had a ring made for me that year with a pear shaped diamond in a very thick and strong setting this time – I love it. My first ring had a thin platinum band that fit into another thin wedding band. This one is yellow gold. I only have the one ring now so I tell him we’re just engaged lol. It will be 44 yrs. this summer.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, Catslady! I’m so sorry about the first one being lost, and that would have been SO impossible a task, finding that! Wow.

      But it sounds like you have a wonderful man that – 44 years and you’ve not kicked him out yet! Go you! Grins – and his taste in diamonds sounds spot on. The pear-shape is SO gorgeous, isn’t it?

      And, am snickering at the 44 -year engagement. When are you kids going to quit foolin’ around and get hitched? Ha!

  • Mary Preston says:

    My engagement ring has a diamond in it, but it never felt like me. I’m more of a ruby, sapphire, emerald kind of gal.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Mary! I too love the colored stones. My DH has said that he wants to get an anniversary band w/ the colors for me at some point. (I’m thinking that’s waiting till AFTER we pay for college….) I love the richness of the colors, don’t you?

  • Helen Sibbritt says:


    Diamonds are my favourite and as my birthday is in April it is also my birthstone so I am very happy although i really love saphires as well. I have a diamond soltaire in what I think they call a basket which makes it a bit stronger and have had it for 39 years now and still love it although it may need a new band sometime soon. I also have my mothers engagement ring which has two diamnonds in a claw setting with three very small diamonds in a heart shape on either side although this was redone for her back in the 70’s using the original diamonds and we added the extras in the hearts for her. I have 2 children planning weddings for 2014 and Bec’s engagment ring is a very small solitarie diamond in white gold and it suits her wonderfully where as my son bought his fiance a much bigger one that is all sparkles with a square ring in white gold mine and my Mums are both yellow gold.

    Have Fun

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, they all sound lovely, Helen! I’m so thrilled about the 39 years too! (There’s hope for me! Grins) That’s outstanding. Congrats to you and your hubby on that one.

      Your daughter’s ring sounds lovely. I have to say, there is a woman I know whose DH bought her this HUGE diamond and she’s this little petite thing. She will quietly tell her friends that she wishes he’d bought her something small and suiting her hand, because all you see is RING! and it doesn’t flatter her at all. I’m betting Bec’s looks great! And hey, if she wants something bigger later, he can add to it! :>

      Had to LOL about your son going bigger, is his intended a bigger woman? (WHat do you think of the future Dau-in-law??) Grins.

      Your Mom’s ring sounds so lovely, with the hearts. What a delightful touch.

      • Helen Sibbritt says:


        Bec is not much a jewellery person but Tash is big on jewellery and clothes etc and yes she is lovely things have been a bit topsy turvy where they are concerned they have not been together very long at all but they are both very happy and that is what counts. One wedding is in March and the other in June I am going to have a very busy year LOL

        Have Fun

        • Jeanne Adams says:

          Wow that WILL be a busy year! I’m thrilled for them and for you. Congrats all ’round!!

          SVEN!!! Helen needs some champagne! As both a Mother of the Bride and a Mother of the Groom for the other wedding, she needs the strength. Heehee!

  • Carol Cork says:

    My engagement ring is 41 years old. It’s a yellow gold ring with a single solitaire and platinum arms and I would never want to change it. It’s as special today as when my husband to be put it on my finger all those years ago.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Awww, Carol, that’s fabulous. I love it! My Mom’s is like that – yellow gold with a platinum setting/arms – and it is pretty, and special, like yours.

      HUGE congrats on the 41 years. I love that too. So wonderful to hear about when it works, rather than the opposite.

  • Deb says:

    Jeanne, I have a quick (I hope) story to tell you about getting engaged….My DH couldn’t afford a ring at the time he asked me and I told him I would marry him if he even put a bubblegum machine ring on my finger. So, he said, “Come on. Let’s go!” We jumped in the car, went to Wallyworld, and after several little toys, my bubblegum machine ring came rolling out. It was a blue marquise with a “diamond” in the middle. I still have it in my jewelry box.

    My engagement ring is a small marquise diamond set in a gold band (I don’t like silver) and the wedding band wraps around it. I love it and, unlike my mother who likes BIG pieces of jewelry, I prefer it to anything else I might see.

    I do have a lovely princess cut diamond wedding set I wear on my right finger that my dad’s cousin Beverly left me when she passed away. It is from 60+ years ago, and when I have it cleaned at the jewelry store, the people there are always exclaiming over its beauty and can tell that it is very old. The inscription is still on the inside band, though quite worn. It has Keith and Beverly’s initials, the word LOVE, and the year ’47 on it.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Awww, Deb, that’s so cool! I love it!!! Isn’t it great when you love your ring?

      And I’m in love with the story of Keith and Beverly and their rings. That’s so sweet and dear.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    I think a simple, round cut, yellow gold solitaire is the prettiest. I like simplicity. Yellow diamonds and blue diamonds are also nice. I have a few rings but do not wear them often as I don’t like to have much jewelry on my hands. When my husband and I got married, I told him I did not want a diamond and that I preferred a wide gold band instead. That’s what I got and today it is my most treasured piece of jewelry.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      How wonderful, Connie! I too love a wide unbroken gold band. I really like the solid shape and look of it. :> Solitaires are gorgeous too, and like you, I like the yellow gold. I can appreciate the other colors and metals, but for me? Yellow gold. Grins.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Solitaire marquis cut is my ring of choice, Diamond please. I just love the way that cut sparkles. If for reason I was talked out of a diamond then a blue sapphire would be my second choice, again with the marquis cut. I prefer yellow gold myself. 10k because it is stronger than 14 and I am apparently hard on rings.
    Many years ago I worked in a jewelry store and at the time it was said that young women wore yellow gold and older women wore white, they didn’t tell me why and I don’t care anyway, I like yellow…LOL

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Dianna! Oooh, Marquis! That’s such a gorgeous cut. They sparkle so much in that cut. I’m with you on the diamond first, sapphire second. :> Even though red’s my fav color, when it comes to stones, I’m loving sapphires. And I’m with you too on yellow gold. I have loved that, on me, since I was a kid. It’s a better color for my skin tone, so hey, 8 or 80, I’ll go for gold. Snork!!

      I’m hard on rings too, I have the setting checked on my ring every year just to be sure it’s okay because I’m always banging my hands around. :>

  • CateS says:

    We got married with just matching bands.. he was just starting out in teaching.. back in the day when a beginning salary was about 9K.. that’s with coaching stipend & teaching drivers ed… but on our 10th – he gave me a beautiful band with 7 diamonds.. Over the years, I’ve lost one diamond [$90 to replace] had the band redone… I do take it off when gardening..

  • kaelee says:

    My ring is from the late 1960’s. It is yellow gold with a round cut diamond. The yellow gold is raised around the diamond making it look a bit like a calla lily. I did not pick it out but I love it.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Y’all know how much I love my kitchen gadgets so this should really come as no surprise. We got engaged in 1975 at a time when microwave ovens were new on the market and about as expensive as a used car. My late dh asked if I wanted a diamond or a microwave. I opted for the microwave! lol!

    He made up for it on our 25th anniversary by having a beautiful European cut diamond that had belonged to his grandmother set in a platinum band for me. I still wear it on my right hand.

    Btw, I’ve never regretted the decision to get the microwave. 🙂

  • Pissenlit says:

    I like the Brilliant, Princess, Radiant and Emerald cuts. I also find the Pear and Marquise cuts kind of nice as long as they’re bracketed by one of the triangular or trapezoidal cuts. And I prefer platinum or white gold over yellow gold.

    If I were to get engaged, I don’t think I’d be super picky as long as I liked the cut and setting…which would be the case because I’d be sure to *cough* mention it beforehand. I had a friend who had her fiance return the brilliant-cut diamond and yellow gold engagement ring he picked out and then go out and buy her a titanium tension ring with some sort of pink gemstone. Personally, tension rings kind of freak me out.

    I don’t think I could “upgrade” but I wouldn’t necessarily say no to more jewelry. *grin*

    I loved coloured stones but as an engagement ring, I think I’d go with a diamond. It’d always match with whatever colours I’m wearing. Heh!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Pissenlit! So you love most ALL the cuts! Heehee. Me too.

      As for the tension rings, I’m with you. Freaky. And I’ll take the yellow gold any day.

      I happened to mention that I liked the *cough* square *cough* cut when DH was hinting about buying me a ring. He done good.

  • Diane Sallans says:

    I don’t like a setting that sticks up to much and snags on things – also it’s difficult to get gloves on with too big a ring.
    And I do like the idea of a colored stone – love sapphires (which is also my birthdstone).

  • Fedora says:

    Hi, Jeanne! I have to say, I’m a fan of the classic solitaire. I went with a round, but I also love the princess cut. It’s a very elegant look!

    We went with platinum, and I love it. I also like the look of white gold. I think the cooler color looks better on me than the yellow–that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it 😉

    I still like my rings–as you said, the classic never goes out of style. I’ve pondered “upgrading” the wedding band for an anniversary band, but I’m not sure whether all those little nooks and crevices really suit my lifestyle (which is often hands on and messy ;)) Plus I’m a very sentimental person, so the emotions are tied in a bit with the originals 🙂

    As for colored stones, I think many of them look gorgeous! Maybe one of THOSE for the next major anniversary 😉

  • Amy Conley says:

    Now we’re talking 😉 I Love my rings. I began with teeny tiny 28, almost 29 years ago. I’ve had 3 or 4 sets. My last set was for our 25th anniversary. I went with silver since it was our Silver Anniversary. For the stone I chose my birthstone, a garnet. As far as shape, I got a round stone for the enagement ring and baguettes for the band. We were going to have a big 2nd wedding, but my oldest grandson was diagnosed with cancer, so I canceled it. He’s fine and we will have been married 29 years in June.