Engagement ring question


Hello, everyone!! It’s been a heck of a long time since I’ve been on the forums, let alone posted, so here I am!!

To give a bit of my story the past year or so:
I’m in a long distance relationship with a very beautiful woman I met through CatholicMatch.com. Our anniversary is coming up this March, when she will be flying here so we can celebrate together (part of our plan is to celebrate by serving the poor). We both have a strong desire to marry, and sooner rather than later at that. If possible I would like to propose when she is here.

I’m currently in school for an Applied Associates Degree in Accounting to be certified as a bookkeeper. Hopefully I will be finished this fall. Because of this I’m living mostly on student loans in order to focus on getting done as soon as I can, but this also leaves me with a tight budget.

Because rings officially marketed as engagement rings are way outside of my budget right now, I’m wondering if a good promise ring would be ok as a substitute?


I hadn’t heard of promise rings, but after a really quick look on the Internet, I would say they look like engagement rings.

It’s a little off the subject, but I read an article about the relatively recent history of diamond engagement rings. Apparently it is the result of a huge marketing push by the De Beers diamond company.
Business Insider article on the marketing of diamonds by De Beers
At the moment, it looks like we are stuck with this cultural expectation, but if you and your beloved find another way to symbolize your love, that would be wonderful.


I think you should purchase an engagement ring that she would like as well as what you can afford. A number of department stores usually have a selection of engagement rings or wedding ring sets for $200.00 or under.


Really? I haven’t seen them haha

And really I’m thinking of something more like the following example:

I’d rather have the actual wedding bands a joint decision.

I’ve also been looking on Macy’s website, and the only way to get it below $1000 is to find a set on sale, and even then I don’t see anything under $200. The closest is $260.


That looks quite a lot like an engagement ring. Maybe I’m out of touch with fashion. Are traditional engagement rings supposed to have just a single larger stone?


I think it started out with single-stone solitaire rings as the popular style, but more and more there are different and more sparkly designs with one larger stone surrounded by more smaller stones. There’s also different metals used, ranging from sterling silver to platinum.


Engagement rings are not required. Why not find out if she wants one? If she does, then go shopping for something she likes. I have an engagement/wedding ring set, but haven’t worn them in years. I wish I had gone with a plain gold wedding band instead, & no engagement ring at all. My taste in jewelry - as well as my ring size - have changed over the years.



I know you didn’t ask, but as a future book keeper, you realize high student debt will have a negative effect on your marriage for years (can’t afford a house, kids or a dog…). Getting a job and having a lower GPA and lower debt may be more beneficial in the long run. I would think being in school for book keeping would be enough for someone to give you a chance.


When hubby and I married in my (then) Protestant church years ago, he proposed to me with an engagement ring and my wedding band was a diamond anniversary band. We needed to get our marriage convalidated so that i could convert to Catholicism, I really wanted a plain one. (I originally wanted plain in the first place, but jeweler and hubby talked me into the diamond band). So, we went to a well known jewelry store and got rose wedding bands. Mine is a little wider than his, but I love my plain wedding band!

Maybe you could afford to get a little nicer wedding bands, even if she pays for most of it, or if you can arrange for a small loan from your parents or a friend. Down the road, you can always buy her a really nice anniversary band or another ring that she would really like.


That’s kinda what I was thinking. Have a nice enough engagement ring, nicer wedding bands, and then a nicer anniversary ring later down the road. I’m pretty sure she’ll want one, and I generally know what she likes. Besides, I think a ring would go well with what else I got her for our anniversary :slight_smile:


I’m going to my local community college which is a LOT cheaper and I have a grant and subsidized loan, meaning there’s no interest to pay. My mother has also agreed to pay half of what goes directly to my education, which is a significant portion. So loan debt will be lower than if I were to go for a full bachelors. The program I’m in is CTE, which stands for Career Technical Education. I will be done with 3 full semesters.


Me too!

But, years ago when my beloved husband asked me about engagement rings, he was a poor student. He asked, “What sort of ring would you like?”

I told him something he could afford, and if it were a CZ that he disclose that. Or his birthstone. Just something that was paid in full, no debt. He had a mountain of it in student loans.

He ended up buying an antique ring that actually fit with a very tiny diamond. Really tiny. He could afford to pay cash. I was delighted with it. One of my co-workers was so impressed that I had such a ring. You see he paid the standard 2 months salary (Debeers marketing) and picked out a ring that his fiancee accepted with the caveat that she and her mother would take it back to the store and pick out something nicer! Which she did the next day. I have no idea if they are still married. This worked for them.

I would have been happy with pretty much anything he would have given me, including a cz in a silver setting. Or a ‘hand me down’ from his mother. She did offer. This was something we talked about beforehand. I had no dreams of a certain style. (Some girls do. One friend wanted a trillion. Meh, it was the 90s.) Husband picked out his wedding band and I picked a plain gold band. His was strikingly good looking and I paid as much for it as he did for my engagement ring. Once I was married I never wore my engagement ring again although I sometimes take it out and look at it. My fingers have gone up in size and I replaced that band with a larger size when I got pregnant. This sometimes happens. Fingers get swollen, and rings don’t fit. I didn’t marry the ring.:wink:

I would say, you know your lady, if you are confident in your choice get it, but keep the receipt. You may need to have it re-sized, or possibly for an exchange.

Congratulations on meeting and wooing such a wonderful gir!


When my husband proposed to me, he took a ring that had been his great grandmother’s, sold the yellow gold to the jeweler, who took the diamonds (three, small by today’s standards but still lovely IMO) and then set them in a new white gold ring. So he didn’t have to pay for the stones, and got a discount on the new ring.

I also know a few people who got engagement or wedding bands from vintage stores or pawn shops.


Get two simple gold bands with a gorgeous inscription inside.
You can get her a lovely stone for a big anniversary in the future.


Thanks, everyone, for your input. In talking it through with all of you and hearing everyone’s thoughts and experience, I think I’ve made my decision. Even so, I will take some time to pray about it.


Having been a jeweler for over thirty years and owned my own store for fifteen, I can give you a couple pieces of advice. One, if you have less that $500.00 to spend, forget the diamond unless it is a “kenardly” (can hardly see it). Second, don’t let anyone talk you into store financing. With interest, you’d end up paying over twice the sale price. Stay away from the internet, or at least the internet auction sites. Lord knows what they are really offering. The other posters who have suggested plain gold bands probably have the best idea for you in your current situation. Just be sure your girlfriend really understands what you are up against. A diamond engagement ring may seem like a luxury item, but ask a young woman to marry you and then tell her you can’t buy a diamond. I’ve seen any number of guys regret that situation.

One thing I will say in support of diamond engagement rings. A diamond is pure crystallized carbon; probably one of the most common elements on earth. Yet the Creator in His divine wisdom takes this most common of element and exposes it to the extremes of high temperature and pressure and forms the diamond. Likewise, he takes two common things, a man and a woman, and in a relationship that is sacred, exposes them to lifes heat and pressure. He takes the common and makes it extraordinary. Until I realized that hidden meaning, even as a jewelry, my appreciation of diamonds was somewhat limited. It is that hidden, divine, meaning that makes them extraordinary to me. Ten years down the road, when you have the ability, if she wants, give her a decent diamond with that understanding in mind. Ten years from now, she will be far more precious to you than any diamond. We hope.




The more looking around I do on the internet (don’t worry I’m not going to buy), it looks like the only real difference between an engagement ring and many promise rings is name and therefore a marketing ploy to justify what you should know to be by far the biggest price markups of any product whatsoever. Any ring I do end up getting will definitely be a diamond.

As far as what my parents did, my mother’s ring was CZ that was later replaced with a diamond. The woman I’m with I’m sure would be happy with whatever I give her.


And SOME women don’t want diamonds – I was perfectly happy with my birthstone for my engagement ring. Ask her what she wants, she may surprise you.

If she’s not into stones, consider a poesy ring: on of my favorites is a band of stars, and inside it says: “Many are the stars I see, but in my eyes no star like thee.”


I think it totally depends on a couple of factors. First of all, are you very young? If you are, then a promise ring would be fine. Second, what would your girlfriend expect? Most women who have graduated from college and worked for a few years would probably expect a real engagement ring. I’m praying for both of you to be happy with your choice!:wink:


I’d take a plain band any day over a “promise ring”.
Those are for 13 yr olds.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.