My husband and I were at the jewelry store getting my husband's watch fixed. While he chatted with the jeweler, I scanned the glass cases filled with oodles of sparkly gems.
"Oh my gosh. It's sooooo gorgeous. It's evvvvvverything!"
My husband looked at me like I was insane and rolled his eyes. I was swooning over a black diamond engagement ring and a black diamond wedding band. He asked, "What about the ring I bought you five years ago?"
I looked down at my left hand and gave him the c'mon, are you kidding me?? look. My man knew what was up. I was getting the black diamond.
Before you paint me as this pretentious diamond digger, lemme school you. Bling isn't my thing. I'm more of a gold gal. It's not that I wanted some bigger or better ring. I just didn't like my ubiquitous, white diamond, princess cut, blah-blah-blah engagement ring. It wasn't my style. And I hardly ever wore it. (P.S. If you have one these types of rings and you love it, I'm thoroughly happy for you and think that's great! Just because all of the women in my neighborhood like to wear capri pants, doesn't mean I have to like them too. I'm sure they think my green hair is hideous. And that's okay!)
All throughout both of my pregnancies, I didn't wear my engagement ring or my wedding band BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T FREAKING FIT. And if I'm being completely honest, those rings didn't fit postpartum after my last kid was born either. The rings sat perfectly clean and sparkly inside their box. When I finally lost some weight a couple years later my husband asked, "Why aren't you wearing your ring?"
At first, I lied. I told him the ring still wasn't sliding down my swollen, sausage fingers. But as the months went on of me losing weight, I confessed. "I want my ring to be more unique, I've been looking at modifications."
I didn't actively seek a jeweler out. Getting a new ring was never a priority. The day I spotted the beloved black diamond (that eventually ended up on my finger), my husband and I were in a jewelry store getting his watch fixed. I didn't have some scheme to trick him into the trade. I'm not a brat for swapping my humdrum engagement ring for a more unique style. And the key word here is swap. No money was exchanged. It was an even trade.
My marriage isn't doomed because I didn't like my engagement ring and actually spoke up about it. Why should I wear something around out in public that I don't want to wear? Like shape-wear, panty hose, and high heels, if I'm not feelin' it, I'm not wearing it. Period.
If a woman does in fact upgrade her ring — say, with bigger, better diamond, — why do we care? Why do married woman chime in and feel the need to say I could NEVER upgrade my ring as if upgrading your ring is the equivalent of some serious marital and moral offense. Why do we assume an engagement ring upgrader is an ungrateful bitch? Or a "material girl?"
Why do judgmental people say something deeper must be going on in the marriage if a woman feels the need to get a new ring. If a gal wants new bling, she should get new bling. It's not that serious y'all. As much as many women would probably like to hold onto their old engagement rings when they upgrade, they probably financially can't. Or many women, like me, can't fathom having a ring that simply sits in a box unused (unless it's great-granny's heirloom, vintage ring).
If your financial status improves, your lifestyle inevitably goes with it. It happens all the time, to people all over the world. And sure, my old college couch holds sentimental value because it shows where I started and how I came up in this world, but am I really gonna keep that thing around for the sake of sentiment? Not a chance.
If you lived in a falling down shack and then suddenly became rich, are you going to stay in the shack? I bet not. Sure, money isn't everything. We're all adults here. We all know that gaining a financially elevated lifestyle is not a bad thing. We don't need to crucify anyone for making more moo-la and stepping up their ring status.
If you think about it, engagement rings, all of them, are kind of bullshit. Diamond engagement rings are a marketing invention and we've been duped for years. They're not an investment. They have made-up marital value. And my husband, just like a bunch of other poor chaps, fell for it hook, line and sinker. Instead of investing in his 401K in his early twenties he invested in my diamond. A diamond that he thought, and was pressured to think, was a requirement to marry me.
An engagement ring has never in the history of all love and marriage, represented the AMOUNT of love that two people have for each other. A diamond engagement ring is part symbolic sentiment and part caving-to-societal-norms (and a very aggressive jewelry sales person). For some couples it's also, sadly, a status symbol.
I'm not gonna lie. My husband was visibly crushed at first, standing in the middle of the jewelry store realizing that I was actually going to go through with an "upgrade." His ego looked a bit bruised. He felt the trade was a personal affront to the so-called sentiment of the original ring. But, he shortly came around to the idea. He knew I hadn't worn my original engagement ring in years. He just wanted me to have something I actually liked wearing on my finger. He wanted me to be happy, like all loving partners want for their partners.
I don't measure my new carats by their cash value. I could care less about the 4 C's. To me, my black diamond measures higher on the scale of personal style and individuality – which can't be determined by beauty and fashion standards.