Friday, August 20, 2004

More on the Ring

Picking an engagement ring is tough. There are so many questions. For a young man who typically shops rarely and never for jewellery, it's quite a lunge into the deep end of life.

How much to spend? Our notional young man normally doesn't want to blow the bank. However, he doesn't to appear cheap either. The self-serving De Beers recommendation of spending several months salary on the diamond alone is enough to make anyone feel inadequate. This is his nightmare.

Young Man: Would you do me the honor of accepting this ring and marrying me?

Young Woman: With that little thing. No way! Get me a bigger rock. Make that three and don't do the cheap gold.

In my case, I decided to go mid-range. I knew that Ann did want a stylish ring. However, I was also pretty sure that she would prefer that I spend the extra thousands on a vacation to San Francisco, or even Africa or Asia.

The style of the ring is also a major consideration. Friends recommended white gold with a diamond. I also opted for a design both modern and simple. Again, my experience of Ann's tastes indicated that she'd prefer a more elegant but unobtrusive ring.

Finally, there were political considerations. As an active volunteer leader in Amnesty USA's Corporate Action Network, I am compelled to avoid buying any conflict diamonds. In addition, at Oxfam America I work on our No Dirty Gold campaign.

After discussion of my engagement ring buying in our Gold Campaign meeting, I decided to buy a "previously-mined" gold ring. That has the advantage of not contributing to the 20 tons of toxic waste created from the production of just one gold ring. In addition, simply by the fact that a "previously-mined" ring is also by definition a second-hand ring, I probably saved money that Ann and I can use for that vacation.

Ann seems very happy with the ring. I'm glad my choice appears to have hit the spot.


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