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31 October 2008

Yesterday lunchtime I was browsing in the mall at Canary Wharf when I [More:]
witnessed the credit crunch in action.

This store opened a few months ago. It sells beautiful, but fake, er, sorry, simulated diamond jewellery. It's a tiny little store, but seems to do a roaring trade. (It carries far more stock than is shown online.) A beautiful white-gold emerald-cut 'D-flawless' 2ct ring is abut £150.

So, I was looking at the rings, earrings and pendants (no intention of buying anything, I just like sparkly things) when this guy came in. He took out a Tiffany box, opened it and showed the saleswoman a gorgeous solitaire diamond ring. We both 'oohed' at it. It was a 2ct round brilliant cut stone in the classic Tiffany prong setting. He said it cost £12,000.

He asked if they had an identical ring and she showed him one that was the same cut and carat size, but not in the band size he wanted (his fiancée appears to have tiny hands and he needed a 'K'). She could get the right sized one by the following day. He asked her to do so and said he'd be back, but he absolutely had to have it by the next day.

After he left, the saleswoman told me that, since the banks collapsed a few weeks ago, there've been a number of customers who've either come to them instead of the diamond jewellers for the engagement ring, or, as this guy did, brought in the 'chosen' ring, and matched it with an exact copy so he could return the real one and get a refund. (Tiffany has a 30-day returns policy.) Oh, and the little gift store a few doors down sells 'Tiffany' boxes, and the saleswoman said that she points the customers in their direction so the girlfriend need never know.

Now I can't imagine why anyone would want to spend £12,000 on a tiny polished bit of rock but I understand that the expectations of other women are different from mine. If that's what you want, and you can afford it, then, yeah, have it.

But I also really don't like the idea of a marriage being proposed on the basis of a deception. Me, I'd have no problem wearing a fake, but if it was presented to me as a real diamond and then I found out I'd been lied to, that's a whole different matter.
Yeah, it seems to me that if a man planning to propose thinks that the woman he's proposing to has to be given a ring that is far too expensive to afford, either the man or the woman (and possibly both) have some issues to work out. And if the man is doing this because he's a cheap bastard but doesn't want her to know that, then he's gutter slime and the marriage is most likely doomed.
posted by deadcowdan 31 October | 06:54
Yes, that's an astute on-point observation and summary: you found a little microcosm that encapsulates the bigger issues out there; both financial and human.

If you cannot be honest with the person you're planning on spending the rest of your life with, then what does that say about the realtionship?
posted by mightshould 31 October | 07:00
Heh. I remember the look on TheDonF's face when Specklet and I were telling him that he was expected to spend 3 months' salary on The Ring.

You got The Ring yet, girl? If not, why not?!!
posted by essexjan 31 October | 07:15
Hee! He's lucky I'm not a fan of supporting the diamond trade!

His parents gave us a lovely antique engagement ring: five (!) diamonds in a beautiful gold setting. It's quite blingy, more sparkle than I'm used to, but I must admit it's awful pretty and my little finger.

But it's not quite my style for everyday wear, and funnily enough, I was thinking about getting a nicely made fake diamond something.
posted by Specklet 31 October | 08:05
Gaspode had a great response to someone who was harping on her lack of a ring a while ago.
posted by brujita 31 October | 08:21
The one type of jewellery I rarely wear is rings. I have some lovely ones - but i have quite small hands that are very active so I find them a bit bothersome.

I do have an engagement ring with a small emerald though which i can almost wear everyday. For me it wasn't about the size of the rock but rather the thoughtfulness behind something that would suit me and be appropriate.
posted by gomichild 31 October | 08:41
I have a modest, simple, round diamond engagement ring. Not flashy and certainly not expensive.If I had known anything about diamonds waaaay back then, I would have asked for something different. But I really wanted a ring of some sort. I was much more insecure then and needed the reassurance that he was really, really serious about getting married. Serious enough to plan ahead and save up for months. It made it "real" to me.
posted by jrossi4r 31 October | 09:14
I only wear my rings when I'm shooting my latest music video.
posted by mullacc 31 October | 09:39
Since this is a "thoughts about rings" thread, I'll say that I went a few years without rings because I thought they made my fingers look fatter, but then I realized that skinny rings don't do that, only thick ones.

Now I have a couple of rings from this Etsy seller, and I really love them. One's malachite and one's green amber. I keep going back and wanting to buy more, but knowing I shouldn't.

Also good for rings are this seller and this seller. I've never bought from them but they have some cute things. I like really simple rings, obviously.
posted by loiseau 31 October | 10:56
When I was young and foolish I got engaged to a guy who gave me a ring with little filigree hearts on the band. *shakes head* Sweet guy, but I should've known the relationship was doomed right then. He wound up marrying a cheerleader. My other engagement ring was much more appropriate: he bought an emerald from a friend who dealt in gemstones and had it set into a silver ring from a farmer's market that was all he had when he originally proposed. Didn't marry him in the end, either, but still love the ring. (I did the obligatory offering to return it, but he was cool with me keeping it.)

Perfect image for our times, ej. I hope he's just in a hurry to get it done because he plans to propose tomorrow and that's a style she admired and this idea just occurred to him.
posted by elizard 31 October | 11:24
I literally have never worn a ring of any kind in my life, or at least not since I had a few costume-y things in my long-distant adolescence, but it might be fun to try some. Those Etsy links are great, loiseau; Etsy usually overwhelms me because there's so much stuff, and the quality is so variable, but you've singled out some really nice ones. I especially like this, and am very tempted to order one.
posted by kat allison 31 October | 11:25
Well in that case, here is another: link

I now feel naked if I go out without a ring on, although from time to time it will bug me, so I'll just take it off for a while. (Particularly at work.)
posted by loiseau 31 October | 12:11
... if it was presented to me as a real diamond and then I found out I'd been lied to, that's a whole different matter.
Yeah. Another aspect would be why would he want to marry someone who would expect a ring (apparently) well above the guy's capacity to pay? Doomed, I tells ya, doomed!
posted by dg 31 October | 16:45
I only wanted a diamond band when we got married. It's simple and comfortable and very, very pretty. Little diamonds all around set in white gold. I love looking at it. It was fun going together to the diamond district and picking out rings a couple weeks before we flew to Vegas for the wedding (wedding/meet-up, I should say). I have no desire for anything fancier.

Once, on the subway, I saw this nice looking young couple, rather yuppie looking, who seemed like they were "visitors" in our fair city. They were standing and chatting, and I was standing nearby, and I happened to notice (how could you not notice?) the HUGE diamond ring she was wearing. It was at least 2 carats, if not 3. In a very jewish-grandmotherly way, I leaned in and suggested she turn her ring around while she's out and about in the city. They thanked me kindly for my concern, but I could tell ignored my suggestion. Perhaps I'm too much of an alarmist. But I don't think I'd want to wear anything anyone would want to cut my finger off or shoot my husband to get.
posted by Pips 31 October | 17:05
Oh, greeeeeat. I wear simple silver rings all the time, and loiseau - you've just found fuel to fire this obsession. There goes the rest of the afternoon/evening.

Thanks, though. Those links are great.
posted by unsurprising 31 October | 18:58
Ditto the prospect of that marriage, on the other hand, an auntie once told me that engagements were made to be broken, so maybe he's just running it through the inevitable paces until it's a dead issue.

The ring that Mr. Frisbee bought me is a complete revelation to me. While I knew that we were very serious and heading toward marriage as it was an oft referred to, not too terribly distant 'when', we'd never gone ring shopping or come close to discussing the details. This summer he went back to England to see ailing family and when he came home, he presented me with a bag from Liberty of London.

I was petrified. I don't like diamonds. I would have been upset if had gotten something silly and expensive or ostentatious, but ages old training in etiquette dictates that one not be ungracious about a gift. Especially a gift of such magnitude.

When I opened the box, it was not at all what I expected, nor what I would have chosen, but it was [and is] utterly perfect. Simple white gold band, inset with amethysts and the perfect size. [My fingers are thin enough that I can wear children's rings, which can make sizing a bit of a challenge.] It was his attention to detail and his interpretation of me/my style that makes my ring the most beautiful gift of jewelry that I have ever received.

Diamonds aren't a gal's best friend in my book, but a loving partner who pays attention most certainly is.
posted by Frisbee Girl 31 October | 21:43
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