Written by Renata Haggerty / July 8, 2017
One day when my daughter is all grown up, she will ask me about my engagement ring. About the diamond. About my wedding band set.
And I will show her pictures of them. Because I sold them. Then I’ll tell her to watch Blood Diamond.
I know, gasp! How can a woman sell the ring that her sweet, amazing husband purposed marriage to her with? Actually, it was mostly my husband’s idea.
I toyed with the idea of selling my engagement ring after I had my first baby. I never wore it. It sat in a satin baggy unworn. I actually only put it on when I went to work or if we had special events. Then I realized, wait, why am I only putting it on when other people will see it? What is that doing to my ego? How self-centered am I?
I didn’t wear it after I had my daughter because it was near impossible to not scratch her when I would change her diapers. Her new baby skin was more precious to me than a one carat engagement ring. It was a beauty. But my daughter is worth more. And so is my son. After having two children, 3 years later, I am still not wearing that ring. And I don’t miss wearing it.
Back in Jersey, being surrounded by the affluence, I felt smug wearing it. I felt like I was part of the club. Keep in mind, I was the loser girl throughout grammar school, throughout high school and even as an adult, I never fit in. I was always the odd lady out. Working in a profession where the majority of the employees are female, I felt that I would fit in if I had the coveted engagement ring that every single gal wants so desperately to show off. I had one. I wore it as a status symbol.
I didn’t wear it thinking about my soon to be husband going to the store and painstakingly picking it out, agonizing over the details of how it would look on my finger. I didn’t wear it thinking about how it was a symbol of our love and future marriage.
I wore it thinking about the amount of money my husband had spent on it that could have gone towards a house, a car or our savings.
You see, I’m simple. I know that now, I didn’t know that then. I thought I wanted glitz and glam. Our wedding was tasteful glitz and glam. If we could go back, we would stash all our money away and elope. I would tell him to skip the diamond and just pick out simple matching wedding bands. Plain. Nothing shiny and sparkly.
My parents, who were born and raised in Transylvania (Romania), weren’t raised with the tradition of diamond engagement rings. Instead, the in-love couple would wear wedding bands as proof of their engagement. And on the wedding day, the future husband gifts his new bride with a jewelry set, a necklace, a pair of earrings and a ring. There’s no going to the store to pick out diamonds and checking for clarity, color and cut. It’s simple.
I wish we had done that. I wish we had been more thoughtful and wiser about that process.
I knew the ring had to go. It had been unworn for 3 years and not once did I feel a longing for it.
So, we headed to the store where we purchased my wedding band to sell it back to them along with the engagement ring that Brian bought at a different store.
“Hi, we’re here to pick out a wedding band… something simple.”
“Okay, let me show you our wedding bands.” (Leading us to the diamond bands case)
“No, we don’t want diamonds. We want a plain, simple band.”
“Okay, so you want a gold band. Here’s what we have in gold.”
“No, I don’t want gold. I want something inexpensive to match my husband’s ring, which is cobalt.”
“You don’t want gold?”
“No. No gold. Do you have anything thinner similar to these (pointing to some men’s cobalt rings)?”
“Hmmm… let me check the catalogue. But you’re sure you don’t want gold?”
“Yes, I am sure. We would like something less expensive.”
The woman clerk was confused. At this point, she must have noticed the rings on my finger.
“Wait, you’re married already?”
“Yes. Four years now with two kids.”
The lady just stared at us like we were nuts. It was quite comical, but also frustrating, since we left our napping kids with my parents and wanted to get back in time.
I softened my heart a bit and said to her, “I’m guessing it’s strange to see a couple coming in to ‘downsize’ their diamond rings? It’s just that I never wear it anymore since having my kids. So, we’re here to sell the rings and just buy an inexpensive wedding band.”
This is where she was finally able to relate with me. I had noticed that she didn’t have a wedding band or a diamond engagement ring on either. She said, “Oh, you remind me of myself. After I had my daughter, I never wore my ring either because I kept scratching her during diaper changes.” Ding ding ding! There’s the connection.
She and I bantered back and forth about having kids and she told me I look great for having two kids. I told her we cut out grains, hence the weight loss. She told me we’re crazy and asked, “You don’t even eat pizza?” “Nope, it’s not that good in upstate New York anyways.” I miss Jersey pizza. Rudy’s, oh, how I miss you.
At the end of this long fiasco, I ended up ordering a 10K white gold plain wedding band. It was actually cheaper than the metal rings. $168.33. Let’s not even discuss how much my engagement ring and wedding band cost originally! (almost $10,000 total!) Insanity… Ten percent of the money we got from the rings, we gave back to God. The rest went into our savings.
Daughter, I love you. If you love sparkly things, wrap some tin foil around your finger and call it a day. Just kidding. I love you. Be wise and thoughtful with your finances. Consider where you would rather spend that money. Maybe you and your husband want to spend your first year traveling together. Take the $10,000 you could easily spend on wedding rings and go make beautiful memories together.