If you ended up here, chances are you’ve just been proposed to or you came across the ring by accident, or maybe you were handed down a family heirloom engagement ring that’s just totally not your style.
So what comes next?
First off, I’d advise you NOT to go public a la A Woman Ring-Shamed Herself After Finding An Engagement Ring in Her Boyfriend’s Nightstand. But this viral article does bring up a very polarizing situation; prompting collective internet rage and fun labels like “spoiled” and “ungrateful.”
I’d like to believe that the conversation between the group of women that work in our engagement ring design studio was much more nuanced:
Why should she settle if she doesn’t like it?
Why aren’t more women involved in the ring buying process?
The ring wasn’t even bad!
As a custom engagement ring design studio, this is something that all of us have strong feelings on, and lots of experience with. All of our rings are made from scratch, sometimes without the woman half of the couple involved, and safeguarding against a design that’s off-the-mark is an art and a science. If you find yourself with an engagement ring that you hate, here are things you should consider and what you can do.
Should you tell your fiancé you don’t like the ring?
This is a judgement call. Will it crush them? Maybe. But, you’re going to be wearing your engagement ring every day, forever. And as soon as you get engaged, through your engagement party, bridal shower and wedding day, a lot of people will ask to see it. This is not a poorly chosen birthday gift that you can hide in your closet. This is not something you can lie and say you only want to wear “on special occasions.”
Can you deal with having to show it to people, including people who know you well and can read you, and hiding your feelings?
Do you even want to hide your feelings from your partner? Or is it more important to you to spare their feelings?
Will this eventually come out after a few drinks? Or in a heated moment? Is it better to do it with a clear head in a calm moment?
If you choose to go ahead and tell your partner, you should be armed with a few solutions to the problem, here are your options…
See if You Can Return It
This will vary greatly from jeweler to jeweler. We don’t do any returns because all of our engagement rings are one-of-a-kind, made just for you. Some big box jewelry chains may be more lenient; if it’s a mass-produced ring they can probably resell it. If it’s from a local jewelry store, you may be able to score some face-to-face time (or at least a phone call with a real person) who may be sympathetic to the situation.
If You Can’t Return It…
Realize and appreciate that your partner likely spent a lot of time, energy, money, and stress picking out the ring, and now it feels like it was all for nothing. Create space for uncomfortable feelings. See if you can learn to love it.
See If there is anything you like about it
More importantly, what don’t you like about it and can it be changed? Not many people know that you can repurpose engagement rings into new designs. Some examples and solutions:
If it’s a family heirloom that looks dated, you can preserve the sentimentality and the stone(s) and use them in a new design. We do it often and we do it well.
If you wanted a princess cut diamond and it’s a round cut, or it’s an oval and you wanted a round, etc., you’re in luck. The most expensive part of an engagement ring is always going to be the center stone, especially if it’s a diamond or rare gemstone. Unless you want to start from scratch with a new ring (with a new price tag), it’s most cost effective to reuse your stones and it’s fairly easy to trick the eye into seeing the desired shape through changing up the ring’s head and where the prongs are placed.
Diamond cuts can visually transform into sharper, square shapes with four pronged heads and to geometric hexagons with the right setting and intentionally designed halo.
What if you just wanted a bigger diamond?
Get in line. It’s common for women to want to “upgrade” their rings for special anniversaries (read: get a bigger rock than their younger selves could afford). If you can wait a decade or more (we have on occasion seen upgrades at the 5 year mark), then it’s totally within the realm of normal behavior to suggest this in the future. An upgrade can be totally new ring, or there’s the tried-and-true design hack of adding a halo to create the illusion of a bigger center stone.
And if you really just can’t get past it…
How do you feel about offering to pay for a new engagement ring, one that you pick out yourself? What about one that you pick out together? Or, like our clients, you could design a ring together that you both get a say on. Maybe you can resell the ring to go towards the cost of the new one. Maybe you agree to save up and split the cost in a year or two. No matter which route you go from here, be easy on yourself and your partner.
REMINDER: You are not a bad person.
Some people may think that it’s “ungrateful” to not like your engagement ring and some people may be morons. Throughout history people have proposed with some pretty weird shit and it has been well-documented. Lots of people have proposed with okay rings but they’re simply not what the other person had it mind. There’s countless Reddit threads, Facebook groups, and think pieces about this. Read these if it will help. Remember that you’re not alone.
Trust me when I say that everyone’s idea of what an engagement ring should look like is totally different–I see this in the studio every single day. Certain women would be appalled to be proposed to with anything but a diamond, and others would be horrified by the very same ring. Some women value, well, “value” and want the absolute biggest rock that they can afford. Other women want a small subtle stone, and still others don’t even want a center stone at all and would rather have a simple metal band. Seriously, take a journey through our custom engagement rings. Every single one was made exactly to one client’s singular vision.
Life hack: an engagement ring looks like whatever you want it to. It does not have to be marketed as one. (Same goes for wedding dresses, FYI).
What If The Ring Hasn’t Been Bought Yet?
Okay, so what if your partner hasn’t bought the bad engagement ring yet? What if you just saw their browsing history, or maybe your future in-laws have hinted at passing down a ring that you’re not into?
One: appreciate how lucky you are. Two: speak up, now. Three: offer solutions.
It’s very common for couples to look at engagement rings together and to shop together and (in this studio) design them together. Get over that stigma that it has to be a complete surprise. Complete surprises are what get people into this mess, but it’s what social media, movies, magazines and history likes to romanticize. Lots of women have a say in their ring, to varying extents, but it’s still taboo to talk about it. Here, some women want a bit of surprise so they’ll send their partner in with images of rings they like. There’s a lot of wiggle room when it comes to involvement. We’ve even gone so far as creating a temporary engagement ring package so that you can get the surprise proposal (yay!) but then you both (or just you) can come in to design the actual ring.
Some closing thoughts on not liking your engagement ring….
It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s normal to then feel weird and question if you’re being materialistic. You might even wonder what it means about your relationship. Does (s)he even know me? Most people are not mind readers. We’re all just trying to do our best. Do not throw out the relationship with the wrong ring. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to discuss options for your current or future ring!