Yup. I am now an engaged woman. The whole engagement thing was totally perfect. My boyfriend, now fiance (except I hate that word ... can I call him my pre-husband?) surprised me totally and completely, which is hard to do, especially when we had been out ring shopping the week before. Suffice it to say, we are both pretty darn happy.
I've always had mixed feelings about the whole engagement thing. Back when I was single and the whole engagement thing was completely theoretical, I wrote this post about the ring dilemma. The post was one of my most popular posts ever, and the comments are still some of my favorite on this blog. Everyone seemed to do something different, and yet everything that people did, traditional or no, was so lovely and special.
Still, when it came time for me to get engaged, I had misgivings. After all, I spent a year as a non-consumer and an engagement ring seemed, in many ways, to be a wasteful extravagance. I love rings. I love jewelry. I adore other people's engagement rings. And yes, I'm going to be honest, I secretly DID want one myself. However, I also do like to live by my principles and sometimes that means saying no to yourself especially in our consumer-driven culture.
My pre-husband, on the other hand, felt pretty strongly about it. And what he felt was that he wanted to get me a ring. After some half-hearted negotiation (Are you sure you don't want to get me an engagement mattress? What about an engagement trip to Detroit for Thanksgiving?) I agreed to the ring. And so I set about finding a ring that I would love and that would also fit in with my principles.
There are an increasing number of options available in the "green engagement ring" category and it took a while for me to sort through my options and figure out what was right for me.
Conflict free diamonds (such as the Canadian diamonds offered at Brilliant Earth) are a nice option for those wanting to avoid blood diamonds (and come on, who really wants a blood diamond, no matter how beautiful it is?) But, even conflict-free diamonds do have to be mined, and any mining process is going to have some environmental impact.
I flirted with synthetic diamonds for a while too. But once again, synthetic diamonds have some impact, even if it's less than that of a mined diamond.
In the end, the choice I made for myself made the most sense given my history. I chose a used diamond ring ... or in fancy terms "vintage." The ring is estimated to be from the 1940s, and although I don't really know the history, I can make it up. Maybe my ring belonged to the bride of a World War II vet. Maybe they wrote impossibly beautiful letters to each other during the war. Maybe their letters were totally boring: "Dear Barbara: France is hot. Love Ralph." Maybe Barbara worked in the war factories. Maybe Ralph almost died. Maybe they had a long and beautiful fifty plus years of marriage. I don't really know, but I like the idea that my ring has a story to tell if only I could hear it speak. Point being, I love my ring. Also, it's super shiny! I'm getting a little distracted right now looking at it.
The past couple weeks have been total engagement bliss. We've been lucky enough to get to celebrate with many of our friends and family members over the past few weeks, and it's served as a reminder that we're not just marrying each other, we are marrying each other's communities. And I have to say, I think we both lucked out in that we are both marrying amazing communities of people. I feel completely confident that I am READY for marriage.
A wedding, on the other hand, is a total different ball game. But that's the subject of another post.