Happy Friday, y’all!
Here are some fun facts about engagement ring bling to take your mind off of this yo-yo stock market! But first, let’s have a little Budgets Are Sexy competition …
Do you think you could win one of these engagement ring categories if you’re stacked up against other Budgets readers? Keep in mind that the average engagement ring cost was $5k (WOAH) this year, and the old marketing adage is that you should spend two months’ salary on — what else? — the biggest diamond you can afford. (Feel free to share your opinion about either of those things in the comments …)
OK, on to the contest:
- Most Frugal Engagement Ring or Wedding Band: What’s the lowest price someone (either you or your partner) paid for an engagement ring? Must be greater than $0.01 — can’t be a gifted or stolen ring. If it’s homemade, what were the materials, costs, etc.?
- Most Expensive Engagement Ring / Wedding Ring: Don’t worry, no shaming here (and if you want to remain anonymous, that’s cool!). Shoot me the $ amount and a photo of that multiple-carat sucker! And I’m curious … does it get worn around everywhere, or does it mostly stay in a jewelry box? 🤩
- The *Oldest* Engagement Ring. Do you have a family heirloom? Did you score an antique gemstone from somewhere else? A diamond is forever, apparently … Is anyone rocking a diamond ring from the 19th century … or earlier?!
- Funniest Engagement Story: Did you screw up or embarrass yourself? And did your partner still say yes? (I would have asked for the *cheesiest* engagement story, but I might win that one by default with my “ring at the bottom of champagne glass” proposal 🤦♂️. Not my finest moment, but my wife said yes, which is all that matters!)
OK, you have four categories to enter. If you want to play, drop a comment in this blog post (or reply to this email). The winners will get a homemade gift from yours truly (it’s not made from cubic zirconia I promise!), plus some serious bragging rights. Announcements to be made soon — and I’ll share my sappy ring story then, too.
A few fun engagement ring facts I found while googling around …
- Elizabeth Taylor holds the world record for having the most expensive engagement ring … It sold for a whopping $8.8 million 10 years ago after she passed away. She used this same ring at two of her eight weddings. Yes, EIGHT weddings.
- In 2016, an Aussie billionaire gave Mariah Carey a custom engagement ring with an insanely huge center stone. The whole thing was apparently worth a cool $10 mil … But, they called off the wedding less than a year later, and the ring was sold to an LA jeweler for only $2.1 million.
- In 1951, Warren Buffett spent 6% of his net worth on an engagement ring for his bride. Of course, that 6% wasn’t a lot back then because he was only 21 and this was well before he made his massive fortune.
- But in 1993, Bill Gates flew to Omaha to visit his friend Warren. They went engagement ring shopping (Bill was planning to propose to Melinda at the time). While they were shopping, Warren tried to persuade Bill to also spend 6% of his net worth on a ring … but Bill declined because he was the richest man in the world at the time and 6% would have been about $370 million! (Would you spend 6% of your net worth on a ring?)
- Do you know why most people wear wedding rings on the fourth finger of their left hand (the “ring finger”)? Because that’s where ancient Egyptians believed the ‘vein of love’ was located, and that finger is directly connected to the heart 🤚→❤️. How romantic.
- Note to all you single folks out there: If you’re trying to pick someone up in Greece, Russia, Germany or India, be sure to check the person’s *right hand* for a ring, not the left. Because that’s where wedding rings are more commonly worn in those places. You don’t want to accidentally hit on someone who’s spoken for!
- Think you’re too old to get married? Think again. George and Doreen Kirby from the UK got hitched on George’s 103rd birthday. Doreen was 91 at the time. He proposed on Valentine’s Day and tells the story: “I didn’t get down on one knee, because I don’t think I would have been able to get back up!”
- Did you have a long engagement? Well, a poor woman named Adriana Martinez holds the world record for longest engagement. She was engaged to her man for 67 YEARS before they got married! Almost seven decades of cold feet :(
- The largest diamond ever found (on Earth) was in 1905 in South Africa. This thing was 3,106 carats and weighed 1.3 pounds! It was given to King Edward VII as a present for his 66th birthday. Some bday gift!
- In 2004, astronomers discovered a planet in the Milky Way they call “55 Cantri e.” It’s made mostly of dense carbon, and they believe it’s about 1/3rd pure diamond! That’s like a million gazillion carats.
And lastly ….
- Did you know that the singer Neil Diamond used to be called Neil Coal until the pressure got to him? 🤣 I know, it’s a lame dad joke … I just threw it in for those who miss J$ and his crappy jokes. Miss you, J!
Got a ring story to share? Frugal tips? Expensive mistakes? Think you can win one of our competition categories? Let’s hear it!
**July 1 update … here are the competition WINNERS!**
1) Most Frugal Engagement Ring or Wedding Band: TIE between Paula, Heather, Shannon & Yael. All rings less than $1!
Paula: “It was a Cracker Jack ring. I have a picture of it below. I don’t remember how much a pack of Cracker Jacks cost in 2008 but let’s say about $1. Our engagement was spontaneous, and I had no interest in an engagement ring, but then his mother complained that he didn’t give me a ring, so he handed me this one from a package we found in the car. It ended up being my one and only engagement ring. Needless to say I have only very rarely worn it. :-)
Heather: Most Frugal – hubby made me a ‘ring’ out of a clear plastic candy wrapper. The candy was free to us so all it cost was time. It fits perfect and it still sits on my dresser where I put it on occasionally for a laugh.
It was meant as a joke, but I’ll never throw it away. It will always warm my heart.
Shannon: My engagement ring was … a ring pop. So cost would have been less than $1? My husband and I have matching tungsten wedding bands that cost $20 each :)
Joel: Did you eat it?
Shannon: Of course! ;)
Yael: My husband and I decided on a homemade engagement ring made of styrofoam. Because they say diamonds are forever … but let’s be real: Styrofoam is really forever. It was made from things we already had: the core from a novelty styrofoam strawberry hat, and then I wrapped it in baker’s twine and coated it in resin.
2) Most Expensive Engagement Ring / Wedding Ring: Winner is “K.S.,” who paid a whopping $26k for his fiance’s ring!
“K.S.”… “Paid ~$26k. Appraisal value in 2018: ~$38k. Custom designed platinum 950 & 14k rose gold ring w/ 2.01 carat VS2 GIA-certified cushion diamond. Halo has (16) untreated VS pink (P5) diamonds from Argyle Mine in Australia. Total diamond weight of 3.83 carats. My original budget was under $20k but it was such a great stone & beautiful design I couldn’t resist. We were able to get the custom ring of my fiance’s dreams for well under retail!”
3) The *Oldest* Engagement Ring: Winner is Beth, a ring from ~1900!
Beth S. – “I was given the engagement ring that my mother wore when marrying my dad. The ring had been passed down from his grandmother to his mother before being given to him. I’m not sure if four generations of women wearing the same ring (with modifications for size and engraving) is the oldest, but I appreciate that we did not have to bend to convention or spend a lot as we were trying to pay the house off at the same time.”
4) Funniest Engagement Story: Cheryl’s “saga” made my day. Her story includes Vegas strippers, recycled diamonds, saying “no” when asked, lost rings, insurance claims, a divorce, pawn shops, and finally a happy marriage in the end! Wow.
“Well I didn’t find any of these events funny in the moment but I sure do now that time, children and life and death have taught me to mellow out.
I met my now ex-husband when I was 18 and he was 26! Once my parents got over that shock and got used to his tattoos and the fact that he played guitar in a heavy metal band, things were golden (pun intended).
He first asked me to marry him with a diamond (not even set in a ring) from the wedding ring of his short marriage to a Las Vegas stripper (duh) and was shocked I said no!
He then had the diamond made into a necklace for me which I also refused to wear to his dismay.
Finally realizing my worthiness of a beautiful custom made engagement ring set he dropped about 5k on a beautiful set.
Clever woman that I am I took the diamond from the necklace from the stripper debacle and had it cut into smaller stones and had it set into the wedding band I purchased for him.
I thought there was a lot of irony in that move- ha ha
We were married for about 5 years and having just moved back to our home state we were having an epic argument while driving back from the motor vehicle administration whereupon I had just found out that he sold his motorcycle when we lived in California without removing and returning the tags as Maryland requires and I reminded him to do several thousand times; thus resulting in the motor vehicle administration fining us $3k.
We were in the middle of this heated argument driving down the highway with the window open and I tend to be very animated and talk with my hands a habit he had previously found endearing when all of a sudden my ring flew off my finger and out the window due to my recent weight loss.
Hours upon hours we spent combing the side of the highway and the grass along side of it, even going so far as to purchase a metal detector, but no amount of tears or searching would recover the lost ring. Thank you insurance policy, I had a check in hand within days to replace the lost ring.
In what I thought was a romantic gesture my husband decided to design another one of a kind ring for me with the replacement insurance check.
Apparently he decided to try one last time to use the stone (now multiple stones, set in his wedding band).
About a month after losing my original engagement and wedding ring, my husband took me out for a fancy dinner and presented to me a new wedding ring set made with the stones from his short lived wedding to the Las Vegas stripper that I refused to wear and had set into his wedding band.
The ring was a pale shadow of a set compared to the original ring he had made for me and gone was his band I had made for him replaced with a plain gold band.
I couldn’t believe his nerve and was so angry I left the restaurant without him and when he returned later I angrily asked him what he did with the rest of the insurance money as it was very obvious he didn’t use it all on my new ring and he insisted that he spent the same amount of money on my new ring. That was his story and he was sticking to it as the saying goes.
Well his story unraveled when he came roaring up to our house only a few days later on a brand new motorcycle … guess where the down payment for the bike came from … yup the remainder of the insurance money.
Things only went downhill from there, he began working out of town a lot and I suspected and later found out for certain he was cheating on me.
We split and our divorce was long and complicated and expensive. I ran out of money about two years into the divorce proceedings and then late one night while sipping some wine w my girlfriend a thought occurred to me.
The next day I went to the jeweler where he had my first and the infamous second rings made. Fortunately we had become very friendly over the course of our marriage and ring making process.
They offered to buy back the second ring from me for a handsome price, honestly I think they felt sorry for me.
I used that money from his wedding ring from his marriage to the stripper, the refuted proposal to me, the necklace I never wore and the band I had made, and my second wedding ring set to fund the remainder of the divorce proceedings!!!
The irony there is just too delicious.
We finalized the divorce a few months later and didn’t speak for a few years as we had no children only property together which was divided in our divorce settlement.
About 3 and a half years after our divorce was final a mutual friend texted me a link to an engagement photo in the local paper.
Right there smiling and holding her hand outstretched wearing my second engagement ring was my ex-husband’s new bride to be.
I guess it could have made me mad but instead I just roared with laughter.
I couldn’t help myself but to text him my congratulations and he asked me if I noticed the ring and I said yes of course and then he said that he laughed when he went to the jeweler to have a ring made for his new fiance only to find my second ring in the jeweler’s case.
We laughed a bit and thus ended the whole ordeal of that damn stone. They are still married ironically I was not invited to the wedding – ha ha.”
Thank you to everyone who entered and shared stories! You are all winners in my opinion :)
*Pic up top by Claudia!
Joel is a 35 y/o Aussie living in Los Angeles and the guy behind 5amjoel.com. He loves waking up early, finding ways to be more efficient with time and money, and sharing what he learns with others. Rise Early | Retire Early!