Is This Petty? Sorry, But I Don’t Want A Hand-Me-Down Engagement Ring

January 6, 2017  |  


In a 2014 New York Times article titled, “‘With Grandma’s Ring, I Thee Wed,'” it was noted that along with a concern about saving money, worries about the possibility of buying a so-called “blood diamond” have pushed some young men (and women) away from buying the traditional engagement ring. Instead, there has been an uptick in the number of people who are proposing to their loved ones with rings that are considered heirlooms in their family.

For instance, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton using the gorgeous 18-carat sapphire ring that once belonged to his mother, Princess Diana, of Wales.

And just recently, Condola Rashad’s fiancée Sebastian Vallentin Stenhøj proposed to the actress with his grandmother’s ring, which is half a century old.

I thought the idea was beautiful, and just because the ring is vintage doesn’t mean it looks dated:

But when I told my husband about the proposal and the heirloom ring, he didn’t seem impressed.

“He gave her his grandmother’s ring?” he asked. “He didn’t want to get her a new ring of her own?”

Clearly he missed the whole save-money-meets-folks-don’t-want-to-buy-conflict-diamonds conversation that spurred this movement of sorts. However, when I told a friend about my husband’s comments on the ring, she seemed to agree with him.

“That wouldn’t bother you?” she asked. “I don’t know. I feel like I would need to know his grandmother and really like her for me to be excited about accepting a hand-me-down ring. There needs to be a connection.”

And aside from a connection, there’s also a concern about a vintage ring that was probably the trend decades ago appealing to modern-day women. A woman on Wedding Bee felt horrible because the ring her boyfriend proposed to her with, which she thought was a “lovely gesture,” is a bit too chunky for her taste. Not only that, but the two small diamonds on the ring, which were likely replaced at some point over the years, don’t match. She doesn’t enjoy wearing the ring because of all that. She was wondering if she should tell him that she doesn’t want it as an engagement ring or if she should just keep quiet and be thankful.

And another thing: While the fiscally responsible are all for an heirloom ring, some women feel that doling out dough on a ring (a paycheck or two) shows that a man is really serious about you.

“I think a guy should pay for an engagement ring,” said another woman on Wedding Bee who was figuring out whether or not she wanted her own grandmother’s ring, which her parents offered to her boyfriend to give to her. “It’s a sign that he’s serious about you enough to spend thousands on you. When my sister got engaged with our other grandmother’s ring, I hemmed and hawed that he didn’t cough up his own money to buy her a new ring. Turns out, my sister is just sentimental, not cheap.” The woman would go on to note that the ring does come from her favorite grandmother who is no longer living, so she does have a special attachment to it. Still, she’s torn.

As for me, I get each side of the argument. I get how sentimental an heirloom ring can be, and I know that even if you aren’t head over heels in love with it, you can always go a bit flashy with the wedding band. I also get that engagement rings are something new, though inspired by something old.  Therefore, you don’t have to do what everybody does when it comes to proposing, and we’re not really entitled to such accouterments. It’s the thought that counts, right?

But who am I kidding? This is 2017, and with social media being used as a platform for an official announcement, everyone thinks engagement rings mean automatic bling (and good bling at that). So does an heirloom, or yes, hand-me-down ring, work for every woman? Definitely not. But it worked for Kate, it was more than okay for Condola, and it’s perfect for plenty of women out there who care more about what the ring represents than where it came from and how much it cost. If that doesn’t work for you, that’s just fine as well. Good luck telling your spouse, though…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it petty to not want to be given an heirloom ring as your engagement ring from your significant other? 


Image via Shutterstock 

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