Engagement Rings 💍 A Contest + Fun Facts

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? Anyone out there tried to sell an engagement ring online? 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. :-)

Paula's frugal engagement ring is clear plastic with three colored stripes


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!”

that's a really big center stone in that ring

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.

Cheryl’s saga:

“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!

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Matt June 12, 2020 at 6:56 AM

    Fun little post – one additional country to add to your list of places where the right hand has the ring is Poland.

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:00 PM

      Good to know! Odsuń się, jestem zaręczona! ;)

  2. Corinne June 12, 2020 at 7:08 AM

    I am sure there are cheaper but when my now husband and I went to look for rings for me we looked at the “right hand” ring section which was being promoted a lot around 8 yrs ago when we got engaged. I found the perfect ring for Around $500. It’s lots of tiny diamonds and because it’s both not a single diamond and it’s not labeled as an engagement ring it was cheaper.

    We didn’t buy it that day, husband ended up surprising me with it in side a travel coffee mug which is the only thing I asked for for my birthday.

    1. Lisa O June 12, 2020 at 9:06 AM

      I did the same thing 17 years ago! Still love the ring and no one ever really knew.

    2. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:04 PM

      That’s awesome, what a cool surprise. I proposed on my wife’s birthday also :)

      Yeah it’s funny that anything related to or labelled “wedding” instantly means 2 x the cost. It’s amazing the deals you can find just by looking in the regular section! Great tip!

  3. Jessica June 12, 2020 at 7:46 AM

    My husband lost his original ring at the bottom of a river less than two years after we said “I do.” It was handmade using jewelry given to us by family. Since then, he’s been wearing a $20 silver band we picked up at a street vendor. A possible contender for cheapest ring?

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:21 PM

      Bugger! Losing handmade stuff sucks. A buddy of mine bought 2-3 wedding bands on Amazon for like $25 each. I think he lost 2 already and is down to the last one!

  4. Andrea June 12, 2020 at 7:46 AM

    Got engaged back in the stone ages (1980s), pre-computer days – haha! Hubby worked at an antique gallery at the time (no, not a story about an old ring!). We spent several weekends LITERALLY taking all of their receipts out of shoe boxes, sorting them into business categories, and entering the amounts onto (paper) spreadsheets, using – gasp – pencils! In return, we were able to go to “a guy” to buy loose diamonds, and then took those to another “guy” who custom made our rings. So our rings basically cost us several weekends of work. Talk about 2 cheap-o’s from way back! A match made in heaven – haha!

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:23 PM

      Being cheap together is really romantic I think! That’s a cool idea though… Pay for your stuff in time vs money :)

  5. Nora June 12, 2020 at 7:51 AM

    Great joke!

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:24 PM

      What is Forrest Gump’s password?… 1forrest1

  6. Christine June 12, 2020 at 8:21 AM

    My story is that I had no idea where my ring came from. I assumed it was second-hand, both because it looked vintage and because my husband didn’t have the cash flow. I loved it and felt it really suited me. We got married 2 years ago and just recently he told me that his mother had given it to him. It had belonged to her aunt who raised her. He didn’t want to tell me because he was ashamed he couldn’t save up the money to buy a new one. I admit, it ticked me off—mainly because he didn’t tell me sooner and tried to pass it off as if he did pick it out and buy it. I got over it. :-)

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:36 PM

      Haha! Most people pay extra for “vintage” stuff.. He should be proud that he didn’t have to!

  7. Michelle June 12, 2020 at 8:33 AM

    My huband proposal was goofed up by his sweet little niece who was 8 at the time. I found out later he had her with while picking out the ring and when he went back to pick it up after it was sized. She was an observent little cherub and had heard the whole plan and it was going to be Christmas. She started Christmas day by taking picture after picture of my hand. She pretended to put ring on my hand a few times. She put a towel over her head like a veil singing here comes the bride at the top of her little lungs and then would run up and hug me. My husband decided he better just propose instead of waiting until the end of the day as planned. The whole family was in stitches at her antics.

    The cheapest ring was when I was a kid and a couple got married at the mission my parents ran. I was about 10 and mom took myself and them to the store . We were at Woolworths. They took me to a rack of hoop earings and let me pick them out. The young couple took 2 hoop earrings and smashed them down for rings. At 10 I thought their wedding was the most romantic thing ever. I still do.Ive never forgot any detail of it and how happy they were They ended up employed on the staff of the mission for many years.

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:42 PM

      Awwww. Frugal, and very romantic. Such a cool lesson to learn as a kid that it’s not about the cost of the rings (or wedding), it’s about the marriage.

      That’s funny about your niece ruining the surprise. Now you need to wait until she grows up and get’s proposed to and drop some hints yourself!

  8. Lisa June 12, 2020 at 9:48 AM

    No oddest ring competition? Or is this the cheapest? Not sure, you decide.
    The diamond in my ring is from my husband’s ex-wife’s engagement ring. They were engaged for two years but only lasted three months after the I do’s : p After she ran up a lot of bills, the divorce decree stated he got the bills, the house and the engagement ring. He had the stone reset after making sure it wouldn’t bother me, and 35 years later, it still sits on my hand. BTW, we lived in the house for 30 of those years, and the fact that I would do both of those things, wear her diamond and live in “her” house bothered others, but never me. It’s her lose

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:47 PM

      Awesome! Love your attitude about it all. I can see how most people would feel weird, but you are the winner in the end so it doesn’t matter! Great story!

  9. Britt June 12, 2020 at 10:19 AM

    My ring is from the 1930s! It was my husband’s great-grandmother’s. When she passed away, her daughter replaced the center diamond with an emerald and wore it as a ring, and then passed it on to her daughter (my MIL) who wore it for a while. My husband purchased a new diamond and had it re-set. I love the mix of family history and our own personal twist to it.

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:49 PM

      How beautiful. Almost 100 years of history, with each generation adopting a story, and also passing on a story their own. Who get’s it next?

  10. stephanie t June 12, 2020 at 10:42 AM

    I don’t have an awesome engagement ring story but WOW! Y’all do! Have fun choosing your winner(s) Joel.
    Awesome dad joke. J$ and his dad jokes always gave me a good laugh so I’m very happy to see you continue on…

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 12:53 PM

      Lately, the urge to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is always just a whim away…

      …a whim away, a whim away, a whim away, a whim away…

  11. mj June 12, 2020 at 11:29 AM

    To be frank, I am a woman and find engagement rings a sexist remnant of Western history hiding behind Tradition or Culture. It indicates to the public that a woman is spoken for, as if she can’t speak for herself. Or it’s a price on a woman’s commitment and loyalty. I think it’s a tradition that needs to go away (unless I can put a collar on my man in exchange). Wedding bands are fine though, since both partners wear one! I’m interested in outcome of your competition.

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 1:00 PM

      Interesting thoughts! I started wearing my wedding band months before my wife and I even got married. For me it felt like a man engagement ring, both to tell people I had found the love of my life, and something to always look at and feel connected to her before we tied the knot. I wish more men wore engagement rings – it’s a really fun phase in life!

      1. mj June 15, 2020 at 6:18 PM

        This is an awesome way to look at wedding bands. Maybe we should rethink the way use them. Maybe we should exchange them at engagement, since this is the real start to the commitment.

  12. Hannah June 12, 2020 at 11:32 AM

    My diamond is from my husband’s grandmother’s ring (1920s), I guess she was an early adopter of the diamond trend (or her husband was).

    My husband got the whole ring from his parents, and was thinking of proposing the day he got it. Unfortunately, the ring was so worn down that a small part just fell off when they picked it up. He designed a new setting, and proposed a few weeks later after a jeweler made it.

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 1:05 PM

      Can definitely relate to wanting to pop the question as soon as he got the ring. It burns a hole in your pocket! And it’s hard to keep an awesome secret like that from your partner… Especially a 100 year old secret. Nice one!

  13. Shannon June 12, 2020 at 11:38 AM

    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 :)

    1. Joel June 12, 2020 at 1:06 PM

      Love it! Did you eat it?

      1. Shannon June 12, 2020 at 1:09 PM

        Of course! :)

  14. Mike June 12, 2020 at 1:57 PM

    My wedding ring is gold and came from Bulgaria via my wife’s family. After I had been wearing it a few months I learned that the gold came from my mother-in-law’s gold teeth (they had been removed years earlier). I was surprised and happy to have a story behind the ring – but then I asked where they got the gold for her teeth originally? Apparently that came from her grandmother, who had gold coins years ago. After I die I am hoping the gold gets recycled again somewhere else on earth.

    1. Joel O'Leary June 12, 2020 at 5:50 PM

      Haha awesome! Maybe it’ll go back into someone’s teeth one day. Like a grill

  15. Tracy June 12, 2020 at 3:04 PM

    Hey, Joel, I promised to tell my proposal story, so here goes … My now-husband and I had been ring shopping together but I didn’t know that he picked up his purchase on his way to an endurance race in the mountains about two hours from our home. He carried the ring with him the whole 100 miles, knowing that I’d be at the finish line, where he planned to propose. It was in the dead of night and nobody else was really around at the finish line … RIGHT until he’d asked and I’d accepted and he pulled a bright-blue Tiffany box out of his hydration pack (wrapped in a nasty, reused Ziplock bag for protection) … and then a race official totally interrupted us with the news that a runner might be lost on the course and wondering when my husband had last seen him. I ended up opening the ring box by myself hours later when my husband was finally taking a shower. I remember yelling into the bathroom, “can I just open it?!”

    Since the trend in the comments has been about cheap rings (bravo, everybody!), I’ll offer the other side and admit that my ring was about $8k. I *really* didn’t want a diamond but it was important to my husband (so much societal pressure!). I’m not a jewelry person or into materialism AND I’m a proud feminist … so I *shouldn’t* like the ring as much as I do, but it does feel nice to look at it and feel pampered. Since I’m also a runner and now we have a little kid, I don’t wear my engagement ring often, though it’s special when I do. My no-frills wedding band is my daily driver. :)

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 10:55 AM

      Hahaha great story! It’s the thought behind it that counts, not the filthy plastic baggy or the horrible timing :) Gives you something to laugh about later in life!

      I also don’t have expensive tastes. But, it’s nice when people spend money on you and show you affection in a way that’s meaningful to them. I’m glad you like the ring and recognize the beauty, not the societal crap!

      Cheers for sharing, Tracy!

  16. J June 12, 2020 at 5:21 PM

    I laughed way too loudly at that Neil Diamond joke! I bought my husband’s ring sort of on a whim for under $30. It was sterling silver and had a beautiful Celtic pattern with runes on it (hard to find something like that at a Kay’s/Jareds/etc). I proposed to him that day while my best friend corralled all of our other friends away. I was dressed as a fairy at the time, and my wing situation was not working out real well. I figured the sillier I looked the more likely he would take pity on me and say yes. I did end up replacing that ring many years later with a white gold ring that had a Celtic pattern on it during our wedding. We both loved the ring, but sterling silver isn’t made to last, and I was starting to feel like a cheap b** (I was only 18 and poor when I bought it). It took him a much longer time to convince me to be ok with him buying me an engagement ring. Buying a house and getting established was more of my concern since we were both in college and then starting our careers, and they practically rape men who are shopping for those rings (and honestly most of the rings look the same). I told him I’d be upset if he spent more that $1000 on it, because it was us that mattered and not a ring. I didn’t realize at the time how much he would be ignored or sneered at for that kind of budget in many jewelry stores. He ended up buying a diamond and having it attached to a white gold, Celtic patterned band that I still absolutely adore to this day, and it was under that amount. It also reaffirmed my choice. He restrained himself to my budgetary wishes and STILL managed to find a ring that was unique and beautiful enough that I still stare at it after all these years. Any guy can through a large loan at ring! lol I have had many of my younger coworkers show me their $5k and even $20K (yellow diamond and massive) rings, and I still like mine better. The only thing I wish I had known back then was about a stone called moissanite that looks like a diamond but doesn’t cost nearly as much (and doesn’t fund any dubious activities with its extraction). I would have had a conversation with him about it, because there is no way most guys are going to be comfortable bringing something like that up to their fiancé for fear of looking like a jerk.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 10:29 AM

      Wow I didn’t know about moissanite stones. And I only recently learned about lab diamonds. It’s cool to see people getting more creative and hopefully nobody looks like a jerk if they are putting a lot of thought and effort into the decision.

      That’s funny how you were dressed when you proposed! :) Looking silly definitely wins you pity points and increases the chance of a Yes. Nicely done.

  17. J. Money June 12, 2020 at 5:28 PM

    I went to propose to my wife on Xmas eve and as I got into it I realized I didn’t have the ring on me! I didn’t know how to say “I’ll be right back” so I could go grab it, so instead I said “My stomach hurts!” and ran towards the bathroom near where I had put it, lol…

    I came back and she said YES, but def didn’t win any smooth points that day ;)

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 10:23 AM

      HAHAHA! Not smooth at all! But it’s awkward moments like this that actually turn out to the best and most memorable ones :)

  18. Elizabeth June 12, 2020 at 7:28 PM

    In 1992 my boyfriend proposed with no ring at all!! A week later he bought the $99 special at a mom and pop jewelry store and presented it to me. It was 1/16th carat solitaire and I proudly showed it to everyone (they were definitely underwhelmed)! I got bored with it down the line and bought myself a series of “fake” rings that all cost under $100; several of them were lost in bathroom drains. Finally I realized I don’t like engagement rings or wedding rings for that matter. The tradition seems silly, expensive, and a used ring is worth about 1/10 of what you pay for it on the secondary market.

    On a side note, a girl I had worked with received an amazing marriage proposal: Her boyfriend proposed with the deed to a brand new house he and his buddy had built! Now that is way better than a silly ring . . .

    1. Joel June 13, 2020 at 10:41 AM

      Dude! I’d way rather a house than a ring! Actually I’ve heard of many couples these days giving up the wedding/rings/dresses/parties and just saving all that cash for a downpayment on a house (or another investment for their future). Financial security is one of the love languages, right? :)

  19. Northern Shelly June 12, 2020 at 8:49 PM

    After we got married I got a ring made. My M-I-L gave me her grandmothers wedding ring. Took it to the jeweller and we designed it to fit into the engagement ring (original band designed by the hubby). Anyway I left the jeweller only to get home to him phoning me and asking for “the story before he took apart this old ring”. Turns out the diamonds were hand cut and that has not been done since 1918. and the it was cut upside down. So it could not go into clasps, not that I wanted that. instead it is bevelled into the ring. Now I have an original engagement and wedding ring with multiple diamonds and two colours of gold. it is very unique and lots of people comment on it. And it did not cost much because the diamonds were all free and I hand modelled the end product for advertisement of the jeweller . Win-Win.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 10:19 AM

      So cool! Must have been a fun little surprise for the jeweler to find out, and pretty interesting that diamonds were cut differently back then. Great win-win!!

  20. FullTimeFinance June 12, 2020 at 9:23 PM

    My wife engagement ring was my great grand mother’s ring which is from somewhere in the late teens. My own wedding ring is her grandfathers from the late 20s.

    I proposed the night before the orange bowl while visiting Miami. I had intended to take my wife out for a nice dinner and propose but our flight was way delayed. By the time we got to the hotel the only thing open was McDonald’s. So I took a walk in the courtyard of the hotel and found an ok looking spot near a statue of a girl and a boy. And I did it anyway.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 10:12 AM

      2 heirloom rings! That’s so cool. McDonald’s and a proposal… It’s actually kind of romantic when plans get screwed up. You can’t let it ruin what you came there to do!

  21. steveark June 13, 2020 at 8:28 PM

    Aww, I can’t enter. When my wife and I got engaged 43 years ago she didn’t want an engagement ring. We both just got plain gold wedding bands when we married. They cost $31 each. But they worked, still married happily for 42 plus years and counting. She can afford anything now but has remained frugal anyway. Also I don’t wear my wedding band anymore. I watched in horror as a friend of mine lost his entire finger in a fishing accident last year because he hung the ring on a boat dock accidentally. He nearly drowned and spent three days in the hospital. It was unspeakably gruesome and I took the ring off and only wear a silicone tear away ring now.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 10:07 AM

      OMG that’s horrible. Hearing this makes me want to take mine off too!

      Congrats on 42 years!! The marriage is way more important than the ‘stuff’. That’s what it’s all about :)


  22. Papa Foxtrot June 14, 2020 at 12:11 AM

    So, I proposed to my wife at the Pittsburgh Christmas festival. Her mother knew someone who was part of security at one of the buildings who would have the video. The video was not recorded due to some problems. It became an issue that a national security became involved in. Now I can tell my future children that the lack of mine and their mother’s engagement video indirectly became an issue of national security. (I do not know the details, pretty much, I will never be in the know).

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 9:34 AM

      Haha! Tell them that the tape is sitting in a vault somewhere and only people with top level security clearance gets to see it.
      Maybe you could also re-create the event for your 20 year anniversary. Just make the video works this time!

  23. Lisa Y June 14, 2020 at 2:08 PM

    My mother was cleaning out her jewelry box and decided to hand down some of her rings to her daughters. Word has it that Mom’s jewelry was payment for a loan she gave to her sister and her sister had gotten this jewelry from an estate sale. I had received a simple band with several diamonds in it. Years later, when I got married, I told my fiance’ he could take the diamonds from it and put them in my wedding band. He did that and the cost was probably a couple hundred. It’s kind of like a heirloom wedding band on a budget.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 9:29 AM

      Frugal + meaningful. Nice one! I love hearing about recycled rings – I wonder where yours is going to end up in the future!?

  24. Suz June 14, 2020 at 8:24 PM

    My husband proposed in 1986, using his great-grandmother’s ring. It fit perfectly, no re-sizing required! :)

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 9:27 AM

      Wow that’s cool! Do you know what year it was made?

  25. Laura June 15, 2020 at 9:26 AM

    My husband made my engagement ring in our basement right under my nose! I was in school at the time and we were remodeling our house so money was tight, but he had done some precious metal work in college so he decided to give it a try. We had already planned to elope but he didn’t like that I wasn’t going to get a “real proposal”.

    After the ring was finished, he made a nice dinner for us and afterward disappeared into the house. A while later he asked me to come into the living room where a picture of the beautiful ring was on the tv. He told me he made it for me and that it was “somewhere in the house”. I thought he made a proposal scavenger hunt, but really the ring had FALLEN OUT OF HIS POCKET AND WAS LOST IN THE HOUSE! Since he made it, it wasn’t in a box and our house was a literal construction zone so he was frantic trying to find it. At one point, I moved the couch and heard something clinking inside. The ring had fallen into the couch and worked it’s way into the wooden frame! Like a man possessed he cut open the bottom of the couch and took a hole saw to the frame. After a few minutes, he pulled out the ring. Who could say anything other than yes after all that effort?!

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 9:54 AM

      Hahaha! Really enjoyed reading this one – what a great story!

  26. Kristen June 15, 2020 at 12:28 PM

    My husband and I got engaged/married over $8 of food at Panda Express. We’d been dating for a while, he’d recently lost his job with health insurance, and I mentioned out at lunch one day that in our state (Kansas) common law is a thing: you pretty much just decide you’re married then file taxes together the next year. If we common law married, he could be on my health insurance. We knew we wanted to be together regardless, so he asked “Will you common law me?” Yep!

    We didn’t purchase any rings, but after a few months, my stepson (11ish at the time) complained that I kept on getting hit on while he and I were out and about together, and he didn’t like it. Guys figured I was a young single mom, and somehow that brings on flirting? No clue, I didn’t know that could be a thing. But I decided to order some silicone bands since I dislike wearing metal rings. Got a pack of 5 rings for about $12, so $2.40 a piece? I also ordered some silicone rings for my husband since shortly after we married, he opened his own handyman business that has been going great. All in all, it’s worked out quite well.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 1:03 PM

      Fast food, tax advantages, and cheap rings! What a great story haha. I’m hearing a lot of people go for the silicone rings these days – didn’t know they were that cheap!

  27. Megan June 15, 2020 at 12:31 PM

    I had the option of not 1, but 2 family heirloom rings. My grandmother left me her wedding band and engagement ring when she died, and my husband had his grandmother’s ring, which was also his mother’s ring (she’d had a new one made later on as an anniversary present so wasn’t wearing it anymore). I knew it was important to my husband to have the engagement ring from his side of the family, so he proposed with that (I’d never seen it but knew about it), and I used my grandmother’s wedding band for my wedding ring. I still have the engagement ring, and only one unattached brother so hoping he’ll want to use it someday. Either way it’ll stay in the family somehow. We did have to get a new setting for the diamond (1/3 ct. emerald cut), and had the wedding band dipped to change from yellow gold to white gold. The total cost for the setting, dipping, and a white gold wedding band for my husband was $950 if I remember correctly, which was almost 1/4 of our wedding budget (we ended up spending more than that total thanks to generous gifts from family, but the total wedding cost was I’d estimate in the $8-10k range for 120 guests). I love having rings from both sides of the family, and the also the fact that they are not gaudy or ostentatious which is fine for some people but not my style at all.

    1. Joel June 15, 2020 at 12:58 PM

      Awesome compromise to have both rings from both sides of the family! I’m with you – simple looking is more my style than flashy big ones. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Kate July 15, 2020 at 6:09 AM

    We chose not to get me an engagement ring! It’s not the norm in the country my husband is from and I’ve seen so many of my girlfriends turn into green eyed monsters comparing their ring to others that I was happy to opt out! Me and my husband wear matching gold wedding bands. On the other hand (literally!) I wear a pile of bling. And it’s all bling I’ve bought myself! Bonuses, birthdays, etc. De Beers (the inventor of the diamond solitaire for engagements) had an advertising campaign in the 80s I believe that said, “Left hand for WE, right hand for ME”! so they could sell more diamonds to women!

    1. Joel July 15, 2020 at 9:56 AM

      I’ve never heard that saying before – it’s marketing genius!

      There’s something so cool about matching plain gold bands. Nothing flashy, just a symbol that means something to you and your spouse. Nice!

  29. Dave Green May 5, 2021 at 9:50 AM

    This are fun stories to read even in comments !