When a couple starts looking for an engagement ring, they think of looking at diamond rings. Usually, the diamond rock is cast in a gold, silver, or platinum ring. But 21st-century Americans are fond of options and look for them even in the traditional rite of engagement. Increasingly, couples are considering alternatives for the metal used in the ring and opt for a stainless steel, titanium, or even wood engagement ring.
The History of Diamond Engagement Rings
It turns out that the tradition of diamond engagement rings is less than a century old – enter De Beers. Diamonds were rare before 1870. Around that date, several large diamond mines were discovered in South Africa, and the investors in the diamond mines consolidated into one syndicate, named De Beers, which is the most well-known name associated with diamond rings today.
During the difficult depression era, diamond ring sales declined dramatically. So in 1938, De Beers started a campaign to increase the demand for diamond rings. They marketed the diamond engagement ring as a symbol of love and status, showing Hollywood stars with diamond rings and getting fashion designers to promote diamond engagement rings as a new trend. Additionally, their ad campaign outlined the need to show that the bigger the rock, “the greater the expression of love.” In 1947, they upped the campaign with a four-word slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.”
De Beers’ marketing plan was successful. Within three years, sales increased 50%, and today, 80% of women receive diamond engagement rings.
Diamond in Wood
Now, the average diamond engagement ring costs $5,200. Since average Americans are making less than they did in 1989, it’s possible that the strain of expensive rings and wedding expenses creates financial stress and conflict early on in many marriages.
Using a wood engagement ring gives you a more affordable option for your diamond and it doesn’t need to cost a two-month’s salary. Diamonds set in wood rings can be as low as $2,000. This can give you more elbow-room to save up for a house or to build a little nest egg for your upcoming family. What’s not to like about that? You don’t need to succumb to the pressure (thanks to De Beers) of dropping a big sum on an engagement ring.
For all the glitzy ring options out there, wood is a timeless, seasoned alternative. It can be obtained from your own backyard or from salvaged wood. All it takes is a bit of wood for the craftsman to handcraft a beautiful ring. That’s a bit different than walking into your local jewelry store and purchasing a pre-made–perhaps even mass-produced–diamond ring. Consider taking the personal approach of choosing a wood ring that tells your story each time you look at it.
You don’t need to give up your diamond for a wood engagement ring. In fact, it just might look more dazzling if it’s set in a stunning band of ebony wood.