There are a wealth of problems with engagement rings (pun intended). First, did you know that expensive engagement rings were popularized by men who owned the world's diamond supply? The diamond company De Beers worked with an advertising company in the 1930s to sell the idea that if a man truly loved his fiancée, he would buy her a diamond ring before their wedding.
Then, there's the pre-wedding dogma that an engagement ring should cost a man three month's salary — that ridiculously arbitrary belief originated with the same 1930s De Beers campaign.
So how much weight do people put on the cost of their engagement rings today?
According to The Knot, the average cost of an engagement ring in 2016 was $6,163. But jeweler Anna Sheffield disagrees that there is an "average" cost — according to Sheffield a ring's weight is tied more to the value and integrity of the material and the maker.
These real women are proud of their "cheap" engagement rings and what they represent.
Sarah Browning told Now to Love that her husband proposed to her when the pair were still students, "so cheap was key."
"I'm most proud of the fact that it was a total surprise! The fact that he went out ring shopping still blows my mind. And he later told me he chose a lower set diamond because he knows I like gardening. I love it because he chose it for me."
Model Laura Wells is very proud of her "cheap" engagement ring.
"I love that it is a blue stone, just like the ocean, and Jesse picked it out by himself knowing that I would love it. The dark blue color of the sapphire changes with the light just like the ocean changes color during the day."
Samantha Nay, another proud cheap ring owner, understands the practical side of the price range. "I see a ring more as a symbol — it's not the ring itself that's significant," she says. "I like the idea that if I ever lost it, I could go into a store and replace it with anything, and wouldn't be heartbroken about losing some irreplaceable family heirloom."
Brittany's ring was almost $5,000, and she acknowledges that's expensive for most people.
"I'm proud that he picked the one I wanted. I didn't know he was proposing and gave his friend suggestions are different prices, [and] this was my wildest dreams ring. It's the style I wanted, and to me, it shows how he puts my desires ahead of his to get me what I want."
An engagement ring still remains a material token, but it's one that holds significant emotional and social significance — full of romance and sacrifice. The problem with engagement rings is that they still remain a symbol of (unnecessary) luxury that's built on a pursuit of profits and outdated gender roles.
After speaking to so many happy and in love women, our cynicism has been changed by the thought that the good might outweigh the bad when it comes to rings of love.
This post was written by Holly Royce. For more, check out our sister site Now to Love.