Surprisingly, this blog post is aimed more pointedly at men, who are the ultimate ring-bearers when a relationship becomes serious. You see, when a man hopes to merge his life with his girlfriend, he scouts out a local jewelry store, endeavoring to find a suitable diamond. However, in my humble opinion, such guys should first visit an even more local source for jewels: their families. Impressive family heirlooms may await them, gems with a story to tell.
My fiance Dan did just this, and I'm all the more thankful for his thoughtfulness. My engagement ring diamond came from his grandmother's ring, a diamond that her husband-to-be saved up for while he fought in World War II. For four years they were separated physically, yet held on to hope that a future together awaited them. Now, I'm reminded of their powerful bond and the love between me and Dan whenever I look at my ring. Additionally, smaller diamonds from my future mother-in-law encircle the engagement diamond, yet another treasure that bears a link to my new family. All of the diamonds are encased in a modern setting that I picked out from Mary Healy's Fine Jewelry (Little Rock), so essentially the jewels have been recycled in a custom-made ring.
Additionally, my and Dan's wedding bands will be his maternal grandparent's set, practically unaltered. Sure, Dan's ring may have to be adjusted a bit to fit, but my ring - his grandmother's - fits perfectly as is. Our family history will be as near as our fingertips.
By the way, I should mention that Dan didn't pay a cent for his family gems, though the customized engagement setting did cost a pretty penny, I'm sure. Thus, a thrifty alternative is for the man to present his prospective wife with an original family heirloom ring if it's nice enough, perhaps with the option of customizing it as she sees fit later on (whether with an engraved engagement date/wedding date/initials inside the band, extra gems, etc.). And don't think you're limited to diamonds - my cousin Sarah received an original family heirloom engagement ring adorned with a breathtaking ruby.
On the whole, reusing family jewels is a great way to include older family ties into a couple's enormous commitment, with an added bonus of boosting one's wallet and the environment.
As a bride-to-be, I want to have the perfect wedding - and one with a low impact on the environment. Follow me as I detail how my fiance and I are greening our nuptials. You'll also find inspiration from others who have already tied the [green] knot - feel free to follow suit!