Diamond Rings and the Working Girl

should-i-take-my-engagement-ring-off-for-interviewThis should be a fun conversation. Reader S wonders what size diamond ring is appropriate for a professional woman…

What size wedding ring/engagement ring is appropriate for a professional office? Personally, I think giant rings are gaudy and tacky. But I overheard a couple of attorneys saying the other day “”Do you ever see a friend posting pictures on facebook about her recent engagement and when you see her ring, you think to yourself ‘oh, honey, I’m so sorry!'”” so I guess rings can be too small as well. What size will keep you safe from the gossip?

I’m glad she asked this question, because I remember some of the comments turned to engagement rings in our conversation on the intern with the Hermes handbag, and there were some fascinating differences of opinion in there. For my $.02, I think that any size ring is appropriate for a professional office, provided that the ring is actually an engagement ring, and not a cocktail ring worn as an engagement ring. (Engagement rings are fairly simple, in part because they’re intended to be worn on a daily basis. Diamond cocktail rings (full disclosure: I own one, love it, and wear it a ton) can be gorgeous, but they’re often bigger (either in length, width, or height), sparklier, and to a certain extent, gaudier, than what an engagement ring is; they should be worn only when the occasion calls for it. I’m right handed, so I like to wear mine on the middle finger of my right hand, particularly if I’m attending a cocktail event where I’ll be holding a glass with my right hand.)  I will say, though, to those of you looking to get engaged, pass this tip on to your soon-to-be fiance: don’t go into debt to buy an engagement ring.  You can always add to the ring later, either by adding diamonds to it as baguettes, by “upgrading” your diamonds (from a less-clear one to a clearer one), or so forth.  (Pictured above:  Acadia Ring Emerald-Cut Diamond Platinum Ring , available at Gemvara for $61,297, also available in combinations of white gold, yellow gold, and almost any other gemstone (for a huge range of prices) — just click “customize”.)

Now: will people make judgments about you and your life based on what your ring looks like? Absolutely. Small ring? She must have married for love. Ginormous ring, particularly on the hand of a coworker who doesn’t seem that invested in the job? Future soccer mom. Women who wear plain bands have a certain cache about them also — I always think that they send a vibe of competence, of “I can’t be bothered to wear a diamond ring on a daily basis because I’m too busy Doing Important Work and Not Thinking About Sparky Things,” but honestly I love my emerald-cut engagement ring too much to not wear it on a regular basis.  Sometimes a ring can overshoot the mark, too — if your ring is absolutely huge and that doesn’t quite jive with what people know about your lifestyle, they’ll just assume it’s fake.

The really interesting question comes when you think about diamond rings and interviews. If you have an absolutely huge diamond ring on your hand, should you take it off for interviews?  The obvious worry is that employers will take one look at the prospective employee and think, “She’s just biding her time until she gets pregnant or until she or her husband inherit the rest of the money.”  So I think it depends, a bit, both on where you’re interviewing (if it’s a government or nonprofit gig, you may want to take it off), where you are in your life (if you already have kids or are past your childbearing years, it becomes less of a concern), and who you are:  if you’re the slightest bit flighty, the ring is going to work against you.  For a lot of very young women just starting their careers, I probably would advise them to take a huge engagement ring off for an interview.

Readers, what do you think about ring size and the office — have you seen engagement rings that are just ridiculously huge for the office?  If you had a huge rock on your finger, would you remove it before you went in for interviews?  What factors play into the decision?

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  1. My engagement ring was a small saphire, which I sometimes wear, but it is separate from the ring I got in my wedding ceremony. I have a huge wedding ring. Its a three stone – a total of almost 5 carats. My husband and I married after our careers were successful and could afford it. It was the early 2000’s and excess was “in.” I loved it and wore it with pride. I worked at a computer company in Houston and big rings were everywhere. I definitely did not have the biggest ring in the building.

    Then, I went to work for a non-profit a few years ago and got sick of the snide comments about my wealth, status, etc., and moved to a thick gold band, occasionally with the saphire engagement ring. However, I wore the “big” ring to the non-profit interview. They hired me, so obviously it did not matter to the hiring manager (male). It was not until I was working and surrounded by people (both men and women) who made snide comments, that I began feeling like I needed to stop wearing it.

    Last year, my mother gave me my grandmother’s wedding ring on my 40th birthday last year and it is a 5-stone 4-carat band. I now wear it every day, with the gold band, making it far more presenece on the hand than the original ring and never feel weird at work. If anyone comments, I say its a family heirloom and not another blink/word from anyone.

    I wear the 3-stone only occasionally and quite honestly, feel obnoxious wearning it. I have worn it to work a handful of times, but mostly it is relegated to weekends and evenings. I’ve considered breaking it down into earrings and a pendant, since it lives in a safe. But, who knows… Its very pretty. I love it, it just does not feel like me any more. If I ever went back to a corporate environment, the ring would probably be right at home.

  2. I sometimes turned my ring around or didn’t wear it for interviews while I was in law school. I have no idea why, I just wasn’t sure if it would seem gaudy (even though it’s not outrageously sized) or if the interviewee hated diamonds for social reasons, WHO KNOWS?! I think it depends on the interviewee whether it makes a difference. For my current position, being married was an asset–the town isn’t exactly hopping, and my boss didn’t think a young single lady would want to move to a family-friendly but socially lacking place on her own. She’s probably right!

    My good friend didn’t wear an engagement ring at all. Her band is solid gold and passed down from a grandparent. She just isn’t the sparkly, ostentatious type, and she has a conscious conflict with diamonds no matter where they are from (except antiques). Some people will judge no matter what–too big, too small, not at all. And I swear, other people will never even notice. (Particularly men. I was helping interview interns and commented afterward that one candidate didn’t wear a suit, which I thought was odd for a law student. Neither male c/w noticed.)

  3. I got engaged just prior to our company’s holiday party. My boss pulled up my hand as we were talking to a coworker and started showing off my engagement ring. Eventually staff and committee members asked to see my ring. And they were sweet and made nice comments–probably realizing I’m a very private person and hadn’t really discussed this at all if it hadn’t been for my boss’ taking the “initiative.”

    Then at one point, one of the committee members said: that’s small, you must have bought it yourself. I said: nah I would have bought a bigger one, completely different, and at Tiffany. Then laughed and turned my back to him. He felt bad and said: I was just kidding that’s a nice ring.

    Thankfully, I have the skin thickness of a rhino in these situations, so that all just trickled right off my back. But you have to wonder sometimes, what gall people have in the workplace. They seemingly forget we have complete lives outside of 9-5 that have absolutely nothing to do with them, whatsoever.

  4. I found this article really interesting. I am a young professional with 8 years of work experience since straight out of college. I have been married for the last 2 and a half years and I have a pretty impressive diamond ring for NYC standards (2.6 carats). I wish I had thought to take my ring off for my last job interview (this is the first time I was interviewing since having the ring), because I am convinced I did not get the salary I deserve as a result. Ladies with large rings going on interviews- TAKE THEM OFF.

  5. Praxidike :

    My ring is a 1.5 ct princess cut solitaire. My wedding bands were made to fit on either side of the solitaire, and each have about .5ct in a sort-of faux infinity band. They are soldered together. I quite like them and I don’t think the set is overly obtrusive or loud.

    FYI – my husband is from the midwest, I am from the east coast, and we live in the midwest. I do love jewelry (my grandparents are jewelers and own a store) and so quality was more important to me than diamond size.

    I admit that I do judge people on their rings, but usually only when it appears that the ring is an example of extremely conspicuous consumption.

  6. Anonymous :

    I love the idea of wearing just a band, but also love diamonds, so like the eternity bands like the one Joe DiMaggio gave Marilyn Monroe have always appealed to me. In those cases–do you wear them when you get engaged or married? If married, do a lot of people ask about the ring?

    • LLM in BsAs :

      This might be region specific, since solitaire or three stone rigns are not usual in Buenos Aires, but I have an eternity band for an engagement ring (actually a half-eternity) of emerald cut diamonds (no idea the .ct count). I wear it as engaement ring, and then added a plain white gold band for a wedding ring, that is identical to my husband’s. We got them engraved on the inside with our names (I have his, he has mine) and our wedding date. I wear them together with the engagement ring closer to my fingertips.
      Maybe that’s a way to do both?

    • I don’t have an engagement ring but my (antique) wedding band has seven small stones set in the top and I adore it. It’s got the sparkle of diamonds (which I love) but without all the drama. I only wear the one ring.

  7. Eek, I have a biglaw second interview tomorrow and never even considered taking off my ring. I’m a mid-level associate looking to lateral and the stone is 1.75. Do you really think I should take it off?

    • Yes. Better safe than sorry. It really shouldn’t matter. But why risk it?

    • This is a tough one. What state are you interviewing in? I think in professions where salaries are much higher (law, finance, etc.) than in the corporate beauty and fashion industry where I am, where it’s also very female-driven, I think 1.75 carats is acceptable. I don’t think you’ll need to take yours off :)

    • Do you have a connection to the area apart from your fiance? I left mine on when interviewing for my current job because the firm is in the state where my fiance grew up, but I had no other “personal” connection to the state. I fully expected the “why here” question, and I figured that if I was going to answer “because my fiance and I want to move closer to his family” it would look more credible if I was wearing the ring, whereas if I wasn’t, the interviewer might think I was not actually engaged and thus less tied to the area.

    • How long have you worn it? I noticed after I started wearing my engagement ring that I moved my hands differently, fidgeted, sometimes couldn’t fit my hand into my purse, etc, and that would all be distracting in an interview. I think I probably would still remove my rings since I fidget with them, but otherwise wouldn’t worry about it at all (I’m a lawyer, working in a law firm, and have a medium-to-large stone for my hand size).

  8. SF Bay Associate :

    Does anyone have a moissanite ring or seen Moissanite in person? From moissanite’s (probably misleading) product info, it is supposed to be almost the same as a diamond, but much cheaper. Since the thing I like diamonds is the sparkliness, a sparkly moissanite would suit me just fine.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Ugh, sorry. the thing I like *about* diamonds…

      • If you want a Moissanite ring for ethical or economic reasons, then go for it! I personally think its a really cool type of stone, and they’re certainly very strong and durable.
        But if you intend to try to pass it off as a diamond, you should know that in the larger sizes (1.5 carats and up) it definitely looks sparkly enough that most people assume its fake. Moissanite is generally *so* sparkly and *so* clear that its pretty easy to guess that unless you had say $30k lying around the ring isn’t real.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          I have no intention of passing off! I plan to freely state when asked that my 1-1.5 carat stone is moissanite – I just like sparkly things and would love to find something as sparkly but less expensive than a diamond.

          • I’ve seen it and it did look like a diamond to me. My husband was adamant I have a “real” diamond though.

          • Ekaterin Nile :

            I wanted large diamond earrings for a long time and finally, on the recommendation of a friend, bought a pair of Crislu drop earrings at Macy’s for $75 to see if they satisfied my urge.


            I’ve been happy with the fake diamonds, and my husband and I spent the money we could have spent on real diamond earrings on a two-week Mediterranean cruise instead. Worth. Every. Penny. Don’t really care if people think my earrings are genuine or fake. So if you like sparkly things, go for it!

        • Ha, I have a moissanite…. It’s perfect (and as stated above, small, but I’m a *tiny* asian woman…. you’d think I have a rock). I had some fun comments — lots of people thought my husband lied to me and it was real, and one annoying girl told me of course it’s a fake, real diamonds are white, not clear.

          My ring is fantastic, fwiw, and I can indeed at this point in my life walk into a store and drop $50K for whatever ring I feel like, and I have less than zero desire to do so.

      • I have a .75ct round brilliant moissanite engagement ring that my fiance gave me just this month. At my ring’s size, I notice a slight difference in the sparkle factor between it and a diamond only in low lights, where my ring sparkles more. Larger stones will pick up more light, and sparkle more.

        The other thing to consider with a moissanite is that as the stone gets larger, it also becomes less colorless. Some moissanites pick up yellow tones, and some pick up green or gray tones in larger sizes. I haven’t noticed these color differences with my particular stone.

        All in all, I think my ring is perfect (though I’m still adjusting to what feels like a huge center stone to me with my size 5.5 finger). The moissanite is gorgeous (and cost us about 1/10 of what a diamond of its size would have), but more importantly, it was given to me by my very best friend in the world. I hope that you’re equally as happy with whatever ring you decide on!

    • I have one. I’m also in the no engagement ring camp and I have a platinum channel set ring with 5 smallish moissanite stones in it. I love it – it has the sparkle I wanted without any guilty associations and at a lower price point. Plus I work in IP and I thought it was pretty cool that the process for making moissanite is patented (yes, I’m a patent geek).

      You should be able to go into a jewelry store to look at them… when I was looking, if they didn’t have the stone I wanted, they could order it in for me to see before buying.

  9. I love the idea of a band you share with your SO symbolizing to the world your commitment to each other, but I just don’t get engagement rings. Plus I read this slate article years ago: http://www.slate.com/id/2167870/

  10. When should you take your rings off after separation? My husband ran away and broke my heart 8 months ago and while I know he has moved on (in fact has wedding plans made) I am still a bit lost and sad. I have a beautiful 3ct diamond solitaire and 5 stone diamond antique eternity ring which I love and quite frankly want to keep but which look strange on my right hand. What have others done in this circumstance?

    PS Funny story- one of my clients once asked me to take my rings off for a meeting with his bank because it looked like he used an expensive legal firm and he wanted to appear broke!!! Bye bye client after that admission!!

    • I’d take them off now. Someone who runs out on his word only to get married in less than 8 months isn’t worth remembering. Have the stones reset in a different ring or necklace at some later point if you’d like, but time to get rid of the rings he gave you.

      Good luck moving on.

      • Gotta concur with this. I can’t imagine you would ever look down at the rings and not remember the rat bastard that gave them to you :) I also think that it might cause some trouble if/when you begin dating and get questions – “What’s that ring?” “Oh, my ex-husband gave these to me”… not sure that gives a great impression about moving on. With that size/number of diamonds, you could get some nice studs made and a necklace to match. I would seek out a good jeweler in your city and see what they can do for you. Good luck, and sorry about your ex-husband.

    • Sorry to hear that. I am recently separated and took off my wedding band when my husband moved out. I had only been wearing a plain white gold band, so many people still have not noticed, although its been over a month.

      It sounds like your diamonds are quite substantial, and could be reset into a necklace or something. Best wishes.

    • Maybe have a pendant made from the 3ct solitaire ? Or something that is totally different ? Just throwing it out there….never been in this situation and sending best wishes your way, whatever you decide.

    • My strategy was to wait for a moment when I wasn’t particularly sad and then to take them both off and throw them in a drawer. Like you, my husband left me (it was a surprising and unwanted turn of events, in my case), so taking off the rings was a moment of sadness, not of freedom, celebration, etc. like it might be for someone who chose to leave a bad marriage. Not making it a big deal to take them off helped me – I forced myself to treat it as an afterthought, like “Oh! Better get rid of these” rather than letting it drag me down into the whirlpool of sadness again.

      They’re still sitting in a drawer, but I plan to resell them soon. If I get even 10% of value, I’ll be able to take myself out for a very nice spa day…or a super-fancy dinner with my best girlfriends.

      • Anonymous :

        I remember not wanting to walk around without my engagement ring and wedding band after I left my husband because I thought people wouldn’t take me seriously if I were “just a young, single woman.” (I live in a very conservative, wealthy, women-who-play-tennis-in-the-middle-of-the-day area.)

        I eventually removed them and replaced them with a ring I bought myself with a center stone that is my birthstone. I bought it at the NY jewelers mart on 47th street when I was there for business, so it was not too expensive.

        Good luck. And you are well quit of him.

  11. I have a decent size ring–I think 1.25 or something and it’s a high quality stone, set in platinum, and I am quite petite. I never take it off, but when I travel to places where it might put me at risk, I rotate the stone so it points towards my palm.

    I waited to get married quite late in life, and ended up with a small wedding because my Dad had just died. We decided together that since our marriage would be relatively short in years, we would enjoy every single little thing about married life, and I wear my rings with joy. I can’t imagine judging anyone’s ring beyond admiring (or not) the style. I hope that the poster who said that what matters more if you are a nice person wearing the ring is correct, and that people at work who see mine are thrilled to see me happily wed!

  12. My engagement ring is a wonderful piece of ethnographic art–which my DH and I picked out together. We wanted something we could share (and later, found a matching piece that shows a mom and child–after we had 2 kids). My wedding band is a variant of a simple gold band, as is his (they don’t match, by the way; we each picked out our own). We’ve been married now for 27 years–and today is our anniversary.

  13. I mostly just feel like I have gigantic fingers now – size 9ish – after reading about everyone’s petite fingers. :) Oh well, helps with the piano playing…

    • You must have lovely long fingers. But can I argue that playing the piano makes one’s fingers fat? Because of the muscle being built up or something? My fingers are stubby (no more than a 9th interval for me, and that’s a painful slight-roll), but fat. I’ve been playing piano regularly since I was 6, hours per day when I have time. I’d like to think that the two are related so I can pass off my thick fingers with pride. :)

      • Another Sarah :

        I’ve thought exactly this! Let’s pass it off as true even if it’s not, ok? :-)

      • I always attribute my splayed-out large feet to years of dancing, so no reason why the same doesn’t apply in your case! :)

  14. My 2 cents on the interview question: I do OCI interviews for my firm, and I would probably see a very big engagement ring on a law student as a possible indicator of a person who is marrying a wealthy man or comes from a wealthy background, or both. It would create a little question mark about how committed to hard work this job candidate might be, a few years down the road, when quitting would apparently be a financial option for her. I know it’s not fair, and some folks with money at a young age worked like crazy to get it, or were raised by workhorses and take after their parents, but that would be the question in my mind. It wouldn’t stop me from giving a favorable review to an otherwise very qualified candidate; it would just be something I’d take note of, and wonder about.

    • Would you feel the same way about a man wearing, say, a Rolex watch? If so, fair enough, but I have to say that most people I have encountered with this attitude really have a double standard and would not think twice about a guy wearing a really nice watch or suit.

    • While I completely hate to perpetuate the stereotype, several of my law school classmates have 2+ ct rings and very, very little commitment to actually practicing law in the long term. They are also smart enough to take off the rings for their interviews, because they don’t want the employer figuring this out (and they have said as much to me).

    • Anon for this comment :

      That is unfair but a fact of life. I have no need to work but I LIKE to work, am good at my job. I think that shows I’m just as committed, if not more so, than those who need to work for whatever reason.

      Not judging here, just saying that different stuff drives different people.

      I have developed a thick skin by now but it still hurts when people look at stuff and go “wow, lovely bag, great husband for buying you that…”…

      hello? i earn more than enough to buy my own stuff.

  15. I’m fascinated by the interviewing questions/answers. I interviewed before I was engaged/married, so it wasn’t an issue for me. I don’t remember noticing rings on women who I have interviewed.

    My field is male-dominated, and many married men (in my company and my clients) don’t wear wedding bands. I have often wondered about that.

  16. Wow, this conversation is so much less snarky than the Hermes purse thread a while back.

    Just for my two cents, I am a very petite person (3.5 ring size) and have a 2.5 carat round solitaire. It is beautiful, and I love it. However, I would never judge anyone else’s ring. Frankly, I don’t even notice other people’s rings. I am definitely aware that other people in my firm notice my ring (and possibly talk about it when I’m not around), but I don’t really care. You can’t live your whole life worrying about what other people say or think – I love it, the man I’m about to marry gave it to me, and that is all that matters.

  17. just karen :

    Ooh! I am so happy to see this post, because it gives me the excuse to ask for shopping advice I would never otherwise post on this site! My fiance proposed with two ring boxes (which totally tripped me up and almost ruined the proposal because I didn’t “get” what what was going on). The first was a 1 carat solitaire set in white gold. Beautiful, but better yet, the diamond came from my grandmother’s ring and he didn’t go into debt. The second box held his grandmother’s ring, which he is pulling four small diamonds from for me to use to design whatever I want (he found a jeweler who can theoretically make anything from scratch with enough pictures). The four smaller diamonds are about 7 points each (2.6mm in diameter), and I’m not sure what to do with them. I love detailing in the gold on bands, but not sure I can pull that off with the smaller stones – and how to use the smaller stones without them just being lost in the band. Any links to rings people think might work would be MUCH appreciated! (I have fairly small hands if it makes a difference – size 5 on an otherwise totally average sized body). We are open to also buying more small diamonds to make something work. (BTW, after all this ring talk, let me say that yes, I absolutely would have worn a cracker-jack ring if it symbolized my match’s pledge to me).

    • What about using the smaller stones in your wedding band, rather than adding them to your engagement ring?

      • just Karen :

        I’ve thought about that, and we might end up doing it, but the idea of using stones from both of our families in one ring really appeals to me (I also have a ring that’s a setting from my mom’s family and a stone from my dad’s family, and it means the world to me).

    • The plantinum example at this link is my engagement band:
      I can’t remember the size of the diamonds, but I think they might be 10 pts each? I have larger fingers (size 7), but you might be able to do a skinnier band with your smaller fingers.

  18. Well here’s my question, and perhaps I will sound like a weirdo, but here goes:

    I am a very private person and in a serious relationship. I am young in my small office and most people assume I am single because I never talking about my relationships at work ever. One reason being because I have heard so many young female co-workers at various workplaces always going on and on about “my bf this and my bf that…” that I have grown entirely tight-lipped in general for fear of sounding like them. I also don’t want my coworkers asking me my bf’s name and/or where he works and then googling his firm bio, etc. etc. Call me crazy.

    I also don’t think that when the day comes that I do get engaged that I would even want to make that announcement to my firm (because again, they would ask who the groom is and also awkwardness with wedding invites). I feel like I would hide the ring or turn it around or something.

    Do you Corporettes think this is all nutty thinking /behavior?

    • You have every right to keep your personal life to yourself. Every workplace has a different environment about this stuff. At my office it’s not unusual for someone’s spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend to stop by happy hour, so many of us know each others’ significant others. But, by all means, don’t feel pressured to reveal more than you’re comfortable with.

    • I think you could wear the ring without having to make an announcemnet. People will probably see the ring, and ask about it, but you can be vague and say “we’ve been together for a while and decided to make it official, so we are looking forward to a small ceremony with our families” without actually telling them anything specific about the who the groom is and letting it be know that wedding invitations will not be cirulating the office. Keep in mind that if you are both attorneys, you will need to disclose his name and firm at some point because they will need to need to create an ethical screen in the event your firms are ever opposed.

    • I was so annoyed when everyone at work started commenting on my ring and on my engagement. I didn’t even wear the ring to work for the first few months for that reason – just didn’t want to deal with comments. So, I totally hear you.

  19. I’m not in law (like many here are), but I haven’t seen anything ridiculously large at my nonprofit. Since we serve higher education, we have many students working here, some of whom are married as well, and they tend to have smaller rings. I will admit I certainly notice rings, but that’s because I love sparkly things.

    I wouldn’t put too much judgement on a large or small ring in the workplace. You never know what their circumstance was when they made the purchase or what it’s actually worth. When my husband and I got engaged 5 years ago, we were both graduate students, and he opted to purchase a smaller, higher-quality stone (about 0.6 carats) set in platinum rather than going for a larger, lower-quality stone in gold or white gold (gold often contains traces of nickel, which my skin is extremely sensitive to). He followed the old adage of “two months salary” when setting his budget, but for him at the time that wasn’t very much. It would have been completely not worth it to go into any kind of debt for a single item of jewelry. The most important part is that the style is totally me.

    In my experience, those with gaudy rings are also likely to have gaudily huge bags, shoes, etc., so it really isn’t a judgment based just on one item.

  20. Anonymous :

    I agree you need to be careful not to wear a large diamond to a job interview.

    When I got engaged to my first husband, I was 23. We used my grandma’s Art Deco 1930s engagement ring: a 1+ carat round diamond, flanked by pave and baguettes, set in platinum. (I am small: 5’2″, size 4 dresses, ring size 4 1/2.) For my wedding band, we had an eternity band made in platinum with princess cut diamonds all around.

    Four years later, when I was 27, I was interviewing (Southern California, top 20 law school, AmLaw 100 firms). I always took my engagement ring off for interviews and wore only the band. This was 1993/94 and there was a recession going on; I did not want to look like a dilettante/future soccer mom who wouldn’t be serious about the job. Once I started at BigLaw, I wore both rings. I later made partner, totally unrelated to the rings, I assume.

    Many years later, when I got engaged to my current fiance, we had a a ring made in the style of the Cartier Trinity rolling ring design. Three bands, channel set round diamonds all the way around all three bands, set in platinum. It is currently my engagement ring, and when we marry it will also be my wedding band. I wear it to all meetings (including recently to an interview) because it is not a big stone. Although it was expensive and is quite elegant, it is not flashy and I feel comfortable wearing it both with BigLaw colleagues and government employee colleagues. (Unrelated to professionalism issues: I love it and get compliments on it constantly.)

  21. People who stones other than diamonds: what are your thoughts in terms of lasting quality? I would love an aquamarine on an engagement ring, but I have an old aquamarine ring that was my great-grandmother’s (probably about 80 years old at this point), and the stone has been worn completely smooth, so I worry an aquamarine wouldn’t hold up to everyday wear. What stones last?

    And on another note, how have people gone about finding antique/vintage rings? I love art deco/1920s style, but how do you find one and assure you’re not getting ripped off?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Mohns scale of mineral hardness –

      Part of the reason I’m keen on moissanite is that it is so hard. Diamonds are “forever” because they are a 10 on the Mohs scale. Aquamarine, according to Wikipedia, is a Beryl: 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. I love Tanzanite, but the Mohs is only 6.5, which apparently isn’t tough enough to withstand daily wear in a ring setting.

    • Doyle & Doyle is a reputable store in NYC that also has an online store. They will also work with you to find something specific, and while they have many very expensive things, they are very good about working with your budget. I got my wedding band and wedding necklace there and highly recommend them.

    • If you want to see some cool engagement rings with stones that aren’t diamonds….check out this site.


    • Former MidLevel :

      Rubies and sapphires are both hard enough to wear everyday.

    • Erie Basin in Brooklyn has beautiful vintage rings and is run by a very nice man. My engagement and wedding bands were purchased there. Their online shop has a small sampling of their jewelry selection. http://eriebasin.com/shop.html

    • Anon in Ny :

      You can also check out smaller jewelry stores – a number of them have collections “inspired” by antique/vintage styles. The Clay Pot in Brooklyn and CatBird (also in Brooklyn) have a number of options.

  22. This is timely for me. Married 8 years, we were broke at time and also I am not for diamonds for a host of reasons- generally support older used stuff when possible so as not to create demand for mining etc.; don’t like the marketing nonsense; don’t like the expectation and conformity aspects, or the complicated judginess involved; don’t like them, too sharp and boring looking (sorry, diamond lovers, just one person’s view). He knew that and got me a very simple opal ring which I have worn for 8 yrs with a simple band. Several years ago I decided to upgrade and had a lovely emerald band made, but it’s too uncomfortable to wear every day.
    I work in a fairly high level corporate setting now, so felt like I should look fancier. It’s not that I care about the chicks’ viewpoint- it’s that I honestly think image impacts how you advance career-wise. So decided to get a stupid diamond after all even though I predict I will scratch myself and ruin sweaters with it. First I went to antique shops- I LOVE the old platinum art deco rings. Then I asked family, and was able to get a ring from my Mom who doesn’t wear that one anymore. It’s .6 carat but my finger is size 3 so looks fine actually, not small or big. It’s a gold ring so I am going to get a white-tone setting somewhere, hopefully art deco vintage. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet:) but enjoyed reading all this input.

    Can’t really stand the whole diamond thing- but in I shall jump I guess. If it’s an heirloom stone and vintage band that helps me accept it better. Those of you feeling unsure, it’s just hype, don’t worry about the details.

  23. Anne Shirley :

    Can I just say- sigh! I know I’m supposed to be living my life to the fullest etc etc, but I want a ring. And a fiance. And a husband and children and maybe a cat.

    • Well, why can’t living your life to the fullest involve getting yourself a cat and a ring? The fiance part might have to wait but not the others. Only I advise two cats so that they keep each other company.

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        I’m with Anne Shirley, though I’d settle for just a nice boyfriend for right now. Allergic to cats; already have two dogs.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      I’m with you, though I’d settle for just a nice boyfriend for right now. Allergic to cats; already have two dogs.

    • I absolutely concur.

  24. You ladies rock (hah, no pun intended)! I think it’s so interesting how many different approaches you all have! Though I have an engagement ring (which I love), I tend not to wear it much because I work from home and am very active when I’m out and about. My husband has problems with his knuckle joints and rarely wears his wedding ring. I thought we were really weird until I read this thread! That being said, I always wear my ring in professional settings – I never would have thought that I might be perceived as a liability (isn’t that illegal , anyway?). I do have a modest engagement ring (one larger stone and two smaller stones, maybe 1.25 carats total) with a tiny plain wedding band, so maybe it’s not that noticeable. Anyway, thanks for opening my eyes to the many, many opinions on this!

  25. Does anyone have particular thoughts about women who don’t wear engagement rings, only wedding bands? I’m a young associate in Biglaw, married shortly before starting the job. I wear a gold wedding band with inlaid diamonds — basically, 1/2 of an eternity band.

    I tried wearing the engagement ring with it, but they didn’t lie well together; it wasn’t comfortable. We’ve talked about getting it reset into a band of matching profile but I still don’t know I’d find it comfortable, or feel like wearing both, so no action on that front.

    There’s also no tradition of wearing engagement rings in our families, though that’s atypical for many of the people I work with. My family is from a poor area of the country — I never saw female relatives wearing engagement rings — and men and women in his family until 1.5 generations ago didn’t wear wedding jewelry for religious reasons. So it’s simply not any part of how I ever envisioned my hand would look day-to-day as a married woman.

    • All the married female partners in my office wear only a wedding band. The associates are about 3/4 engagement ring and band. 1/4 only band.

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