Jewelry and Accessories

About my Wedding Ring!

by Melissa on May 1, 2012

**Disclosure: I started writing this post back in September 2011, right after my wedding ring arrived, but just never got around to finishing it and posting it!

I started looking at wedding rings in June 2011 (plenty of time for our November 2011 wedding), and it took me nearly three months to decide on what I wanted.  I knew that I didn’t want to spend more than $400, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for, but after trying a few on, I had identified my criteria more clearly:

1) I wanted a band that was as close to identical in height and width as the band part of my engagement ring.  For instance, I felt that wedding bands that were wider than the band part of my engagement ring looked really off balance and distracted attention away from my engagement ring.

2) I also didn’t like wedding bands that were significantly “shorter” than the band part of my engagement ring. Again, I can’t describe it, but it just looked very strange.

But, when I would find a wedding band that was as high as my existing ring, it wouldn’t fit flush up against my engagement ring.  Because the prongs stick out, it would be impossible to fit something of the same height directly next to it.

Hmmm, dilemma.

Also, although I really liked the look of diamond bands, they were (obviously) more expensive than just plain bands.

Well, one day on one of the wedding blogs, I can’t remember which, I found some beautiful rose gold bands! I was set.  I thought that a plain rose gold band would be a beautiful contrast to my existing engagement ring but not be too distracting. So, I set out to a custom jewelry place here in Northern Virginia that gets excellent reviews. They told me that they would be able to custom make me a band precisely to my specifications (identical height and width of my engagement ring) by “cheating” a bit and making the wedding band not precisely round. This way it would fit up against my engagement ring and not be affected by the engagement ring prongs.  It would range from $350-450 and I would have to leave my engagement ring with them for a few days so that they could make a mold.

Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that $350-$450 for just a plain band is a LOT of money, even if it is custom. So, I had a quick conversation with my fiancé. He suggested that I try Natural Sapphire Company, where he bought my engagement ring, to see if they could custom make something cheaper.  Well, they quoted me the same price as the local jeweler for a plain band.  For a diamond band that would match my engagement ring precisely, it would be $750.

Although I liked the look of diamond bands I had tried on, that was well over my budget.

I was really struggling with what to do.  I love love LOVE my engagement ring. So I suggested that my engagement ring double as my wedding band.  But my fiancé didn’t like that idea.  He wanted them to be two separate rings.  Then he said,  “You know, you rarely wear jewelry” (except for my engagement ring now of course). “$750 is not a lot of money for a piece of jewelry that you will wear every day for the rest of your life, especially if it’s exactly what you want. It will custom match your existing engagement ring”

Easy to say for a guy who paid $14.99 for his wedding band!

So, I took his advice and contacted his original salesperson at Natural Sapphire Company.  She was really helpful and sent me a wax model of the band. To be honest, it was kind of difficult to tell from the wax model how the ring would look and fit, but, trusting my gut, I decided to place the order for diamond band.  Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars.  Le sigh.

But, zero regrets here! I love the way that it matches my sapphire engagement ring and doesn’t detract from it one bit. It’s gorgeous!


My wedding ring, the day it was delivered via FedEx!


What about you all? Did you spend more than you anticipated on your wedding rings?


About my Engagement Ring

by Melissa on April 2, 2012

Two weeks ago, I shared with you our engagement story. I’ve gotten a few e-mails about my ring, including why I wanted a sapphire ring.


Well, it’s pretty simple. I wanted something DIFFERENT.

When Ken and I first started to discuss the idea of getting married (around August 2010), we, of course, discussed engagement ring ideas. I provided him some pictures of what I liked, price ranges, but told him that I didn’t want to pick out the exact ring myself. I wanted the end product to be a surprise.

My primary request was a single sapphire stone, with perhaps a diamond band. There were a few reasons I wanted a sapphire. I like the fact that sapphires are rarer and more valuable than diamonds (but less expensive because demand is lower for sapphires). Diamond prices are kept artificially high because supply is restricted by monopolies. Second, I just thought that diamonds were kind of boring. I wanted to have something that really popped! And now, 18 months since we got engaged, I still stare at my ring in admiration. I love everything about it. 

Shopping for a Sapphire Engagement Ring

We headed off to some jewelry stores so I could try on some options and narrow down my design preferences a bit more, like whether I liked round stones, princess cut, etc.

We were not met with open arms.

Jewelry stores make big bucks selling diamonds. Instead of sticking with selling us what we actually wanted, the stores insisted on trying to sell us what we didn’t want. 

The conversations went something like this:

Us: We would like to look at sapphire engagement rings
Salesman: Well, if it’s price you’re concerned about, you’ll be able to purchase a very lovely diamond with your budget.
Melissa: No, it’s not the price we’re concerned about. I just don’t want a diamond engagement ring.  Just a sapphire stone.

Or along these lines:

Us: We would like to look at sapphire engagement rings.
Salesman: Okay, but just to warn you, although sapphires are also very hard stones, diamonds are more than 100 times harder than a sapphire.
Melissa: Dude, I don’t need my engagement ring to cut glass.  I want something I think looks nice.

Or our personal favorite:

Us: We would like to look at sapphire engagement rings.
Salesman: Oh, well, we don’t have any sapphires to show you.
Saleslady who overheard salesman: Well, we could take some of our diamond stones and color them with a blue magic marker!
Us: *blank stare*
Saleslady: Oh, we’ve done it before!
The saleslady then proceeds to take a large, loose diamond out of the jewelry case, then takes a fat blue crayola marker, yes, just like what you used in elementary school, and coats the diamond in blue marker.  Then she carefully placed the now colored stone in a setting that I liked to see the combination together.  After she was done showing the stone, she simply dropped the diamond in a cup of rubbing alcohol and all the magic marker color was removed.

Although we appreciated the saleslady’s help with the magic marker, it was evident that traditional jewelry stores are not geared toward selling colored gemstones. 

Ken coined the joke, “HE WENT TO JARED! And then he left.”

Although I really wonder if their tune has changed now that sapphires might be more popular because of Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring.

Ken Buys the Ring

After Ken proposed to me in France, he proceeded to tell me how he finally managed to buy a sapphire ring for me!

Ken ventured onto the Natural Sapphire Company’s website.  Ken selected a few loose stones that he wanted to see, and the company shipped the loose stones to him for his review.  After deciding on the stone he wanted, he had to ship back the stones, according to the store’s strict shipping instructions (do not list the contents or value on the shipping slip!), and placed an order for the sapphire stone and setting.

Ken asked the Natural Sapphire Company to inform him when the item shipped, so that he would be sure to get home before me that day.

** Side story.  It’s related, I promise. **  We had discovered they had some sort of huge bugs in our attic during the summer of 2010.  Not just bugs, actually.  Cicada killer wasps.  Ken made a quick call to the exterminator, who said they would come the next day at some point between 8AM and 10AM.  So, I decided that I would go into work late that morning so I could be there for the exterminator.  **End side story.**

A few hours after making the appointment with the exterminator, Ken got an e-mail saying that the ring would be delivered the next day by 10:00AM.  Scheduled right at the time that I would be home waiting for the exterminator.  Any other time I’d be at work.  Not wanting to act suspicious and tell me not to stay home for the exterminator since they had just discussed it a few hours earlier, Ken just kept his fingers crossed.

The next morning, according to Ken, I was at home waiting for the exterminator.  As with any home service company, they called to say they were running late and probably wouldn’t get there until after 10AM.  Not wanting to wait at home any longer, I called Ken and said that I was going to leave for work since the exterminators said they could do all the work from outside. 

That same day, our home cleaning service was also scheduled to come.  We have security cameras in our house and we get e-mail alerts any time doors in our house are opened. Shortly after I left, Ken knew that the cleaning lady had arrived thanks to the e-mail alert, and also knew that FedEx should be coming by any minute to drop off the package. 

Ken was keeping a close eye on the security camera feeds.  Then finally, he saw the cleaning lady walk over to the front door, open the door, sign for a package from FedEx, and put the package on the bench in their foyer.  In fact, Ken and all his coworkers watched the events unfold on the security cameras.  Ken breathed a huge sign of relief and made sure he got home before me that afternoon, and hid the package!

Love my Ring!

When Ken proposed, I was BLOWN AWAY by how beautiful the ring was. And I still am! I still don’t know anybody else (personally) that has a non-diamond engagement ring, so I’m actually kind of happy that the Kate Middleton trend never caught on!

How about you all? Any funny stories about your fiancé buying your ring?



Is Our Love only Worth $14.99?

by Melissa on September 6, 2011

About a month ago, my fiancé and I went shopping for his wedding band.  After a few visits to some jewelry stores, he had it narrowed down to a comfort-style Tungsten band.*

The rings ranged anywhere from $200-$350, which was well within our budget for his wedding band.  But, because we’re compulsive and not impulsive, we didn’t buy anything and we went home to research tungsten.

As it turns out, tungsten is one of the cheapest metals on earth.  In fact, when you pay for Tungsten jewelry, in essence all you’re paying for is the labor required to make the jewelry.  But, what’s really cool about it is that it is heavy.  So, it’s not cheap feeling at all.  There are a few downsides, like it can’t be resized.

With our new knowledge in hand, my fiancé did some comparison shopping.  What he found was a Tungsten ring that looked identical to one of the bands he had tried on at one of the jewelry stores.  The only difference?  It wasn’t $300.  It was $14.99.

So, my fiancé ordered two different sizes (Every jewelry store we went to sized him as something different).  We ordered it from Amazon, which has an excellent return policy, so that we could make sure it was good quality.  When the ring arrived, we were really wowed.


We decided to gather opinions about this ring.  So, my fiancé brought the ring with him to work.  He then proceeded to ask the very classy question, “How much do you think we paid for that?  No seriously, you won’t offend me, just guess!”  An woman he works with who is very into expensive jewelry guessed at least $400.

When we asked our wedding coordinator / neighbor, who describes herself as a “Tiffany Girl” said she thought it cost at least $800.

Revealing the price, it sets off a shitstorm of opinions.  These opinions range from “Wow, I would’ve never guessed!  That’s a great ring for that price!”  to “I just couldn’t buy a wedding band that is $14.99.  It feels like you don’t value your relationship.”

When I told my grandmother, I think she may have assumed that we were so poor that that’s all we could afford, and then proceeded to offer him my deceased grandfather’s wedding band.

Opinions have definitely leaned towards the “But it’s a wedding band.  You HAVE to pay more than $14.99 for a wedding ring!”

Well, we disagree.  In fact, my fiancé is keeping both the sizes he ordered, so that if he ever, ahem, outgrows the smaller one, he can just use the bigger one.

So, what do you think, lovely readers?  Do you think we don’t value our marriage because we’re only paying $14.99 for a wedding ring?  Should we pay $300 for the same ring just to demonstrate that it “means more” to us?


* By the way, if you have never tried a comfort band, they really are incredible.  It’s hard to describe it, but his ring really is incredibly comfortable.


Crazy Week Randomness

by Melissa on August 12, 2011

Wowza, this has been a crazy week.  Work has been stretching well into my evening hours, not leaving much time to schedule posts!  But alas, here’s some random wedding-related thoughts for ya.

  • We went shopping for wedding bands for my fiance two weeks ago.  He really likes the tungsten-style rings and he saw two (one at two different stores) that he really liked.  They were in the $250-$300 range, which seemed really reasonable, but  we wanted to do some price comparisons, so we didn’t buy any right away.  Well, he came home and did some research and found that tungsten is one of the cheapest metals around. There is no way that a tungsten ring should be that much money.  The metal is so cheap, all you’re really paying for is someone to make it. A few quick searches, and he found a nearly identical tungsten wedding band on for $14.99.  Seriously, $14.99.  So, he ordered one to try the size, and holy shit! It’s a phenomenal looking and expensive feeling ring! He took it to work to show it to his coworkers and pulled the ever-classy “how much do you think this was?”  People almost always said in the $300-$400 range.  And, a neighbor of ours, who describes herself as a “Tiffany Jewelry Girl” said she thought the ring was around $500.  They’re all floored when we tell them that it’s $14.99.  Now, one of Ken’s coworkers said that he wouldn’t feel comfortable buying something so cheap to symbolize a marriage.  But, that kind of reasoning reminds me of the early days of wedding planning when we decided to serve picnic-style food at our wedding, and some jerkface wrote in a wedding forum “I don’t think that hot dogs and hamburgers can communicate that you’re not taking your nuptials seriously.”  And what, foodie food does represent that?  And a $500 ring will represent it better than a $14.99 ring?

  • I have my hair and makeup trial scheduled for Sunday.  I’m excited, but I’m really at a loss for how to do my hair! I definitely want it down in some way, but I’m being very indecisive.

  • Speaking of hair and makeup, some places charge more for hair or makeup (alone!) than I paid for my wedding dress! Luckily I found a non-wedding wire makeup artist online.  I hope she works out.  Her prices are so much more reasonable.

  • I have determined that EBay sellers and Craigslist sellers dramatically inflate their prices for some things.  For instance, clear glass bud-vases range anywhere from $1.35-$4.00 each on Ebay (when buying in a lot of vases). The most I spent on a bud vase this weekend during some thrift store runs was 75 cents!

  • My family is having a shower for me at the end of August in Pittsburgh.  I’m not really the type of person that does well like having to be “on” for such a long period of time.  For instance, sitting in front of a big group of people while they all watch my reaction as I open gifts.  And my family is troubling themselves so much with details about this wedding.  Asking me how I want the cake decorated when we’re not even going to have a decorated wedding cake! Or asking me about what colored napkins I want when we’re just going to have plain white paper napkins at the wedding.  The simpler, the better!  Also, just out of curiosity, how many wedding showers have you been to that men have been invited?

  • I ordered 30 tablecloths for the tables at the wedding.  Much cheaper than renting them!  I got a shipping notification for them the other day.  51 pounds of tablecloths headed my way!  That is a lot of freakin tablecloths!

Whew.  Okay, I guess that’s about it for now.


I had one first, Kate!

by Melissa on November 17, 2010

Okay, okay, I know Princess Diana actually had it first, but thank you Kate for letting everyone know that sapphire engagement rings are wicked cool!  I’m sure that most of you have heard that Prince William proposed to his girlfriend Kate Middleton with an 18 carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds.

Related News Stories (both mention the online store where my fiancé bought my sapphire engagement ring, The Natural Sapphire Company!

My ring (photo taken at the Leaning Tower of Pisa in early October, just two days after my fiancé proposed!

Ring at Leaning Tower of Pisa

and the upcoming Princess Kate’s Sapphire Engagement Ring:


Kate Middleton's RingPhoto: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


Okay, okay, so her ring is a bit bigger.  No jealousy here.  Just much love for colored gemstones as engagement rings!