All of a sudden, everyone’s talking about making a different choice when it comes to an engagement ring. And that’s not good news for diamond marketers whose products have, for years, been the automatic choice for lovers about to tie the knot.

If you’re a guy about to propose to your lady love, will you look like a schnook if you offer her an engagement ring without the sparkle of a diamond? It may depend on how much importance your girl places on tradition — or how much she discounts marketing messages. One of the main reasons women have always expected diamonds is that mega-diamond merchant De Beers has spent millions over many years on ad programs proclaiming that diamonds are “a mark of achievement” for a man and that “diamonds are forever.”

It may not be worth dropping several months of your salary on a diamond if your girl doesn’t really care about one. But be careful, if she does, selecting an alternative could put you in the dog house, or perhaps even result in a “no” to your proposal.

Kate Middleton was quite glad to get a huge sapphire ring (once Princess Diana’s) on her engagement rather than a big diamond. If you’re thinking of making an original choice of ring, consider these alternatives to the a diamond engagement ring.

  • Man-Made Diamonds
  • An Eternity Knot Ring
  • A Claddagh Ring
  • Another Lovely Gemstone
  • An Heirloom From Your Family

claddagh, an alternative engagement ring

More advice for the guy seeking a unique engagement ring here.

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