apocryphal today
apocryphal today

‘There are no rules’: why diamond engagement rings are no longer the only option | Australian lifestyle

A bended knee, a scattering of rose petals and one blinding white stone. This may have once been the vision of an ideal engagement, but Jeremy Chiang and his fiance, Bertin Huynh, decided they would do things a little differently. They both wanted the opportunity to propose to each other and to wear symbolic rings they had designed.

Chiang and Huynh settled on sapphires and rose gold – “we wanted something more subtle than yellow gold,” says Chiang – and complementary but different designs. Huynh’s ring is an “elaborate, molten design, he wanted the ring to look as if it grew out of the Earth,” in line with his love for nature. It’s set with a large Australian sapphire and a smaller, pale blue diamond. Chiang’s, meanwhile, is simpler and smoother. It also has a sapphire and diamond, though smaller and set off-kilter.

For some couples, the question is not about the design of their rings, but whether to have engagement rings at all. The writer and advocate Bri Lee and her partner wanted to avoid the intertwining of love and material displays. “I’m a romantic – I love love – but the wedding-industrial complex is just such a beast,” she says. “To me, important things like intimacy, commitment and adoration just don’t need to go hand-in-hand with conspicuous consumption. I can only speak for western cultures, of course, where an engagement ring is often the beginning of a long demonstration, often involving purchases.”

In the western world, it’s now difficult to extricate the idea of an engagement from a ring – and specifically a diamond ring. But it’s widely acknowledged that the tradition of the diamond as the engagement stone is a construct of relatively recent history. And pop culture has been a big player.

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