Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Two Months Salary




I have noticed that out here in blogland the subject of engagement rings can quickly turn into a heated topic. There are basically two camps. On one side we have the people who think the bigger the better and won't even consider saying yes unless there is a giant rock placed in front of them. Then there are the people who don't need an expensive token to know how much there significant other loves and cares for them. I fall into the latter and would have been happy with a gumball machine trinket (turns out I love my ring even though some people might not think it's "up to par" as far as engagement rings go).

It is pretty clear to see what side Lee Gainer is on. Just take a look at the artist's statement for Gainer's series "Two Months Salary" -


Gainer used the "two month salary" guidline to come up with a selection of rings for different occupations based on their annual salaries. It is a really interesting and thought-provoking concept. And it's a little sad that we let the DeBeers ad campaign ALL the way back in 1947 so warp our sense of what is important. If you can't tell that your partner loves you until you have something sparkly in your hand then there might be a problem.

{via Jezebel}

12 comments:

Color Me Green said...

i'm with you. now that i notice engagement rings i can't help but stare at them and wonder why anyone would actually want a humongous rock(s) on your finger! i don't get it - it just looks flashy and like it would get in your way. i want something small as can be and worth less than Two Weeks salary!

Veiled Vows said...

For real, I would be afraid of getting it caught in my hair. Sometimes I physically wound Captain (accidentally, of course) with the itty bitty one I have! I couldn't imagine the damage I might cause with something larger.

accordionsandlace said...

While purchasing our wedding bands this weekend, my dad got into some heated debate over the value of diamonds with the jeweler (who was his buddy) which resulted in the jeweler running to his safe and pulling out a $200 000 diamond ring and waving it in our faces. It was totally ridiculous looking and I all I could say was that I would take my own eye out if I wore it.

Anyway, problematizing De Beers and how they set a standard that is now accepted as "truth" is really important. We are apparently huge shit disturbers because I have no engagement ring at all, and we both felt strongly about my not having one. We're making a lot of nontraditional decisions but we were FLOORED by the fact that this one was the one that people could not accept, even people who identify as progressive. It's crazy just how conformist the whole engagement ring thing is.

Krista said...

My ring is almost 3/4 carat. Not quite, but almost. And I don't think it's itty-bitty. In fact, I think it's a good size (for me). The size says nothing about our love. And anyone who thinks so is shallow or does not understand why material possessions do not equal love.

Urgh.

Plus, 2 months salary is A LOT of money.

Holly said...

Even though I'm not at all a 'big rock' kinda gal - in fact, I'm not even a fan of diamonds - I wound up with a massive, sparkly engagement ring. And I adore it. Why? Because my fiance - who jolly well knows my simpler taste - wanted to welcome me into his family by giving me his great-grandmother's engagement ring. Which would happen to be the aforementioned enormous glitterball (yet antique and beautifully set) diamond. All this to say that some of us, while belonging firmly to the 'less is more' camp, end up inadvertently bumping shoulders will the 'more is more' crowd.

Sidenote: as it's a family ring, he didn't have to pay for anything but its re-sizing, which is fabulous, as we're both very poor grad students and would never in a million lightyears would have been able to buy my beautiful ring! Gosh, we're just exploding that 'two months' salary' crap left right and centre...

Marie said...

I've got no idea how much my ring cost but I do agree with you that it in no way matters how much it did cost. If you are so concerned about how much is being spent on your ring rather than the decision to get married then I would have some concerns about the state of a relationship. Relationships aren't determined by ostentatious displays of wealth and because someone is happy to spend two months salary on you does not mean they love you more then someone who only spends one month.

I think the most important thing about a ring is that it suits the wearer and also yes that it won't do anyone any bodily damage!

c-rock said...

this is such a crazy topic! my fiance and i had a good laugh last night at the idea of him spending two months of his graduate student "salary" on an engagement ring. what do you live on for those months? and more importantly, why should it still just be up to him?

i can't understand why more people wouldn't want their ring to be specific to them, rather than one that at any given moment could be on a million girls. i get that my bright orange upside-down garnet isn't for everyone, but i think that i'd rather be rocking it out as myself than as a girl in some ring i would never have worn if i wasn't engaged.

Michele said...

I've always found the '2 months salary' "rule" revolting.

Our whole wedding won't even cost 2 months salary, and we don't make very much money!

love-v said...

Something I read about the price of engagement rings makes sense in the context of the 1940s. An expensive engagement ring was a good indicator of a man's commitment to the relationship, or an indicator that if his fiancee slept with him he wouldn't leave her. Engagement ring as insurance policy - how much was a woman's virginity worth? (No comment about the diamond industry).

Amanda said...

Amen!

Before Nick and I started dating he dated a girl who claimed she would never marry someone who didn't spend at least 25k on a ring for her. Then, when we got together and the idea of marriage started coming up, he claimed he would love to marry me but could never afford a "nice" ring. I said, "Are you kidding me?! Who do you think I am?"

We went into an antique jewelry store in our neighborhood, I picked out my absolute favorite ring, and it cost under a thousand dollars. I couldn't be happier.

The idea that the size of a diamond determines how much somebody loves you is completely ludicrous to me.

Victoria said...

Also, I honestly can't tell the difference between the rings in that series except for the A list actor ones. So... it's really important how expensive it is but most people can't tell how expensive it is...

There are plenty of CZs out there and a lot of difference in sizes and quality so it's pretty impossible to tell how much someone spent. Good quality .5ct will cost 10x lousy quality 3ct, etc.

The impossibility is a good thing.

I don't understand why people insist that they can tell and that it's important.

Traveling bride said...

Why does it matter if your ring is big or small. I always said I'd be happy with a silver band as long as we got to spend forever together. However my partner had different plans.

He however told - he wanted to do it for me - he know I loved all jewellery, particularly antiques. He modelled mine off one in a local antique shop, even the off coloured stone (not white or coloured). He said that the stones are hard to get (even thought they are cheaper), it was the only one in the colour he wanted. He said he was really happy he got it for me and I wasn’t allowed to argue with him – so I shut up and I love the ring because I know he spent 6 months planning designing researching and making it

However the gloss can be taken off when people make comments about how big it is and how he must have spent a bomb how is it anyones business, I'm getting married - so many more important things to talk about.