Or maybe you are a butch girl, but you still want an outward sign that you are engaged. I am fairly certain that my girlfriend, who is the most chivalrous and romantic boyish woman I know, will want some engagement bling (if for no other reason than she would never pass up an opportunity to receive a gift). She wouldn’t want a traditional diamond ring like the one I fall asleep dreaming of every night. Maybe I’ll get her a subtler, more masculine engagement ring or perhaps a fancy pre-nuptial watch, but I’m fairly certain I won’t be getting off the hook entirely.
I’d be remiss (and probably get lots of nasty emails) if I didn’t address the issue of ethics and diamonds. It is true that many of the diamonds that grace the fingers of American and European women were mined by children in forced labor and perpetuate civil wars in Africa. I agree that there is nothing romantic about those so-called “blood diamonds.” Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives. Consider other gemstones like rubies or sapphires. If a sapphire is good enough for princess-to-be Kate Middleton, who received the late Princess Diana’s 18-carat sapphire engagement ring, it’s probably good enough for your gal.
Heirloom diamonds are another way to avoid the ethical quagmire that comes with purchasing a new diamond. If your lady doesn’t exactly share your grandmother’s taste, no worries, have the family jewels reset in style that suits your future wife. If you won’t be inheriting diamonds any time soon, you can still get an antique rock by scouring estate sales and vintage jewelers. And, there are some jewelers like Harry Winston that mine diamonds in Canada rather than Africa, which means you can buy a diamond with a clear conscience.
While I am blinded by diamonds, I am not blind to the fact that some lesbians (and straight folks, for that matter), may not want a flashy engagement ring. Maybe diamonds just aren’t your style. Perhaps you’d feel more “engaged” with matching tattoos or a simple private promise between the two of you. Or maybe you plan to exchange classic matching gold bands on your wedding day and skip any engagement jewelry altogether. To each her own!
What do you think? Do you want a diamond engagement ring? Are you planning to pop the question this holiday season? How did you and your lady decide to tie the knot?
Meg Streit is a full-time freelance journalist in Chicago.