Vintage Wedding Jewelry
Q: I would have been honored to have a ring from my husband's family. A
ring with some history. Mine was bought new, but several of my cousins
have used diamonds from rings that their grandmothers and
great-grandmothers owned. Some have used the entire ring and others
have had rings designed around the "vintage" stones.
A:The custom with engagement and wedding rings is to wear them all the time for the rest of your life (or at least for the duration of the marriage). If your girlfriend loves the ring, she will be happy to wear it so often. If she doesn't, whenever it catches her eye she may feel disappointed, even though she is happily married. (I've been happily married all my adult life. I actually don't want to wear _any_ ring all the time, and neither does my husband, so we agreed that neither of us would wear wedding or engagement rings. This has never caused any problems, either between us or socially. My husband has given me several nice rings over the years for birthdays and Christmas, which have memories attached, but none of them are wedding or engagement rings.) Anyway--in order to sell rings, gowns, flowers, cakes, dishes, linens, hotel rentals, and a myriad of other things, the wedding industry has pumped up the bride's selection of these items into a REALLY BIG DEAL. Some women, if they have the time and money, spend an entire year shopping for their weddings. In fact, some become obnoxious and temperamental about "their day," insisting that everyone (including the groom) do whatever they want not only at the wedding but for months beforehand. I hope your girlfriend is more mature. But even so the days when the man bought (or inherited) the ring by himself and the woman was thrilled to get it no matter what it looked like, are over. (I've been in jewelry stores where female customers were shopping for the rings by themselves or with their mothers, telling the clerk they planned to buy and stick the fiance with the bill later.) In other words your girlfriend will expect to have some say in choosing the ring. If she's shopped around and your mother's ring is still her favorite, then maybe that's the one for her to wear. Overall, though, I think the safest thing would be for you and her to shop for the official engagement and wedding rings together. If your mother still wants to give your girlfriend her ring in _addition_ to the engagement ring, I'd let her do it. I'd also recommend that you not buy the ring from your mother for this purpose. If this is a free gift from your mother, and it is not an engagement ring that symbolizes your relationship with your girlfriend, then your girlfriend _will_ be thrilled to get such a nice gift. People don't expect to choose most gifts for themselves, and she won't have to wear it every day. She'll be grateful to your mother and well disposed to a good relationship--rather than feeling your mother might be trying to interfere.
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