When it comes to engagement rings, I’ve been through it all. I went through four rings in the first six months of my engagement. Yes, you read that correctly — FOUR RINGS!

It wasn’t the princess in me demanding a bigger, better diamond. Instead, it was the deception that occurs in the jewelry industry, particularly with engagement rings.

My first diamond was not the one my fiance actually purchased, proving that every kiss does not begin with Kay. (Months later, stories popped up in the news about couples experiencing similar diamond-swap issues with Kay Jewelers.)

In an attempt to wash our hands of the big commercial jewelers, we purchased a second-hand ring from a vintage store near our home, hoping to reset the diamond in the original setting (my fiance had gone to so much trouble picking out the perfect design on the first attempt). Sadly, the store’s owners also deceived us, lying about the quality and history of the diamond we purchased. However, we didn’t find out the truth until after we had reset the second-hand diamond in the original setting from Kay. Ultimately, though, we were able to return the second-hand diamond.

Finally, we found a reputable, independent jeweler who worked with us to design my dream ring in both design — a simple solitaire — and quality; it’s the one that now permanently adorns my finger.

But this isn’t a story about the painful six months of having a ring, then not having a ring, and then having a ring again. Instead, it’s about something that my dad said to me during that time.

I was on the phone with him one day, particularly irritated about the latest ring issue. I said, “I know it’s not Blake’s fault, but part of me is so annoyed that he didn’t take the time to do his research and really shop around!” My dad’s response? He said that even if I had a cubic zirconia ring on my finger, it’s about what the ring symbolizes more so than what the quality, price or size of the diamond is.

Now that I have the fourth and final ring, I’ve been reflecting back on that conversation with a clearer head, and my dad was so right. At this point I’ll take whatever Blake puts on my finger because all I really want is to marry him. Whatever he uses to symbolize that I’m his is fine by me, as long as I do get to be his.

My ring is much more than a piece of jewelry for other females to ogle and sigh at; it’s much more than the size of my diamond.

What my engagement ring symbolizes to me:

  • An unbreakable promise

I’d known after dating Blake for only a few months that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Near the time of his proposal, I used to ask him to marry me almost every night. He always said it was too soon, until suddenly it wasn’t. When we were dating, though, fights had the ability to break us up. However, now that he’s asked and I’ve said yes, we’ve agreed to stand by each other no matter what; we’ve also agreed to exhibit kindness, loyalty, honesty and trust toward each other. Perhaps these agreements were never spoken aloud, but my ring is a promise of all that is unsaid but still understood. On Dec. 31, 2016, we will say our promises aloud, and my ring will continue to be a symbol of it all. Just looking down at it makes me smile because it makes me think of the love we have for one another.

  • The story of our love

Not only does my ring symbolize our love to me, it also symbolizes our love to the rest of the world. I gush when a stranger sees that I’m engaged and asks me all about my fiance, the proposal, and our wedding plans; then I get to share our story, reliving the best parts. It’s not the size of the diamond that I want people to see; I just want people to see that there’s something on my finger and know that I’ve found the person I love more than anyone else in this world.

  • A lifetime partnership

There’s a lot of hype in the media about the thrill of being single — and therefore carefree — in your twenties. I don’t look down at my finger and see a ball and chain, though. I see Blake and me sitting on a wraparound porch watching our grandchildren play in the yard. Perhaps the vision is a bit idealistic, but I’m much happier subscribing to the idea of growing old with my best friend than subscribing to the idea of sleeping around during the next decade of my life.

  • A new family

My ring will soon symbolize a marriage and along with a marriage comes a new family and a new last name. It’s been said that you can’t pick your family, and that’s true. I picked my fiance, but the rest of his family is just a part of the deal. Regardless of any differences between us all, I’ll soon be a Tagget for life, and I’m happy to grow my family, filling my life with people I care for and who care for me.

  • The start of a new life

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that Blake and I are moving to Colorado after our wedding. Not only will I soon be married, but I’ll soon be living across the country. Blake and I will be building our adult lives together, and my ring symbolizes our commitment to follow the other anywhere.

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Are you married or engaged? What does your ring mean to you?

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