I was planning to write this post soon anyway, but it’s interesting that two of my favorite bloggers, Tammy from Rowdy Kittens and Miss Minimalist, have recently written great articles about their wedding rings. Those are both well worth checking out if you’re looking for inspiration to avoid or get out of the consumerist trap of spending thousands of dollars on diamonds.
My husband and I got engaged almost eight years ago. We spent two thousand dollars on a diamond ring (happily, we had the money to write a check for it, but that’s still an awful lot of money when I look back on it now). Then in 2007, we decided to sell it, put the proceeds into our HSA and an IRA, and we bought a simulated diamond ring from Diamond Nexus Labs for $231 (that same ring now sells for about $600, although the price of a loose stone is still roughly what it was when I bought my ring. But the price of gold has gone up from about $650/oz when we bought the ring to over $1300/oz now).
The post I wrote about selling my ring generated quite a bit of controversy, including a lot of discussion about whether Diamond Nexus Labs is reputable and/or greenwashing their product. In response, I wrote another post about the controversy, and it continues to be one of the most-frequently used Google searches that leads people to my site.
I continue to be un-affiliated with DNL. I’m just a customer, and have never received any compensation from them for anything I’ve written on my site. But I did have another experience with them recently, and I thought some of you might be interested in the details.
I’ve done a fairly decent job of keeping my ring clean and in good shape, but my life involves a lot of time spent with my hands in soapy water or digging in the dirt, and my ring was starting to show a bit of wear. Back when I had a ring from the Shane Company, I could stop in at the store (a 15 minute walk from our old house) every six months or so and have them clean and check the ring. That option isn’t available with a ring purchased online from a jeweler in another state. So my ring had gone 3.5 years without any sort of professional attention. Then last summer, I was lifting heavy weights without gloves and while wearing my ring (I know, not so smart…). After I was finished, I noticed that the underside of the ring was bent. And then a few weeks ago, after a heavy gardening session, I noticed that the stone was a bit loose in its setting (I’m pretty sure I whacked it on the wheelbarrow). Anyway, I decided it needed to be looked at by a jeweler, and I called DNL about a repair.
The rep I spoke with emailed me a form to complete and mail back with the ring. I neglected to ask how much the repair would cost (I know, not like me… I’m blaming that on pregnancy brain). I mailed my ring back to them, and a few days later got an email stating what would be done to it and a total cost of $45. One of the things listed was rhodium plating, which I had not requested. So I called DNL to see if that was part of the charge. The lady explained that the rhodium plating was standard practice after a jeweler works on a white gold piece, in order to restore the finish (I remember the Shane Company telling me the same thing). I said no problem, that it was my mistake for not asking about the total price before I sent my ring in for repair. But the lady offered to deduct $15 from the charge anyway, and reduced my total bill to $30.
I got my ring back this week, and it’s perfect again. The bottom that I bent out of shape lifting weights is perfectly round again, the stone is tight, and all the gunk that had accumulated on the ring is gone. They did an excellent job of repairing the damage I had dished out over the years, and my ring looks as good as new. Not bad for $30.
The ring is sitting in my jewelry box now, because I’ve decided that my plain white gold wedding band (which we got from the Shane Company for $40 in 2003) fits my lifestyle better right now than a solitaire engagement ring. For the time while my ring was being repaired, I noticed that my plain band doesn’t get dirt stuck in it like the solitaire does, and I never worry about bashing it against things like wheelbarrows (yes, it’s a bit scratched up, especially compared with the newly-restored engagement ring, but that’s ok). My life is messy (I live on a mini-farm – of course it is!), and a plain band seems a bit more practical for now. I still love the look of the engagement ring, and I plan to wear it when we’re out and about, doing things that don’t involve digging carrots and potatoes out of the dirt, lifting weights, or washing dishes.
My experience with DNL’s customer service has been excellent both times that I’ve needed their assistance (I had to get the ring re-sized right after we bought it, and they were great then too). I feel that $30 was more than fair for all the work they did on the ring recently, and overall my experience with them has been great. I still don’t claim to know anything about their environmental claims, but I do know that I feel more comfortable buying a stone made in a lab in North America as opposed to a rock mined out of the ground in Africa. And I can no longer even imagine spending thousands of dollars for a tiny little rock, regardless of where it originated.