Talking to your love about Cubic Zirconia or other non-mined-diamond engagement alternatives

In the last century, the engagement ring has become a symbol of one of the most important life decisions you and your intended will make.

It’s a big enough deal that even a man ready for marriage might not propose because he doesn’t know what to do exactly-- so pay special attention if you’re a lady with marriage in mind after a number of years together with your partner… and he hadn't yet proposed.

We’re talking about such a potent symbol of forever that many today believe it has always been necessary to present an engagement ring as a precursor to a wedding-- particularly a diamond engagement ring.

Reality: neither of those traditions are that old.

In large part as a result of the trending demand created by billions of US dollars in advertising spent by the diamond cartel in the last century, natural mined diamonds are highly valued by many people-- and therefore highly priced by sellers (despite some factors that limit intrinsic mined natural diamond value to far below what the average person thinks it could be).

You could very well say that couples today are under a certain degree of pressure from peers, family and society to demonstrate their love and commitment by way of the diamond engagement ring.

Hit the brakes.

You have options.

They are important.

We believe that couples are adept at creating their own ‘traditions’. 

Just as you can create your own unique wedding experience, you can choose an engagement ring that actually reflects your values (individually and as a couple).

One of the most important things couples can do before getting married-- as a foundation for your future happiness and sanity together-- is to figure out what those values are.

Then you can apply those values to all sorts of mutual decisions you’ll make together over the course of your relationship!

We like to think of the engagement ring discussion as an experimental ‘test-drive’ for soon-to-be-married couples to talk honestly about your thoughts and feelings and work together to make an early mutual decision that will greatly affect you both.

You may decide NO engagement ring is wanted, needed, or desired.
    That’s cool.
        You wouldn’t be alone. 

And while we likely won’t get to have you as a customer…hey, we’re gonna survive.

You may decide it’s a mined, natural ‘traditional’ diamond or nothing. The truth is, no matter the 'identical look'...some people simply don't want anything but the conventional when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime gift. 

We still won’t get you as a customer there, either. And while that’s less cool, it’s your choice so go on with your bad self.

We spoke recently with a gentleman who said his girlfriend had been very vocal in a number of conversations with friends that natural diamonds are the only way to go for an engagement ring-- if the guy is 'serious' about marriage

He'd heard her say other, cheaper options were no good. 

And yet he was vehemently anti-diamond for environmental and humanitarian reasons. What should he do? We advised him to read this article!

As a result of reading this article and/or discussing the topics herein together, a couple may decide that she’d prefer a high-quality cubic zirconia instead of a diamond. Or they can decide that a colored natural stone more rare than diamonds is actually her style.  Either is fine, and the below discussion talking points could help with either option!

Let's say you're the partner in the relationship planning to give an engagement ring gift and propose marriage to your significant other.

You don't like mined diamonds but aren't sure what to do?

Let's discuss how you can talk to your beloved about 5A cubic zirconia from and other non-mined-diamond alternative options for an engagement ring.

Honesty is important

Or first tip: don’t mislead the person you want as your life partner.

If it’s not a mined natural diamond, we feel like it's imperative that you should say so to the WEARER.
    Set the expectation before the gift or be sure to say so when you’re giving it.
        You don’t want to be misunderstood. 

There are a number of diamond substitutes in a clear/white stone (real and artificial). 

Some look a lot like a natural mined diamond-- such as a moissanite-- and look at least a little like a diamond (example a white sapphire stone from our sister company

And some options look pretty much identical to a perfect, mined natural diamond (a lab-created gem is an expensive alternative that is nonetheless cheaper than a mined diamond, and on the less-expensive end of this spectrum you find our own proprietary 5A cubic zirconia stones).

There isn’t anything wrong with surprises when it comes to one partner picking out an engagement ring to give the other as a surprise. 

But frankly, we do NOT counsel our customers to give one of our engagement rings as a marriage proposal gift and say nothing about its material makeup

Yes, she’s gonna see it and believe it’s a diamond ring. If you buy the right carat size, so will everyone else-- thanks to what we call “The Diamond Mystique”. Indeed, in informal surveys we’ve done over the years, most couples who buy one of our engagement rings simply let everyone else believe she’s wearing a diamond. Some explicitly lie, some don’t…but while many post the rings we make on instagram, few are hashtagging our company!.

We believe the buyer and teh wearer both need and deserve to know our product isn’t a diamond-- but that it’s no one else’s business. Here’s the reality: the diamond cartel has expertly linked the concept of engagement in the minds of millions of people with a price tag (months of salary anyone?)...and any cubic zirconia stone is significantly less expensive than diamonds (real or artificial). 

Even our superior-grade, diamond-quality 5A cubic zirconia stones are relatively cheap at $75 USD compared to what someone may pay for a comparable-looking real diamond priced at over $50,000.

If you don’t tell her and she finds out, in today’s day and age there’s a chance she will be understandably upset.

Even if she wanted a diamond alternative. Even if she's not a diamond fan. Even if she shares his environmental, humanitarian or other concerns about diamonds.

Say nothing and there's a lie between you-- even if it was a lie of omission. We’d call it a lie, too, if you allowed our stone to ‘fool her’ by playing on societal expectations for a diamond-- and that's no bueno.

By all means, fool others. That’s a given. But know that the diamond has become so integral in our culture's understanding of engagement that unless you say otherwise, she will assume it is a diamond. And no matter what your intentions are when you choose a diamond substitute, no one could blame her for thinking you were dishonest by not saying anything and letting her believe it's a diamond.

Frankly, we think she’d be right to be upset.

Unfortunately, she—and everyone close to her—may think you do not value her.

You're also gonna contend with people who think you are ‘cheap’.

They will not see you as frugal or practical

Once you are proven to have been dishonest about this switcharoo, you’ll be tainted. 

You could even lose your fianceé.

And it was likely all so unnecessary.

Mutual collusion is key

However, when she’s ‘in the know’ as your gift recipient…everything can change.

If you talk to your love about’s 5A cubic zirconia as an engagement ring alternative, she has a chance to consider the choice to be progressive, non-conformist, frugal or practical, and your shared secret-- especially when you’re able to say that you don’t see a diamond ring as a practical investment and you’d prefer the two of you together to spend the extra money on something that will build your future together better than a chunk of carbon

When you do it together, in tandem you’re more likely to customize a unique engagement ring that becomes a heartfelt symbol of your values-- and the life you envision together-- than if the occasion of committing your lives together is celebrated with a surprise.

  • [  ] TO DO 1: Get her buy-in that what’s coming won’t be a natural mined diamond.
  • [  ] TO DO 2: Buy the engagement ring.
  • [  ] TO DO 3: Keep her guessing about when she’ll get it.

  • LOL, we always say the best surprise is the timing and place of the gift.

    But diamonds are an investment, right?

    Nope. There is a glut of real diamonds in the market. Since the early 1900s, diamond producers either loosely or rigidly arranged in a cartel monopoly, have controlled the mined diamond market. And the way they were able to prop up made-up ‘values’ is disappearing the way of the dodo bird. Recent changes in the industry-- including a flood of lab-grown diamonds from China and other countries-- have reduced the selling price of diamonds even further. 

    According to the Better Diamond Initiative, diamonds are not uniformly evaluated or priced. There is really no standardized scale for assessing the value of a diamond. Even the 4C’s (Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity) evaluation results in a mind-boggling number of combinations. It is impossible to establish an objective price. For the last 100 years, mining companies would sell for what they could…retailers would sell for what they could…and resellers trying to unload an unwanted diamond often found the secondary market was fetching a price much, much, much less than what they initially paid for that diamond at retail price. Just ask someone you know that was recently divorced and wanted to get rid of the diamond ring.

    We encourage couples to talk frankly about the value of diamonds before they decide on an engagement ring-- especially if one or more partners is already convinced the real value simply isn’t there the way we all learned at one time (via advertising). The question you each have to ask is, What value do you put on a mined natural diamond? What do you think it says about your relationship?

    If you can get on the same page with this decision and resist outside pressure, your relationship will be stronger. Like we said, it‘s good problem-solving practice for many future conversations to have and decisions you can together make during marriage. You’ll learn about how you work together as a couple.

    Many couples who have this conversation settle on a lab-grown or lab-created diamond. The same look and feel but cheaper and more ethically-sourced than a mined, natural diamond? Sounds good to a growing number of people. 

    We don’t make or sell lab diamonds, but we don’t discourage people from choosing that either. As noted earlier, it’s cool. We’ll survive if you don’t buy from

    Conflict diamonds? Ethical diamonds? What?

    It’s been over 15 years since Leonardo Di Caprio starred in the Academy Award nominated film, Blood Diamond (link to our review of the movie).

    The movie reveals how diamonds finance violent rebel movements. It caused a stir in the industry. And a call for change. It’s a riveting film worth watching if you haven’t.

    Got a future fianceé on the fence about choosing natural minded diamonds for an engagement ring or other jewelry piece? Have a movie night and watch “Blood Diamond”. You won’t have to say much. In fact, if you haven’t seen it, don’t watch it until you are together. You will want to talk after you have seen it. No spoilers here. The film, directed by Edward Zwick, will speak for itself.

    Blood Diamond was released six years after the formation of the Kimberley Process in 2000: The Kimberley Process started when southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, to discuss ways to stop the trade in ‘conflict diamonds' and ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments. The Kimberley Process is a noble initiative that indeed has created some positive humanitarian change, but if we’re being honest-- it’s well-known that improvement has been limited in its mandate and implementation. And the process has been only infrequently updated in the last two plus decades.

    The value of that movie in our opinion was that the world became more aware of the human rights abuses, dangerous labor practices, terrorist funding, money laundering, and environmental destruction wrought by the mined diamond industry. 

    There are institutions and diamond producers making solid efforts to produce ethical diamonds. However, abuses continue. It is difficult to be 100% certain where a diamond originates, how it got to the marketplace, and what it cost in terms of human rights and life to get there. How will she feel as a diamond glimmers on her finger after learning about its bloody history?

    Millennials ain’t buying it

    If your intended is a millennial, this conversation is likely gonna be easier.

    Millennials are sooooooooooo not falling in love with diamonds. 

    They might love their social media, but diamonds are definitely being unceremoniously shoved out of the typical Millennial friend circle

    Girl’s best friend?
        Not even close. 

    Cracked even has a decidedly unfriendly idea about why Millennials are gleefully killing the diamond industry (note: NSFW language in video).

    According to Business Insider, Millennials have derailed the diamond industry with “evolving” shopping tastes that have challenged stigmas around the alternative diamond market.

    If she’s a Millennial, there’s a decent chance she’ll be insulted if you buy her a mined natural diamond instead of an alternative! 

    That said, we recommend engagement ring purchasers stick to precious metals like platinum, gold or .925 sterling silver for the band. Forget “gold-plated” as an engagement ring (after all the metal has the real value


    It's personal, period

    When I first worked on this article with our content marketing team, I did so because I promised it to a caller with whom I'd discussed some of these topics verbally and briefly on the phone.

    An affluent man who was thinking of getting engaged-- but not sure his bride-to-be would happily accept the 'non-diamond' engagement ring he wanted to get and give her. He was completely anti-diamond for humanitarian and environmental reasons. Plus thought diamonds were a horrible investment.

    He was asking for help because he was torn between selecting a mined natural diamond (despite his own reluctance), an expensive color stone (his preference), and an inexpensive diamond substitute such as those made and sold by our company.

    Though he agreed to read the article...he was super hesitant to say he'd talk with his diamond-loving, alternatives-bashing girlfriend about the topic.

    Though he agreed to read the article...he was super hesitant to say he'd talk with his diamond-loving, alternatives-bashing girlfriend about the topic.

    Even though figuring this out was the main reason he had already decided to marry her...but he didn't want to flub this up.

    This whole scenario really gives some insight into the power diamonds hold over the imagination a century after first gaining popularity as engagement rings.

    The diamond cartel ads over the years have been so powerful that even when we can prove in a laboratory setting that even a jeweler with decades of experience can't tell the difference between a perfect, flawless diamond and our 5A diamond-quality cubic zirconia stone-- unaided, from a visual-only inspection-- many people just assume it must be some kind of gimmick, because who ever heard of one stone sold for $50,000 USD and another costing $75 looking visually identical?

    You gotta feel for the guy right?

    From my convo…in so many ways, it sounds like he and his future "Mrs" have values that are very similar. I did point out to him that one of the reasons for that alignment seemed to be a long history of talking things out.

    Because when couples make a commitment to conversation, I believe a transformation occurs over time-- from good to great.

    And this conversation could be great practice for a marriage worth having.

    Mrs. Cubic Zirconia