But that doesn’t stop people from making passive-aggressive digs or flat-out rude comments about smaller stones or less conventional styles. Some well-meaning folks might even say things like, “Well, you can always upgrade later!” — assuming the person must secretly be coveting something bigger and better.
But the truth is, many people love their so-called “small” engagement rings — and they wouldn’t trade them for anything. Below, 10 women reveal the many reasons their rings are perfect just as they are.
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length. Some respondents’ last names have been omitted to protect their privacy.
1. I prefer minimalist jewelry to blingy stuff.
“Size isn’t everything! I’m not super into big, flashy jewelry, so my ring is absolutely perfect for me and my personality. It’s dainty, delicate and totally me. But at the end of the day, it’s all about what makes you happy! And I personally wouldn’t trade my ring for anything.” — Breea Anderson
2. The symbol is far more meaningful than the stone itself.
“When we talked about getting engaged, my husband wanted to know what type of ring I wanted. The only thing I asked for was for the center stone to be a marquis-cut, if possible, but it wasn’t a requirement. I left the rest up to him, as I wanted that decision to be his.
The ring he picked — marquis-cut with a few diamond chips on the side — was small, but it literally takes my breath away every time I look at it. It isn’t really the diamond shape or size that ever really mattered to me. It’s a symbol of the love that my husband had for me and how he wanted to ask me to be his wife and spend the rest of his life with me. To me, it’s the symbol of the beginning of the story of us.
Unfortunately, there are people who are mean-spirited and don’t share the same love for my engagement ring as I did. My husband was a landscaper doing back-breaking work and did not make a lot of money doing it, so he researched the most cost-effective place to buy my ring. He found Costco was the best value for his money. When certain people found out he bought my ring at a warehouse store, they called him low-budget and laughed at my ring. Needless to say, those people did not understand the true meaning behind that ring had far exceeded the actual value of the ring. They are no longer a part of our lives.” — Christina C.
3. It’s practical for my job and so pretty, too.
“My ring is an 18k white gold vintage diamond set in a petite rose setting with micro-pavé diamonds on either side of the band. I’m a sign language interpreter, so I can’t wear anything too gaudy or distracting, and I’ve never been drawn to flashy jewelry in the first place. My fiancé picked my ring out all on his own, and I’m in love. It’s the perfect balance of dainty and sparkle. Beautiful, delicate, and perfect for me!” — Emily T.
4. It works for my active lifestyle — and our grad school budget.
“I love my relatively small (5-millimeter moissanite, equivalent to a half-carat diamond) engagement ring because it works for my life. I am very active, and having a large, high-set stone with lots of prongs would be more trouble than it’s worth. I wanted a ring that I could wear every day, not something I had to take off all the time because it got in my way.
Another reason was cost. When we got engaged, I was in graduate school, and my now-husband and I were on a limited budget. I didn’t want to spend a significant percentage of our low income on an engagement ring, so going with a smaller non-diamond ring was the right choice for us.” — Nicole
5. It’s a family heirloom with a rich history.
“My engagement ring was handed down from my husband’s maternal grandmother. She wore it for over 60 years. You can’t beat family history and sentiment. It’s tiny, but a sparkler all the same! I would never consider trading it in or ‘upgrading.’ In fact, if my husband hadn’t had a family ring, I would have declined to wear one. A simple wedding band with a special inscription would have been my dream come true.” — Lindsay L.
6. I don’t want what everyone else is wearing.
“I’m not one for fancy stones or elaborate rings. I also wanted something subtle, extremely lightweight, and comfortable enough to wear 24/7. I think the symbolism is pretty straightforward without being too cheesy. I mean, I tied the knot, so a knot ring was pretty appropriate. I also got a simple gold band to match.
I received a couple comments about the band being ‘too thin,’ which is no one’s problem but mine if it breaks. However, the comment that irks me the most is when people say, ‘It’s so different’ in an endearing but clearly condescending tone. Damn right, it’s different! I don’t want what everyone else has. It’s uniquely me.” — Sarah
7. I like to buck tradition, so no diamonds for me.
“My inner rebel to society took over me as I began to research engagement rings. I realized what I wanted. Small and no diamonds. My fiancé was confused because isn’t a big honkin’ diamond ring worth three months of his paycheck the norm? Not to me. My ring is romantic, dainty and ME. A piece of jewelry doesn’t represent the happiness in my relationship. Do what you feel is right for you and ignore everyone else’s opinions. YOU are the one getting married, YOU are the one wearing the ring, so own it!” — Bridgit Morehouse
8. It belonged to my partner’s late mother.
“In 2015, my partner Lynn and I had been together for 17 years. We had been each other’s family, and each of our families loved us as their own. On Valentine’s Day, we sat on a beach in Santa Barbara. Lynn handed me a lumpy card. Written on one side, was a message asking me to marry her. On the other side, was a lovely tiny engagement ring with a small diamond taped to the card so it wouldn’t get lost in the sand.
She told me the story behind the ring as we laughed and cried with happiness. Lynn’s mother had passed away in January. Before returning home from the service, her three sisters took Lynn aside and gave her their mother’s wedding set. They said, ‘This is for Autumn. You are not allowed to put it in a drawer.’ They hugged their sister and said. ‘It’s time.’ Lynn’s mother would have approved. I cherish my ring as a symbol of not just Lynn’s love for me, but of her family’s love as well.” — Autumn D.
9. It’s more aligned with our values as a couple.
“I wear a simple silver band, and my husband has a matching one. We bought them in Thailand and exchanged them in a swim along the beach. We never get comments or any questions. Here in Switzerland, it’s normal, because putting on a show at the expense of diamond- and gold-mining slaves — and at our own expense — doesn’t make sense. Something simple and subtle does.
I also read that the size and cost of the ring is studied to be inversely related to the endurance of the relationship. I think that logic is a mantra around here. On that note, a marriage is a state of mind and heart, not a ring, not a wedding, not a contract. If we want something expensive, we splurge on nationwide rail passes, home decor, high-quality fair trade/ethical clothes and food and wellness.” — Emily A.
10. Going into debt over a ring isn’t worth it.
“I feel like people nowadays put a lot of emphasis on getting a big, showy ring. There’s nothing wrong with liking a big ring, but the love and thought behind the ring is what means more to me. I’m a fan of dainty jewelry anyways, and I appreciate that my husband took that into consideration when picking my engagement ring out!
Another thing is that my husband and I try to manage our money the best we can, and I can’t imagine him being in debt for a ring just to prove that he loves me. To me, a bigger price tag and more diamonds don’t equal more love.” — Hannah G.