Engagement process: The Ring
Written by Nick Resch.
The word ‘propose’ comes from an original Latin word ‘Propono’ meaning ‘to set forth’, as in ‘to begin a journey’. When it comes to a marriage proposal, there are not many big or more significant journeys upon which to embark.
Since time immemorial, as people have been popping the question, it has usually been accompanied by the offering of a ring, as a signifier of the importance of the occasion – the occasion being the beginning of a long and beautiful journey.
Sometimes people have been caught out losing the ring for whatever reason and their proposal has been impromptu. In these cases, the proposer has had to improvise with anything at hand – perhaps a daisy chain (when picnicking?), a burger ring (at the movies?) or a plastic novelty ring (at Luna Park?). This strategy can seem fun, for sure. However, most people look for something a lot more serious when getting down on one knee (if choosing to kneel!).
The most commonly chosen item these days in Australia is the diamond engagement ring. It’s classic, elegant and sophisticated. However, in other countries and cultures in the past, stones such as sapphires and rubies are more common. In the old days, gold was more popular whereas now platinum settings are very fashionable. There are many, many choices available – hundreds of different colours and cuts, plain or fancy settings – endless possibilities, so it makes sense to seek expert advice.
Choosing an engagement ring may be the first time you really need to think deeply about that particular person’s style – do you know what they would like? For many people, the answer is no, and if the question popping is to be a surprise, there’s no way to ask them! You could risk asking one of their friends or family, but such secrets are very hard to keep. Others are far more practical and sensible, they discuss the matter over an extended period with their partner and go into the jewellers together to pick out exactly what she wants. Some people hedge their bets. They wish to keep the proposal as a surprise but want to have a beautiful ring to offer at the time. However, they also want their future wife to have the exact ring they wish to keep forever – a bespoke ring, which fits correctly, of course! The best thing to do is to speak to your jeweller – they can advise you on the best course of action so that you can tick all these boxes.
There have been many unique and crazy ways of proposing, from having a street caricaturist draw a picture of the two of you with “Will you marry me?”, a skywriter spells it out in the heavens or having a mariachi band suddenly turn up at your table at a restaurant. The ring at the bottom of a glass of champagne has been a favourite but probably shouldn’t be recommended as it is a potential choking hazard, which would not be a great way to begin the journey!
However you choose to propose, the most important thing is that it is genuine and heartfelt, without any sense of half-heartedness.
That’s why people use precious stones set in gold, silver or platinum – these gems and metals have been formed in the deep earth over thousands of years and are solid, rare and beautiful – in other words the opposite of all things half-hearted.
Choose something fitting to mark the occasion on which you take this exciting leap of faith into one of life’s great journeys together.