In this enlightened age, women are supposed to have bigger stuff to worry about other than the size of their engagement rings, and many savvy ladies have come to the conclusion that bigger ain't necessarily better when it comes to that piece of bling encircling her third finger. So, if you're about to become engaged, hope to someday, or just looking for ammunition to justify your love of petite rings, here's a list of retorts when someone, be it loved one or stranger, starts getting all Ms. Judgy-Pants about the size of your ring.
1. Non-Frivolous Spending Is More Important
Yeah, having a great engagement ring is pretty awesome; we're not gonna lie. But so is having a place to live, providing for your family, or taking an epic vacation, the kind where the memories you make will outshine that of any diamond.
Remember that ad that implied if a man didn't forgo stuff like eating, paying bills, and generally having a life for two months in order to scrape together enough money for a ring, he was essentially a dirtbag? Luckily, we've come a long way since then, and one in three Americans now believe that you should spend less than a thousand dollars on a ring. So, a tiny engagement ring can now be looked at as a positive sign of your mate's financial prudence.
2. Large Rings Provide No Guarantees
A big ring sure didn't translate into together-foreverness for Brangelina. Or for the first Mrs. Pitt (we're sensing a trend, here.) Or for most celebs, for that matter. Since you're likely among us non-famous "normals" who has a job and car payment and things, you don't suddenly need to go all Kim Kardashian because your boyfriend proposed marriage.
In fact, you can wave this next bit in the face of your nosy aunt (who's probably been married something like four times, so she obviously knows what she's doing) when she demands "Where is the real ring?" A recent study found that smaller rings might just indicate more marriage success than a big, honking rock. In fact, the results found that men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on their engagement rings were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than men who spent between $500 and $2,000. And you'll take that over a skanky Brad Pitt any day.
3. You Won't Inspire Cattiness Among "Friends"
You would think strong, confident women wouldn't need to get into a pissing contest over an engagement ring, yet it still happens in the 21st century. A study found that 40 percent of newly married women were "fiercely competitive" when it came to their weddings.
However, think back to the proposal itself: It's likely that it just the two of you having a picnic in the park or walking on a beach and enjoying sunset on a hilltop. Unlike some of those "shout our love from the top of the world" couples, your husband-to-be didn't feel the need to have your love splashed across a Jumbotron at the ball game in order to gain the approval of thousands of strangers (and jealous frenemies). You also aren't the type to require something like a dozen white doves descending from the treetops, the last one carrying a massive diamond ring in its little beak.
So, if you didn't need an over-the-top proposal then why do you need an over-the-top ring? Do yourself a favor and go with your gut regarding the small ring that you love, which also (in theory) won't inspire Ring Envy from other would-be bridezillas.
4. Love Trumps Ownership
If you consider the ancient meaning behind the ring - which essentially states that the engaged women now "belongs" to the man - it's actually kind of weird that women even want to wear engagement rings in the first place.
Rings, in one form or another, have been used to equate a fiancée as property since prehistoric times. And although your future mate might not tie braided grass around your ankles to keep your spirit in check, an oversized ring might leave you with a slightly squicky feeling in the long run. Keep it small and reasonable, and give a big "Screw you" to antiquated tokens that equal female subjugation.
5. Diamonds Are Just Another Marketing Ploy
Even if you know nothing about diamond rings, you're still probably aware of the engagement/wedding marketing machine, which rolls out "Diamonds are forever" commercials every holiday season. While you may think that diamond rings have been popular since time began, it's more like the last 80 years that the diamond industry took off and made it the de rigueur center stone to have. In the mere blink of a few decades, the need for a huge diamond engagement ring morphed into a runaway cash-shaped ball that had jewelers all over the country drooling in anticipation.
So, don't give into the oversized diamond hype. You'll probably be just as happy with a small but elegant gemstone or maybe no stone at all. Take that, De Beers.
6. Wearing Chunky Jewelry Is Annoying
For many reasons, from financial to aesthetic, some women - gasp - don't immediately purchase a ring to mark their engagement right away. Maybe they never will, and maybe you won't either.
One reason for this is that you may simply not like big, chunky pieces of jewelry. Or you prefer earrings or a necklace to rings. It could be that rings are a hazard in your workplace or distracting to your yoga classmates. It takes precious little for the hand gesturing-types to get hair snagged in the prongs of a ring.
And for those who lose stuff all the time, misplacing an expensive ring brings about a special type of panic that's funny in sitcoms, but not in real life (Friends seems to have cornered the market on this particular trope.) So, perhaps, getting a small engagement ring will leave you with less inconvenience and anxiety than a much larger ring would.
7. If It's Ugly, at Least It's Small
There are websites devoted to unhappy women posting photos of their hideous engagement rings. This is where you can feel pretty smug about your small ring. It's kind of unattractive, but you have to look really close to tell. Not like Jennifer Aniston or Christina Aguilera, who have rings you can see from space and have inspired some "ugly celeb rings" commentary. All you have to do is twist yours around a bit so that the icky parts don't show; it's so small that it won't even poke your finger.
8. No One Will Steal It
When you're not flashing around a multi-carat ring, you're less likely to attract the attention of unsavory folk. (Just think of what happened to Kim Kardashian and her jewels that were stolen in Paris.) A small ring is kind of like driving an unassuming car. Thieves will more likely target someone who likes to show off their wealth than you because who wants a Ford Focus when there's a Mercedes-Benz down the street that is just ripe for the picking?
Now, if you live out in the country, far from most of civilization, and your neighbor is down on his luck, you might find your engagement ring plucked from your finger while you sleep. In this case, you might feel more sad than angry: the poor soul obviously needs it more than you do. Although if it's the ugly ring mentioned in #7, you were probably praying that someone will take it.
9. It's a Family Heirloom
The heirloom ring is possibly one of the best and most heartfelt reasons to embrace the small engagement ring. Say your fiancé's great-grandparents were Depression-era survivors who scrimped and saved for everything they had. A tiny gemstone ring is a result of their tenacity, has been passed down for generations, and provides a perfect symbol for what you hope your love will represent.
So what if Nana's ring is just a stone chip in a plain setting? You're more than good with that. History rocks your socks off, and Nana is a national treasure.
10. Helloooo…Ring, Not Cat Toy
If your aim is to make sparkles on the wall, then go ahead and demand the huge rock. Keep in mind that you can buy a disco ball for way less, and if your goal is to torment Fluffy with moving light, then perhaps you might want to reconsider getting married, since you're apparently about 10 years old.
Look, there are plenty of reasons to want a large, flashy engagement ring. But there's a certain simplistic charm to a smaller ring, and if nothing else, it will be a lot less of a strain if you're on a budget.
Whatever you decide, don't do it in haste. Spending the same amount of care choosing a ring as choosing a spouse shows you are wise in the ways of life and love. And if deciding on an engagement ring is the first step in your wedding planning, you can now move on to flowers. And cake. And decorations…oy. Good luck!