I love my blue topaz engagement ring for so many reasons: it's beautiful, the stone is associated with true love, and it's the same color as my fiancé Chris' eyes. However, it wasn't until things got serious with Chris that I even considered getting a colored stone as opposed to a diamond.
Growing up, I had always assumed that I wanted a three-stone engagement ring with emerald-cut diamonds. When I was 16 years old, I remember reading about J-Lo getting a four-carat ring and daydreaming that it would be nice if I got a hefty diamond ring, too, someday. (I can't remember which husband she was with at the time.) Fast-forward 16 more years, and I can say with certainty that I've matured considerably since then! I no longer compare myself to celebrities — or anyone else, for that matter.
I didn't really understand why diamonds are so expensive. I couldn't wrap my mind around the thought of Chris paying upwards of $20,000 on a ring when we could use that money towards saving for a down payment on a house or a new car. In my opinion, a man can show his love for a woman in other ways, as opposed to spending several paychecks on one diamond. When I truly thought about what mattered in our relationship, I knew it wasn't about material possessions; it was about experiencing adventures together and feeling connected. I didn't think a ring could ever be more meaningful than the nights we get to be in each other's arms or the days we can't stop cracking up at our own inside jokes. Plus, what if I lost it? I've been known to misplace a few things in my day. Besides, I've always been an outside-the-box thinker, so why should my engagement ring be any exception?
So when Chris included me in the ring-shopping process, I told him that I wanted a colored stone that would represent our love for life and one another. Originally, I was very hesitant to express my wishes, since my ring would be the most meaningful gift of all from him and I didn't want to take over that choice. However, since he asked for my input, I decided it wouldn't be too demanding or picky to help steer him in the right direction.
The last thing any groom wants is to disappoint their bride, so I encourage you to be open about your desires, especially if you prefer a non-traditional ring. As many couples often learn, it can be a mistake to assume that your partner automatically knows what you want.
My good friend Brooke helped me look up the meanings behind different stones. She explained that gemstone rings are believed to carry energy, and they each serve a special purpose. In our research, I discovered the beautiful blue topaz, which symbolizes fidelity, eternal love and mutual understanding. I knew that stone was "The One." This all sounded pretty "hokey" to Chris, but he knew he was getting a yogi-type who appreciates the meaning in everything.
I had no idea what a blue topaz stone costs except that it was far more affordable than diamonds...thankfully! I would feel really bad if I had my heart set on a stone that was outrageously priced.
Chris proposed after I ran my third marathon in three days around Lake Tahoe. (He actually had the ring in his pocket the whole time as he ran the last 10 miles with me!) When he dropped down to one knee at the finish line, I was not only so ecstatic and surprised that he had proposed, but I took one look at the ring and grabbed it out of his hands. I was so impressed — it turned out to be better than anything I could have imagined.
I am thankful that Chris respected my wishes for a non-traditional engagement ring, even though he may not have understood where I was coming from at first. He did indeed get me a four-carat ring (take that, J-Lo!) and added his own touch to it by incorporating diamond sidestones.
My ring is an instant conversation-starter with other brides who have colored stones. In fact, it was one of the first things that my former co-worker Serena and I bonded about. She and her husband chose a sapphire: "We honestly felt that a diamond stone wasn't unique enough...the sapphire catches people's attention and there is a story behind it. It's my husband's birthstone, and September is our anniversary month," she told me.
Check out other gorgeous, colorful engagement rings submitted by BG brides:
Submitted by Stef Baughman
Submitted by Elspeth White
Submitted by @MissMarebare
Submitted by Pheobe Fong
Submitted by Vicky Mora
Submitted by Delyth Williams
Submitted by @pumpkinpie31
Tell us: Did you have any say in your engagement ring? Do you prefer diamonds or did you choose a colored gemstone, like I did?
P.S. Have an interesting wedding planning story to share? Apply to become a real bride blogger here ►
Neda Iranpour's fiancé, Chris, proposed to her after she ran three marathons in three days around Lake Tahoe. In keeping with the couple's adventurous spirit, they plan to have a four-day destination wedding somewhere in the United States. They can't wait to enjoy a fun-filled wedding experience with their guests, complete with paddleboarding, kayaking, running, dancing, sipping fine wine and drinking craft beer. Chris is a fun-loving, dedicated police officer and Neda is an Emmy-award winning news anchor who loves to share stories, even her own.