So, this is something that I've often wondered about and talked about in length with people I know, but I want to throw it out to a larger population to ballpark where people stand, and this is about engagement rings. And no, I'm not getting married or thinking about it. Settle down, folks. This is purely academic. So the traditional idea for an engagement ring is a high carat natural diamond, often several weeks' worth of salary, and this has been the norm since around the 1920s when diamond companies (which artificially increase the price of diamonds by hording them and releasing a small number each year; they really aren't as rare as you might believe) started advertisements with catchy phrases like, "Diamonds are forever" and other stuff to give the impression that if you really want to show a woman you love her and she means a lot to you, you'll plunk down a metric shitload of money for a mineral stone that's smaller than a pencil eraser. Between the engagement rings and society's pressure to have a fancy, expensive wedding with a dress that will be worn exactly once before being dumped in the closet for eternity next to your ugly Christmas sweater collection that your Aunt Petunia thoughtfully sews for you every year that you never, ever wear, tuxedo rentals for the groom, and a location that costs the GDP of a small nation to rent for a day, weddings are expensive shit, but for the sake of focus and this conversation, we're just staying focused on the rings. Although if you really want to share your thoughts on weddings in general and how much you love the traditional stuff, and how you've been meticulously planning a wedding in a scrapbook you started in sixth grade, or how you're totally about flipping a bird to the system, then go nuts. Bringing things back on track, however, I want to ask the ladies (although if you have y chromosomes, feel free to contribute, this is a safe place here) what they think of rings. Do you expect to get the traditional diamond ring, and does it have to cost a lot or would you be happy with something very small and modest? What about substituting the diamond with another precious gem, say like a pearl or Alexandrite or moonstone? Does the stone have to be natural, or would a lab-grown synthetic stone be perfectly acceptable? Hell, do you even care if you get a ring? This has literally been something I've been curious about for years, so indulge me, my friends.