Buying an engagement ring sucks


So, you’ve met ‘the one’ for you. Congratulations! Maybe you met at University or on Tinder, or someone introduced you at a wedding. However it was that you first met, sparks flew, and you overcame the not insignificant odds faced by your generation in getting together and staying together.

Odds like spiralling housing costs and the reality that you probably had to live with others (at least in the beginning) when you first took the plunge and moved in together. The economic uncertainty you’ve faced and your student debt, the missed weekends while you travel for work and the late nights at the office. But despite these odds, you’ve managed to date, become an item, find your own place and have decided to enter new territory together. All because deep-down you know that you make each other better people and that you’ve become truly significant to each other.

Against this backdrop, it’s time to go shopping for the dream ring, and it’s fair to say that life’s lemons have made you the smartest, most discerning and savvy buyer the marketplace has witnessed to-date. You’ve had to be.

I went through this experience myself in 2015. Having decided together that we would love to get married and that I wanted a fair amount of input on the kind of ring I would be wearing, like any good millennial, I hit Google – hard.

Imagine my surprise (and intense disappointment) as all my concepts of engagement, marriage and romance, all the pleasures of the process of getting engaged and the thrill of this once-in-a-lifetime buying experience, were systematically undermined by reality.

It quickly became clear to us that a diamond purchase is not a savvy purchase at all because diamonds are horribly overpriced, that the ethics of diamonds (wherever they are mined) are questionable at best, and that most other gemstones and diamond alternatives are not durable enough to resist a lifetime of wear-and-tear.

Pretty quickly, I began to wonder why we should be financing a jeweller or retailer with 5K+ (a pretty average price for a 1 carat diamond ring) when we were saving for a house and trying to claw back some ‘us time’ on a holiday or two each year. Pretty quickly I began to question whether I should want this frivolous item at all, and yet it’s a piece of jewellery I have coveted for a long time. Soon, and perhaps stupidly, I began to question myself as a person, to question my values, and for a time I felt bad about myself that I even wanted this thing. So when we found our solution to these problems, we decided it was important to bring it to others.

That’s why we are launching Sapheneia of London – a jewellery company that wants to focus on, support and celebrate the relationships behind the rings. We felt driven to give couples the experience we never had by offering a serious and credible alternative to diamonds that would not compromise on sparkle or ethics and that would not leave the bride-to-be feeling as I did – that I couldn’t or shouldn’t have the ring of my dreams in the size I wanted for a price that wasn’t going to hinder our immediate financial future.

We believe in 3 things: beauty, technology and the preciousness of a great relationship. We design, make and set our rings using a technologically advanced, gem-grade mineral which has all the properties and more of a beautiful, sparkly white diamond, without any of the ethical or financial downsides, and without the lack of durability found in diamond alternatives such as cubic zirconia or other precious gemstones.

And we give back.

A percentage of every ring sold is donated to Survival International, a charity which advocates on behalf of the Kalahari Bushmen, who have been displaced from their native lands by diamond mining.

As our company grows, we will be able to do more.

If you like what we’re about, want to know more or want us to give your relationship a head start, you can find out more at

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