Try Before You Buy with a Faux Engagement Ring?

It’s a marketing strategy clever enough to receive a quarter-page worth of press coverage in the July 2010 issue of InStyle magazine. The web site for Beverly Hills designer Jean Dousset, notes InStyle, “offers cubic-zirconia engagement-ring replicas. The customizable CZ versions start at $289 and arrive within a mere three days. You can live with it for as long as you like before you give a definite ‘I do’ to the real deal, and the cost of the faux is applied to the purchase. . . .”

I was intrigued, and visited the designer’s web site to take a look at the customizable costume jewelry. How handy it might be to have an inexpensive exact replica of your engagement ring to wear when you’re traveling, for example.

The available customization is far more limited than that. The faux engagement rings are customizable only to the extent that you can specify the ring size for one of only three available designs, each of which is preset with “a 1.15 carat round diamond equivalent.” That’s not going to help much if you have your heart set on a cushion-shaped 2 carat stone surrounded by sapphires.

The concept got me to thinking about the experience of wearing a faux engagement ring. Does wearing a faux engagement ring give anything like the experience of a wearing a genuine one on one’s finger?

On the plus side, it gives one a chance to experience the style of a ring that one may live with for many years. Yet it lacks the gravitas of a genuine diamond ring, a symbol of the decision to wed. Wearing it knowing that it is fake, does one advertise that fact that to people who celebrate the engagement and coo over what is apparently “the” engagement ring?

Moreover, what if, rather than doing as InStyle suggests, the putative fiancé does not grab his sweetie to visit the web site together with her – indeed, what if he buys and presents her with a designer replica without telling her that it is faux?  

If the ring or the engagement feels wrong, it’s comforting to know there is a 30-day return policy.

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