Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Heirloom ring etiquette???

Is there a rule about how family rings should be passed down? My finace and I got engaged while were were on a long term assignment overseas, and we didnt get a ring at that time because we were in a part of the world where that was not possible. Before we left for our assignment a couple of years ago, his mother had hinted that his grandmother's ring (she is deceased) would be waiting for me when we were ready. My MIL and I are very close and we have a wonderful relationship. She seemed happy to give the ring to me. When we recently arrived home, he asked if he could give me the ring. She said that while she had considered giving the ring, my fiance's sister decided that she might want it someday if/when she gets engaged and my MIL thought that if my SIL wants it she should get it. We are now waiting for my SIL to decide if she wants it. I was very confused by this situation. In my experience, most families I know who have had an heirloom ring have given it to their sons to give to their fiances. I am sure there is great variety from family to family, but I was under the impression that this is the general rule. Does anyone know what the proper etiquette is? I know I cant do anything about it...if she decides not to give me the ring, than I guess I wont have it. I would just hate for my single SIL to say now that she might want it, and then decide years later that she wants her own thing and no one ends up using this beautiful piece of family history. Plus...having had the ring offered previously, we did not budget to buy a ring. 

Re: Heirloom ring etiquette???

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2014
    There isn't a rule about how jewelry is passed down in a family. In my unfortunate experience, verbal promises and hints aren't worth much. The ring belongs to your FMIL until she physically hands it to someone. I'm sorry you're disappointed. It's not necessary to have a diamond ring to be engaged. Consider another stone or silver or gold band or just forgo a ring until you can afford it.
                       
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited September 2014
    The etiquette rule is this:  It isn't yours until it is given to you, and you are wearing it on your finger. 

    My DH's family  was very wealthy, and many promises were made.  None has been delivered, and we have been married 38 years.  His father now has Alzheimer's, and has been happily selling family heirlooms that go back more than 200 years without consulting anyone.  Shit happens. 

    If you are given the ring at some future date, it is yours.  If not, many brides do not have engagement rings.




    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • There is no rule about this, and I for one think it's a nice idea to pass jewelry down the female line! In any case that is what they are doing , so I suggest you never speak of this again, because it makes you seem like a gold digger , and save up for one yourself.
    NYCMercedesjenijoykMyNameIsNotSarahWins
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    There is no rule about this, and I for one think it's a nice idea to pass jewelry down the female line! In any case that is what they are doing , so I suggest you never speak of this again, because it makes you seem like a gold digger , and save up for one yourself.

    I totally agree. You put this so we'll.
  • I think STARMOON44's response was harsh. It doesn't make you a gold digger to be disappointed about a promise that wasn't delivered. My FMIL promised my FI and I a beautiful cedar chest family heirloom, and I'm looking forward to having it. That doesn't make me a gold digger, and I don't think the poster's feelings about this ring make her a gold digger either.
    ChellaTims
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited September 2014
    kns1988 said:
    I think STARMOON44's response was harsh. It doesn't make you a gold digger to be disappointed about a promise that wasn't delivered. My FMIL promised my FI and I a beautiful cedar chest family heirloom, and I'm looking forward to having it. That doesn't make me a gold digger, and I don't think the poster's feelings about this ring make her a gold digger either.
    ------- Edited to try to fix really strange quote formatting ----------



    Starmoon said "it makes you seem like a gold digger" which is different than calling the OP a gold digger. 

    It sounds like OP could potentially come across that way which I will assume is not the OPs intent and would not want to come across that way, hence Starmoon's advice. I agree with Starmoon on this.
  • Thanks for all of the helpful (and not so helpful) advice. I really was just disappointed about the promise that was never delivered. I was so honored to have been offered the ring by my FMIL and was looking forward to sharing that bond with her and wearing it, and sharing that story with my future children ect. I really just wanted to know if there was a tradition around this that I didnt know about, because I found the entire situation to be really odd and hard to read. I was not looking to be accused of being a gold digger, and think that anyone who would spend their free time on a bridal website accusing strangers of such a horrible thing, needs to reconsider her priorities. But thanks so much to everyone who responded respectfully and shared your thoughts and experiences. Its comforting to know that there is no set tradition and my awkward situation is not an uncommon one.
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thanks for all of the helpful (and not so helpful) advice. I really was just disappointed about the promise that was never delivered. I was so honored to have been offered the ring by my FMIL and was looking forward to sharing that bond with her and wearing it, and sharing that story with my future children ect. I really just wanted to know if there was a tradition around this that I didnt know about, because I found the entire situation to be really odd and hard to read. I was not looking to be accused of being a gold digger, and think that anyone who would spend their free time on a bridal website accusing strangers of such a horrible thing, needs to reconsider her priorities. But thanks so much to everyone who responded respectfully and shared your thoughts and experiences. Its comforting to know that there is no set tradition and my awkward situation is not an uncommon one.
    No one called you a gold digger. @starmoon44 pointed out that you might look like one if you harp on this. I believe she was trying to spare you accidentally looking like one. This follow up post makes you sound quite dramatic. Doesn't mean you are dramatic. That's just how you're coming across to me. Same idea.
    STARMOON44
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited September 2014
    Lesson learned:  Don't count on any promises that your FILS make.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MairePoppyBlueBirdMB
  • lc07 said:



    Thanks for all of the helpful (and not so helpful) advice. I really was just disappointed about the promise that was never delivered. I was so honored to have been offered the ring by my FMIL and was looking forward to sharing that bond with her and wearing it, and sharing that story with my future children ect. I really just wanted to know if there was a tradition around this that I didnt know about, because I found the entire situation to be really odd and hard to read. I was not looking to be accused of being a gold digger, and think that anyone who would spend their free time on a bridal website accusing strangers of such a horrible thing, needs to reconsider her priorities. But thanks so much to everyone who responded respectfully and shared your thoughts and experiences. Its comforting to know that there is no set tradition and my awkward situation is not an uncommon one.

    No one called you a gold digger. @starmoon44 pointed out that you might look like one if you harp on this. I believe she was trying to spare you accidentally looking like one. This follow up post makes you sound quite dramatic. Doesn't mean you are dramatic. That's just how you're coming across to me. Same idea.

    That was exactly my point. That there is no custom and any sort of follow up would make you look like a gold digger.
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    There isn't any tradition here.  She can pass it on to whomever she chooses.

    I know it may sound a bit harsh, but I think these days there may be some preference to passing it down to females in the family, mainly because of high divorce rates.  If she gives ring to you, then you & FI/DH break up or divorce, you can keep the ring and they've lost a family heirloom.  If they give it to her daughter, if her marriage fails, she keeps it and the ring is still in the family. A lot of women (me included) would probably return the ring to them, but not everyone would. Or if FI/DH passed away, if you didn't have kids, there's a chance you'd move on and lose contact with his family, taking the family heirloom with you.  And in this case, I'm not sure anyone would expect you to return the ring, but it would still take it away from their family. So passing it to the females helps ensure it stays with their family/bloodline. Nobody wants to think in those unfortunate terms, but it's a real possibility.

    And you may feel the family sentiment behind grandmothers ring, but the daughter would feel it much more.  Every time she looks at her had, she will be reminded of her grandmother, not husbands grandmother who she never met. So, I can understand the mothers point in wanting to let her daughter have the option.  My e-ring is an heirloom ring that belonged to my husband's grandmother. I do have a lot of reverence for it and for it being part of his family history, and I do treasure it more than something that would have been store bought, but it still belonged to someone I never met.  So, I know I don't have the attachment to it that his mom or sister would have to it. 

    That being said, she really shouldn't have offered it to you until she checked with the daughter.  And once offered, she probably should have stuck with the offer to let you have it. 

    image 

    SarahWins
  • lilacck28lilacck28 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2014
    nicoann said:

    There isn't any tradition here.  She can pass it on to whomever she chooses.

    I know it may sound a bit harsh, but I think these days there may be some preference to passing it down to females in the family, mainly because of high divorce rates.  If she gives ring to you, then you & FI/DH break up or divorce, you can keep the ring and they've lost a family heirloom.  If they give it to her daughter, if her marriage fails, she keeps it and the ring is still in the family. A lot of women (me included) would probably return the ring to them, but not everyone would. Or if FI/DH passed away, if you didn't have kids, there's a chance you'd move on and lose contact with his family, taking the family heirloom with you.  And in this case, I'm not sure anyone would expect you to return the ring, but it would still take it away from their family. So passing it to the females helps ensure it stays with their family/bloodline. Nobody wants to think in those unfortunate terms, but it's a real possibility.

    And you may feel the family sentiment behind grandmothers ring, but the daughter would feel it much more.  Every time she looks at her had, she will be reminded of her grandmother, not husbands grandmother who she never met. So, I can understand the mothers point in wanting to let her daughter have the option.  My e-ring is an heirloom ring that belonged to my husband's grandmother. I do have a lot of reverence for it and for it being part of his family history, and I do treasure it more than something that would have been store bought, but it still belonged to someone I never met.  So, I know I don't have the attachment to it that his mom or sister would have to it. 

    That being said, she really shouldn't have offered it to you until she checked with the daughter.  And once offered, she probably should have stuck with the offer to let you have it. 



    STUCK IN BOX


    My mom gave me the diamond from her engagement ring. I have a younger brother. I sort of figured that I was the person who was in a position to have use for a diamond first, so I was the one she gave it to. Maybe there were other reasons. I love my ring, and I love that the diamond was carefully selected by both of my parents. I think it will be a lovely thing to pass down. 

    Anyway, I don't have kids yet, but I've thought about what I will do with my ring if I am lucky enough to have children. Right now I would prefer to give my ring to a daughter or granddaughter... not because of divorce rates, but because I'd like the ring to belong to/ be worn by MY child, as opposed to my child's spouse.

  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    CMGragain said:
    The etiquette rule is this:  It isn't yours until it is given to you, and you are wearing it on your finger. 

    My DH's family  was very wealthy, and many promises were made.  None has been delivered, and we have been married 38 years.  His father now has Alzheimer's, and has been happily selling family heirlooms that go back more than 200 years without consulting anyone.  Shit happens. 

    If you are given the ring at some future date, it is yours.  If not, many brides do not have engagement rings.

    I wouldn't even go that far! My grandfather's uncle gave him a ring to give to my grandmother. Gramma wore it for years before the uncle's wife asked for it back. So Gramma gave up her engagement ring after being married for a decade!

    I think every family has different traditions. I would avoid bringing it up though, just to keep your FIL's opinions of you as positive as possible.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • I could see MIL maybe preferring to give it to her daughter instead. I'm sure she loves you but god forbid something happens and you end up divorcing her son or even worse you become a young widow, what happens to their family heirloom then. If her daughter gets the ring, gets married & then divorced, the ring is still in the family. Try to find a ring that fits into your budget and if you get the ring at some point, that will be awesome.
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