Women Are Accusing Kay Jewelers Of Swapping Their Diamond Engagement Rings

Maybe every kiss begins with Kay, but it turns out every shit-fit begins with Kay too. Lots of women are accusing the McDonald’s of diamond stores, affiliated with Zales and Jared, of allegedly swapped their diamonds for stones of inferior quality after being sent in for repairs, according to a BuzzFeed report. Look, these rings are expensive. Like, if you knew how much your partner paid for your ring, you’d probably take it off and put it somewhere safe like an incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit. So yeah, it’s pretty upsetting to think this might be happening.

If these women’s testimonies are true, it’s pretty abhorrent on the jeweler’s part. There’s no going around that. I am not defending criminal behavior. But it illuminates a whole other discussion: Why do we attach our self-worth to our engagement rings, and can we like, stop before my Instagram becomes so shiny it triggers a seizure?

Let’s pause the judgment train and talk about the four C’s of diamonds for a hot sec: you have cut, clarity, color and carat. Now, since we’re all old and stare at our computers all day, a diamond of “slightly lesser quality” is barely visible to the eye. But the BuzzFeed report says these women were not able to identify the cut of their original diamond at all. It turns out, the jeweler also swapped certain stones for fake diamonds like moissanite, which is still difficult to distinguish from real diamond, so power to you. Innocent oversight or not, it’s stealing if it is happening. C’mon.

At this point, I’m not mad at the women for abstaining from grinning and bearing it. I feel bad for the dude who emptied his checking account for something he could have found in a sewer, even though company reps assert their complaints are “minimal” in comparison to the volume of happy customers. I feel bad that a prop (the operating word here) that once held such sentimental value has vanished, now functioning as a phantom limb. But once your diamond is gone, where does your identity go?

The most recent data from the Jewelers of America trade group found that the average couple spent $4,000 on an engagement ring in 2012. And given that the median household income was $51,017 that year, that’s really nothing to sneeze at. Of course, the figures are even more complicated once you factor in the never-ending student loan epidemic and the price of real estate rising faster than wages. Sweating out your $11 Starbucks latte yet?

All this to say: Studying engagement culture (sample size: my friends) is a lesson in entitlement. Love ‘em to death, I swear, but hearing my peers zero in on all their specifications and actually articulating with their mouths that they will not wear the ring if it doesn’t meet all criteria makes me worry about their priorities. I feel like if you’ll passive-aggressively not wear a diamond that isn’t over a carat, or scoff at a stone that isn’t even a diamond, does that mean you secretly hated the muffins I baked last week?? Do you, friends?!

OK, I’m clearly projecting, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a mini check-list myself (halo, diamonds around the band; or onion fried in batter if times are tough), but I say this from as feminist a lens as possible: Give your dude/dame a break and mazel tov. O-Kay?