Marriage Proposal 101: The Etiquette of the Heirloom Engagement Ring

Man proposing to the woman

While some would automatically think of buying a new diamond ring for their would-be-fiancé, some take the less common, more traditional route—proposing with a family heirloom ring. This is a good way to make marriage proposals even more meaningful.

But if you’re planning to go this route, know that there’s a certain etiquette of doing it, given that it’s an important piece of a family’s history. Here’s the proper way to do it:
Reach out to family members.

You probably have your eyes on a certain ring passed by your grandmother to your family, but other family members might also be thinking the same. To avoid misunderstandings, consult the previous owner about your plan to use it. If they already passed, talk to family members and see the will to know the heirs of the ring.

Ask the story behind the heirloom

This will not just make your proposal more special, but also give proper acknowledgment to the heirloom’s history. You’ll be able to determine which parts of the ring, the band, the stone, or whatnot, are most important to the family, which will be handy when you take it to later and have experts fix the jewelry. Be sure to ask permission from the owner when planning to make alterations to the ring.

Honor the ring’s previous owner

It doesn’t matter if the former owner has passed or is still alive. You should be able to acknowledge them as being a crucial part of this milestone in your relationship. There are many ways to do this. Send them a simple thank-you note. Mention their name on your wedding speech. Give a special gift. If possible, you can have them at the actual proposal so that they can witness this momentous event.

Remember, heirloom rings are an important piece of a family’s history. Observe proper etiquette when proposing with it.