Tips and Tricks

What is a Placeholder or Stand-in Engagement Ring? | Rare Carat

Stand-In AKA "Presentation" Rings

Contrary to popular belief, not every gal has dreamed about her engagement ring since childhood. Many of us have no clue what we want in an engagement ring until it’s time to actually get engaged.

And some of us (even those of us who planned our weddings since birth) discover when that moment finally does arrive, the ring we thought we wanted when we were six, doesn’t exactly match our new grown-up style.

The stand-in ring, a ring that looks like your “real” engagement ring but typically much cheaper used to be a popular choice as a “placeholder” ring for travel.

But now, the stand-in ring is getting upgraded away from the passport and into engagement photos. Yes, you don’t have to have your “forever” ring or make huge financial decisions before you decide to get engaged.

What exactly is a “stand-in” ring?

It’s pretty straightforward: a stand-in ring is a placeholder ring that you wear until you decide to commit to the real-deal. Ring that is, not partner. 

For the most part, stand-in’s are usually a much less expensive cubic zirconia ring -- sometimes set in sterling silver, white gold, or rose gold. But some people take the placeholder ring idea even further and propose with something quirky, fun, or meaningful -- without breaking the bank first thing into their relationship.

And nobody knows that sparkler on your finger is a temporary engagement ring … not even your Insta-followers.

When is a placeholder engagement ring possibly the best way to go?

We don’t know know if you noticed this by now, but engagement rings can be just a little bit expensive.

That being said, regardless of price, when we're talking about a "forever ring" we still want what we want.

Which means, we don’t always want to compromise on the forever ring, but we also don’t want to wait ten years to get engaged. Stand-in rings make it possible to get engaged, take the beautiful engagement photos, walk down the aisle, have money for a house, and then get the perfect ring later.

In other words, a stand-in ring makes it possible for you to have the look now, or play around with a few looks before coughing up a lot of cash - and putting your life on hold in the meantime.

We shouldn’t have to compromise on the actual engagement ring, but if you’re pockets are feeling a little shallow, this is where a stand-in ring really takes the cake -- because if  you go for a placeholder ring first, you get to try it before you buy it.

Even if you have the money, a stand-in may still be the best choice

You may just not be sure on what ring you want to wear forever. Which means you might want a little time to wear different styles, before you and your partner plunk down gobs of cash on a diamond engagement ring.

This means zero pressure of having to figure out what style she likes before you both get to move on with your lives. Even  if you two are totally simpatico and finishing each other’s sentences like a Disney movie, when it comes to the ring there’s probably some glimmer of doubt about whether it’s exactly what she wants.

Today a relationship or marriage is all about equality in all things… including the ring itself. Sure, back in the day it was very much about a man presenting something to woman -- but 1925 called and they want their outdated traditions back.

It doesn’t have to be all about getting engaged.

Remember how we mentioned that the purpose of stand-ins are to act as a dazzling placeholder until you get the real deal?

Well that’s totally true, BUT stand-in rings are becoming so popular that people who are already engaged are using them after they have the real ring.


Because they don’t have to worry about losing it. Yup, people are now opting to take their stand-in rings on vacay instead of the real deal.

We were on a cruise with a couple, who announced that the wedding set the lovely bride was wearing was actually a $40K CZ set, made to look like her real $250K diamond wedding rings back home. If it’s good enough for this mega-wealthy couple who were happy to shell out $40K for a stand-in, it’s good enough for us too!

This way, when we go diving in Barbados, or just have one too many at the the pool-side bar, we don’t have to worry about putting our showstopper in danger -- all while still getting to flash some very believable bling.

Not knowing what you want could be a good thing

If you get to test-drive a style (or 4), actually get involved with selecting the ring without the pressure of “having” to make a decision, and don’t risk losing it when you go all out on vacation? That sounds like a win-win to us!  And who knows, maybe you’ll try a few different kinds of stand-ins for more than just an engagement ring, because one thing is for sure in both relationships and jewelry: you want to make sure you love it before you commit for life.

Jenny Beres
Jenny Beres
Jenny is an experienced copywriter and recovering diamond-aholic. She’s been writing for Rare Carat since 2016.