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The Importance of having a “vacation ring”

03 Dec 2021
Jill Kruse

One of the most important and expensive pieces of jewelry I own is my engagement and wedding ring set. I almost never take it off…. except when I’m on vacation.

My custom, one of a kind rings stay safely at home in my jewelry box. Let me explain why.

Vacation is time to do all sorts of fun activities, many involving sun, sand, and water. These are all things that fine jewelry hates.

Previously I’ve left my rings at home and off completely or left them in the safe on the ship. However, after years of marriage, I was constantly feeling my finger because something felt off. The lack of a ring also invites unwanted attention from certain gentleman at bars. To get around both of these issues, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a cheap $8 ring that looks like a real engagement ring.

Spot the real diamond - 5 are “vacation rings” and one is my actual engagement ring.

I don’t worry about this ring getting scratched by the beach sand. There is no concern with suntan lotion getting stuck in the prongs or tiny crevices of the setting. The ring can get scuffed up without me getting worried or upset.

I can snorkel or scuba dive without the fear of my ring ended up on the bottom of the ocean for the Little Mermaid to find and take back to her cave of “thingamabobs”.

There have been many different “vacation” rings that I have had over the years. They will get swapped out once the copper starts to wear through the silver top veneer. When the copper does start to wear through it almost looks like rose gold.

One word of caution, do not buy a stone that is too large unless you want the port jewelry stores to only show you the very expensive items. You can almost see them sizing up your potential budget based on your jewelry.

I learned this the hard way. One of my travel rings had a stone that looks to be about 4 carats. When I went into a store wearing that, they saw $$ and showed me $30,000 to $40,000 necklaces.

While it was fun to pretend to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, those jewelry pieces were all completely out of my budget. Almost unanimously I have been complimented on my lovely vacation rings by jewelry store staff.

In ten years of cruising, only one jewelry store employee has looked at my ring and flat out told me that it was a fake. What tipped him off was the setting that the stone was in and not the stone itself. Pay attention to the settings of cheap costume rings versus the real ones at a jewelry store. This may also come in handy with the “Spot the Real Diamond” contests on the ship. (Pro tip – Onboard if the “Spot the Real Diamond” jewelry case is inside the jewelry store, all the stones have to be real, because they cannot have fake stones inside the jewelry store.)

While that fake stone can attract attention in a store, there is also the potential to attract the attention of thieves and pickpockets. For this reason, I generally pick rings with smaller or more understated stones than I have in my real engagement and wedding ring.

Thankfully this has never happened to us in a port, but I would have no issues handing my vacation ring over to a thief. If it was lost or stolen, there would also not be any reason to file an insurance claim like I would with my real engagement and wedding ring.

This advice does not just apply to women. My husband also has gone to wearing a silicone band on vacation instead of his wedding band. Those are much easier to cut off and remove if a finger swells from an injury or too much salty food from the buffet.

They are also safer than metal rings when doing more extreme activities where there is a chance of the ring getting caught on something, not a pretty picture.

My advice to all cruisers is to leave your sentimental or irreplaceable jewelry at home. Wear something that you would not be heartbroken to lose or damage. Plus it can be fun to try out a completely different ring style for a week at a time.

You may get lots of compliments on your beautiful rings, but don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

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