Engagement rings are a surprisingly touchy subject. Some women actually get huffy when they find out someone’s not a fan of the diamond solitaire—the prenuptial popularity of which, by the way, is largely due to a successful marketing campaign by De Beers in the 1930s.

But beyond the usual economic and political considerations—like whether diamonds really hold their value or were mined under seriously dicey conditions—diamonds are just so . . . diamondy. If your style tends to be unconventional, or if all of your other jewelry tends to be arty, oversize, or just plain unusual, having a big old rock on your hand can look jarring, like stiletto heels on someone who really prefers sneakers.