8 Brides-To-Be Share REAL Engagement Rings & Costs

photographed by Guang Xu.
Many aspects about getting married have evolved with time: Taking your other half's last name is no longer a required ritual, eloping is becoming more popular, and heck, you can even get hitched without a plan. That said, one key element of the wedding industrial complex has remained strong for the most part: For many couples, marriage proposals still involve getting down on one knee with an engagement ring.
It's not uncommon for brides-to-be to keep a Pinterest board of their dream bling (and boyfriends to secretly follow those accounts for hints). The internet has made it a piece of cake for soon-to-be-wedding couples to source inspiration — and receive feedback on their decisions. And now, a new startup has launched as a Pinterest-like platform exclusively for engagement ring photos. Sparkly is like a never-ending digital scrapbook packed with photos of real, recently-engaged women sharing photos of their rings. Users can browse through a multitude options and find results by criteria, such as cut, size, and karats. There's even a commenting function should you have more detailed questions about the rings.
Everyone has different opinions about how much engagement rings should cost — and how involved the other partner should be in the selection process. Since it's such a personal decision where inspiration plays a huge role, we've tapped to eight women who uploaded snapshots of their rings on the platform to share the story behind their jewelry pieces.

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