According to a press release I got today from CeleBuzz, the 5-carat oval diamond in a platinum and rose-gold setting engagement ring Eddie Cibrian just gave LeAnn Rimes is worth about $85,000. Of course in the great history of lavish engagement rings, that's not even over the top -- as "Diamond Guy" to the stars David Mamane says, "This ring is comparable to many other celebrities' engagement rings. It's not on the same scale as say Kate Middleton, or even Carrie Underwood for that matter, but I'd put it in the same price range as Katy Perry's and Jessica Simpson's."
One on hand, I understand that stars like Eddie and LeAnn are operating in a completely different economic scale than us regular folk. To them, sure it's an extravagance, but it's not like it's a whole year's -- or two years' -- salary. Eddie didn't take out a second mortgage on the family farm for that money.
On the other hand, in a world where nearly 17 million American children -- almost one in four -- go hungry EVERY DAY... it's kind of gross. Isn't it?
But then, this is a dangerous line of thinking, because if we're talking about scale, it's inevitable that I take a look at myself through that same lens. When it comes to scale, my own lifestyle is actually pretty gross, if you compare what I have to what a lot of the world doesn't have. I'm no millionaire; I work full time and so does my husband, but seriously -- my daughter has dolls who have dolls. I don't even know how many pairs of shoes I have. None of them are Louboutins, but they're not all Payless Shoes Source either. One of my prized possessions is a gold Tory Burch bag that cost about $400. Yes, it was a gift, but I could sell it on eBay and donate that money, right? Instead of carrying it through Penn Station past all the homeless people, I could take the money and give it to my local food pantry, or send at least four "baskets of hope" to struggling families in developing countries through Heifer International.
As someone who grew up with very little -- and when I say very little I mean I know what it's like to have your mom pay for the groceries with food stamps, but I don't mean I know what it's like to be starving child in a third world nation -- I'm conflicted about living in the world of the "haves." My husband and I argue about the thermostat all winter, but we're not going to NOT be able to pay the heating bill. Our daughter Isabella goes to public school, but we're able to afford ballet classes and soccer uniforms and birthday parties I would have died to have.
I appreciate this immensely, and something that really concerns me is making sure Isabella is appreciative too, and aware of all her blessings. A difficult task; a topic for another day.
So back to the $85K ring... would I ever spend that much money on something, even if I could?
What about a $20K ring?
Or $10K... or 5? Um, actually, now that you mention it, I don't know exactly how much my husband paid for this diamond solitaire I wear on my left ring finger, but it certainly didn't come out of a Cracker Jack box. And did I ever tell you how I'm reaaalllly really hoping for a diamond anniversary band in a few years? You know those pretty bands with the diamonds that go all... the way...
Is it wrong for LeAnn Rimes to wear that much money on one little finger?
Or, in the great scheme of things, is that ring to my Tory Burch bag what my Tory Burch bag is to a homeless mother's last dollar?