Of course, as a result of this, poor CJ had to listen to my feelings on engagement rings. Basically I don't like the idea of spending two months salary on a ring, I think that the money could be better spent (on retirement, for instance), nor do I like the comparisons that necessarily follow. How big it is, how much it cost, where it was purchased, etc, etc.
Everyone knows that Jews and diamonds traditionally go together. Just watch "The Tribe" or walk around the diamond district of NYC. Historically Jews have been forbidden to work in fields other than usury, metalsmithing, or gem cutting, which, incidentally were trades that were highly portable. Therefore it made sense to concentrate wealth in gems and metals. One of my newly married guy friends even mentioned that he bought his fiancee a single, large rock instead of the trendier 3-stone setting, because in the event that they ever were in trouble financially it would be easier to liquidate, and worth more.
Generally, however, this does not appear to be the thought behind big rings. It appears to be a facet of a newly wealthy community, one that is rather incestuous (not in the gross way), competitive, and increasingly status-conscious.
As for the bride? She has a lovely heirloom ring from her fiancee. And when it comes down to it, I don't really care what my ring looks like, as long as I love the guy, and he didn't buy it online.