My Engagement Ring

 

My Engagement Ring (1).png

It’s been a few weeks now since I started wearing my engagement ring.

At first, it felt weird. Really weird. It’s heavier than any ring I’ve ever worn before, and it’s so… SHINY! It seems to catch the light no matter what I do. I almost felt a flicker of embarrassment even wearing it. I felt like I’d grown an extra finger. I kept catching it on the pockets of my jeans and I constantly worried about it falling off, even though it fits me perfectly.

Now I’m used to the weight of it, but I’m still sometimes surprised by its presence. I’m slowly getting used to it. Slowly!

When I started looking at rings, certain things quickly became obvious. Like the fact that certain rings I thought I liked actually made me look like a centenarian on her way to the opera, or the fact that yes, by and large they still all looked the same to me. It was just rows and rows (and rows) of identikit rings with tiny variations. This annoyed me slightly, because I didn’t enjoy the thought of dropping a large amount of money on something that had nothing to distinguish it from thousands of others.

Remember when you were in junior school and everyone in your class had that same plastic Aladdin lunchbox, but you knew which one was yours because nobody else was unlucky enough to have salami sandwiches and a pear inside of theirs?

I guess I wanted the positive, pretty, ring version of that lunch box. I wanted something inside my ring that made me nod and say, “Yep, this one’s mine!”

…Only, you know, with more enthusiasm than I ever showed for salami sandwiches.

In no time at all I sped through a quick game of No-No-No-Yes until I had narrowed down my options. I decided on the following:

  • One stone, because my fingers are stumpy and anything more than that made me look like a pirate gnome.
  • A plain band, because while I was ALMOST swayed by this gorgeous antique ring (the details! Can I buy that one just to frame it in a shadow box?), I am not nearly stylish enough to be wearing that sort of thing on a daily basis.
  • A tiny detail to make it personal.

Scrubs and I made an appointment with Diamant and met with Tom. You really need to have a pretty solid idea of what it is you want before you meet with him, because he doesn’t have three hours and hundreds of rings for you try on. What he does have are certified diamonds. Well, diamonds and contacts and a lot of knowledge. Before you meet him he asks for a budget and what sort of a ring you’re looking for, and then, like a gemstone hunter gatherer, he finds you a number of loose cut diamonds to choose from.

On the day that you meet with him, he sets a few tiny, glittering crystals before you in order of cost, and you decide – in what for me was a slightly surreal and uncomfortable experience* – which one you want. Honestly, unless you have a microscope and a diploma in gemology** you can’t really tell the difference. They all look practically identical. Then your chosen diamond is shipped off to Antwerp, where a gruff but genial goldsmith named Reggie sets it to your specifications.

In the end, I decided I wanted a round cut diamond in a thin, plain band, with compass prongs (four prongs in a north-south-east-west placement instead of the far more common box shape). The one little detail I wanted to mark the ring as mine?

Scrubs’ birthstone on the inside of the band.

A teeny, tiny emerald.

I love it. It’s not blinding. It’s not ornate. It’s exactly what I wanted; simple, and sparkly, and when I twist it around my finger I know that the smallest emerald you ever did see is rubbing against my skin; a reminder of Scrubs and the reason I’m wearing it.

*Nothing to do with Tom or Diamant (who are awesome and even leave you alone for a while to make your decision in private), just my own general awkwardness at the entire idea of choosing between virtually identical sparkly stones.

**This is a thing.

 

Thoughts On… The Ring Thing

So it turns out that when you get engaged, you wear a ring.

Who knew, right?* It’s a whole thing. There’s the proposal, and all the things that come with that (champagne… lots of champagne), and then there’s the ring. Usually a shiny ring. Usually a shiny ring with a sparkly rock perched on top so that you can blind your enemies with some carefully-angled light reflection. While I was aware of all of this in a vague, theoretical sense, I hadn’t really thought about it.

Like… ever.

Of course I’ve been around other engaged people, and I’m not completely socially inept, so I have taken part in the customary, “Congratulations! Oooh your ring is amazing!” routine. My congratulations are always sincere – I am a secret sap and melt internally during retellings of funny/sweet/charming/odd/downright peculiar proposals – but if I’m honest, my interest in the ring itself has always been extremely limited. My brain sees the new bit of jewellery and registers ‘beautiful silver-coloured ring with sparkly stone’ and literally nothing else. This may sound borderline sacriligeous, but by and large they all look the same to me. More importantly, they mean the same thing; this person (who I love) is getting married (to someone they love)… and that’s lovely!

But amigos, you have no idea.

Or rather, maybe you do have some idea, but I had NO idea.

The ring thing is an actual rabbithole. It’s Ringception. You think all you need to do is pick a ring. You think it’s simple. You think there’s only one layer… but you’re wrong. You’re so wrong. There are many layers, and once you’ve jumped in there is no Edith Piaf singing Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien to kick you back to sanity.

The first time I looked at rings, I felt the same icy panic that usually closes over me in the men’s shoe department. They all look the same. I know they’re not the same – I know there are differences – but God help me, I cannot point them out. I start to feel a strange, itemised kind of colourblindness; each ring I look at blurs into a muddy amalgamation of every ring I’ve seen before it. It turns out they are not just beautiful silver-coloured sparkly diamond rings. They are rose gold, or yellow gold, or platinum, or white gold, but if they’re white gold then they can be 14 karat, or 18 karat, and can I tell the difference?

No. No I cannot.

Then there are the diamonds (you can use any stone, but diamonds are most common); they can be round, or square, or oval, or pear, or princess, or cushion, or marquise, or emerald, or asscher, or a dozen other “cuts,” and that’s without going deeper into facet cuts and table depths and mathematical formulas for making the diamond a blinding weapon of refraction. I avoid mathematics whenever possible so as you can imagine this is not an area I am particularly interested in. When it comes to one round cut diamond or another round cut diamond, can I tell the difference?

No. No I cannot.

And then, after all that, you have the settings. Do you want it in a bezel setting? Halo setting? Tension setting? Prong setting? How many prongs? Four? Six? Square-placed or compass? Talon or rounded? Cathedral or Tiffany?

It’s endless.

When I started reading online about all of this, I kept coming across forums full of men planning to propose. There are threads out there in the wilderness of the world wide web crammed full of adorably encouraging strangers virtually psyching each other up and advising each other to “Check out her pinterest so you have an idea of what rings she likes.”

Psssh! I scoffed. Like there are people out there pinning their ideal engagement rings to their pinterest boards. Pinterest is for food! Everybody knows that!

Alas, further googling forces me to admit that I was wrong; these people exist. They are legion. There are many, many people out there who are extremely prepared for any potential proposal that might pop up. In this, as in so many other things, it turns out I am that one suddenly cramming for a test I didn’t even know I had to study for, while other people have been carefully compiling binders of detailed notes** for years.

Quelle surprise.

Still, there are a few things here that are bring me a measure of serenity when I start to feel like I am falling into a vertically-placed, asscher-cut hall of mirrors.

asscher cut diamond engagement rings
You could fall in and never come out

 

  1. This is the most first world of first world problems.
  2. Parts of this process have allowed me to say shake my head vigorously and say truly outrageous things like, “NOT THOSE PRONGS!” which is not something I ever thought I would have an opinion about, let alone say out loud.
  3. I don’t really care. I mean I care in so much as I do not want to wear an uncomfortable, heart-shaped eyesore for the rest of my days, but I don’t care. I would have said yes without any ring. I would marry Scrubs with a rubber band around my finger. He is the best.***

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve read more than I ever thought I would need to know about engagement rings. I’ve made some tentative decisions (I’ve decided against heart-shaped diamonds as a general rule). I will no doubt update you when I receive the final product so you can say “Oooh your ring is amazing!” in keeping with the well-established custom.

… Even if it does just look like a beautiful silver-coloured ring with sparkly stone.

*When we got engaged there was a provisional ring (rose gold, with rose quartz and little diamonds for the curious), with the plan being to find The One Ring To Rule Them All at a later stage, together. Hence, Ringception.

**Pinterest boards.

***I realise I am biased. He is though.