6.19.2008

The ring story, or how I get to be an eco-chic bride

So. About my fabulous ring. The stones are from an anniversary band my paternal grandfather gave to my grandmother. Her band was yellow gold and had two identical rows of small diamonds in graduating size. A couple of years after my she died, my aunt (who inherited it) gave the ring to me. It was a very sweet thing, and it meant a lot to have such a personal remembrance of my grandmother. (Consider, if you will, that up until that point my only beqeathment was a set of decorative Christmas pillows.) I loved the idea of being able to wear Nanny's ring someday, but the setting on hers wasn't exactly my taste and the band was way too big.

Once GF and I got engaged, I started looking around at anniversary band designs to see if there was something out there that would work with her stones, which weren't all the same size. I eventually found a really cool one over at Blue Nile. We were going to go to a regular jewelry store in L**** to see what they could do for us, but then a friend of GF's mentioned this amazing guy who did his and his wife's rings last year. He doesn't advertise, he doesn't have a show room, and the only way you can find him is by a referral from a previous customer.

So I called and made an appointment to meet him in a small office and he told me a bit about his philosophy and why he decided to start doing individual commissions. (He usually just designs and manufactures jewelry for the stores.) He said he was getting discouraged by what was happening in the jewelry industry. He talked about why it can sometimes be bad for the consumer to shop at a store with a showroom of inventory. Because the store has made such a huge financial investment, they have to push that inventory and clear it out if they're going to make a profit. So unless you're adamant about what you want, it's possible that you could be steered away from what you have in mind to what they need to sell. And sometimes he's seen stores mark up their inventory by as much as 700% and then have huge half-off sales, in order to clear out the showroom and make room for new things. In addition, people may even get misled in the stores about the quality of their stones, not because the salesperson is lying but because they've been given bad information. And since they're not experts they only know what they're told. So this guy decided to open his business up and see clients on a limited basis, find out what they want, and make it for them from scratch. That's it. Pretty cool, huh? So I showed him my picture and he said he could absolutely do that.

I was glad that we didn't need to buy any new diamonds because the whole diamond trade makes me uneasy. I probably would have voted for a synthetic stone or gemstone if I'd had my heart set on something like that. Turns out this guy doesn't go through Africa or DeBeers, though. He gets his diamonds from Russia and has them cut in Israel.

So a week after I gave him my ring and the picture from the Internet, he called me in to try on a wax model of the new ring, with the stones set in it. This way I could see how it looks and feels on my hand and suggest changes. I loved it and told him to go ahead and do the real thing. Which, as you can see, turned out beautifully. I love it a lot, and I also love that I have this beautiful family heirloom to wear, especially since both my grandfather and grandmother have passed away. So it will be a nice way to honor them, I hope.

I won't tell you what the total price was, but it was low enough that Gentleman Friend just booked us a room for our wedding night that not only has a waterfall in the breakfast nook but also liquid Cadbury coming from the taps and pillows made of brie.

ps. I'm taking Friday off and going down to Snowbird tonight to center my chi. GF and I are going to be hanging out with his family in this cool place. We'll need it too, on account of yesterday was pretty special. 25% of GF's coworkers were laid off, and someone ran into my car with a scooter and scratched it all up. Also I hurt people's feelings, almost lost a family dog, and said a real bad swear word when my car was hit. It's time to head for the hills.

11 comments:

Gretchen said... [reply]

Great story! The family ring I was offered had one giant ugly stone that looked like a discolored rhinestone. Too bad, I would have loved to have done something like what you did.

Hang in there. When my hu'band and I were getting engaged, a wrench got thrown in the works when a mule deer decided to leap out in front of my car, with my hu'band driving. A life threatening experience, cuts on my ear, glass in my bra, and a nearly totaled Civic definitely required some chi centering. It's like the universe knows something is going right in your life and tries to balance it out! Good luck.

Me again said... [reply]

Not only did you save a bunch of money, but a custom setting too? That is so cool!

And I love the fact that your ring has history.

BEFore said... [reply]

Wow, that's a lot of ... "oh, and by the way" at the end. Clearly some mental health sick-days are in order. :)

Like the ring. So many great things -- no new diamonds from the cartel, the great family connection, the unique and beautiful design. (And you probably won't shred everything you brush against with it. My sisters found out about that the hard way.)

Sherry said... [reply]

I always tell people I like their rings because that is the polite thing to do, but most rings I see I would never ever have chosen for my self. Except that yours is awesome. I might have picked it. Except it was designed just for you so I couldn't have picked it.

I really like the history behind it as well. Very cool.

Lesley-Ann said... [reply]

Beautiful ring and story to go with it. x

MBC said... [reply]

Sorry about the rough week there at the bottom. A girl can make it through a lot, though, when she's got brie pillows to look forward to.

Congratulations again!

Audra said... [reply]

AHHHHHHH!!! I do not look at your blog for a little bit because I was out of town without internet (how I survived, I don't know ;) )! Anyway... MY EUGENE IS GETTING MARRIED!!! I am so excited for you!!! Oh Happy Day!!!

Usually Happy said... [reply]

Ahh!! I haven't read anyones blog for so long and I just thought I should check yours to see what the updates were and to see if you were engaged or anything. Yay! Congrats! You're one of the coolest girls I've known and this is so great! I need to start reading again.

jeri said... [reply]

I'm so excited for you I can hardly stand it. Plus your ring is beautiful. Hope you had a great weekend.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Hey Steph. This is amys dad congragulating you on your engagment. I alwys knew that one day a man worthy of your love and devotion and especially your humor would rise like cream to the top of the pot of potential mates. It was always great to have you visit us and thanks for being such a great friend to Amy.I sometimes visit your blog when I need a good laugh and some quality writing. You always deliver. Have you considered a career in writing? We know that things will go great in your future enjoy this new adventure as you have life so far. You are a very special person!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Aw . . . hey, Amy's dad! You are making me blush, thank you so much. I was looking forward to coming up and seeing everyone while Amy was there but I hear things have gotten a bit complicated. I'll figure out something, though!

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