The little red box from Trice Jewelers slid across the table to me, and there was a diamond ring in it, and I thought, “Yeah. That’s about right.”
That was my first thought. My second thought was, “Wait, no – that’s not supposed to be my first thought. My first thought is supposed to be OMG BEAUTIFUL HEAVENLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY and I’m supposed to be swooning in awe of this ring. I’m supposed to be totally in love with this ring. What’s wrong with this ring? What’s wrong with me?”
Then my thought after that was something like, “Put the damned rock on my finger already, loving fiancée,” and probably some mildly dazed shock, and then a long and shaky hug, and probably smooching, and I can’t recall what thoughts four and onward were.
I’m not one of those girls who ever fantasized about what her engagement ring was going to look like, nor had I accrued a search history or created a pinboard full of possible aesthetics for my eventual left-ring-fing-bling. I had done some minimal poking around online, just to see what was out there, but for the most part, I assumed that if I started finding favorites or getting attached, I would just be jinxing myself in terms of ever getting a ring (see later post at date TBD – “The Girl Who Waited”). I saw rings that I liked, and I saw plenty that I probably didn’t want, but I never actually pictured any of them on my finger.
Here is what I have learned from wearing my ring: wearing a diamond on your hand is insanely distracting.
It is so shiny.
You know that instinct that makes you double take to movement or a flashing light when you see it out of the corner of your eye? It’s been, like, months of that.
Even when it’s not in direct light, it just seems to light up impossibly from within. I am wearing a white dwarf star strapped to my finger. It is light and warmth and freaking heavenly. It is the most beautiful thing in the universe, and it is on my grubby finger, and I kind of want to stare at it forever and daydream about all the wonderful things it represents, but apparently that’s not a productive use of time or something.
Somewhere along the line, I realized I had fallen in love with my ring. I think this realization came from my soon-to-be mother-in-law’s suggestions that I could get a different setting, if I wanted. I browsed some options. I thought about it. I couldn’t think of anything that I would want more than what I already had. The setting is simple, just an unadorned band; but the nice thing with that is that it’s just about the diamond, this supernova on my finger, and it doesn’t need anything else around it.
Diamonds have the distinctly not-pretty side to them as well. This is a known factor. The fact that “ethical diamonds” are the exception rather than the rule, and require effort to verify, is a sobering and real thing that can’t just be skipped over. It’s a factor that I know is real but I don’t know how to delve into more than cursory internet research would tell me. Also, diamond ring tradition in general originates from classist, sexist, antiquated mindsets, and plenty of people don’t bother with them, and there are plenty of variations on the “some sort of material manifestation of the love and pledge between you both” gesture that work well for people.
My diamond and my setting come to me by way of the in-laws. “I’m thinking of proposing maybe eventually,” said loving fiancée. “Oh, good; we have a diamond, if you want,” said soon-to-be father-in-law.
(It’s the diamond which soon-to-be mother-in-law wore on her left hand as an engaged lady; she swapped it out for a new one a few years ago.)
(Soon-to-be aunt-in-law claims credit for having planted the idea, that soon-to-be parents-in-law might want to set aside that first diamond for when their son, loving fiancée, would be ready to pop the question)
(Personally, I can’t imagine how soon-to-be mother-in-law, who is an incredibly graceful and gracious woman, would ever want to give up something this pretty to an awkward pipsqueak of a soon-to-be daughter-in-law) (But I’m awfully glad she did) (And I’m touched that a sliver of a legacy is passed along there, on my hand, lit up in the supernova glow)
I’m getting on a plane today, going on a three-week trip for work. In the weeks leading up to this, I went back and forth, over and over, about whether I wanted to take my beloved ring along, before finally purchasing an inexpensive do-fer (Theatre term – a prop that wouldn’t be used in an actual performance but will suffice for rehearsals – as in “It’ll do fer now”) to wear while I’m away, so my left ring finger isn’t nekkid.
I’m not traveling anywhere dangerous where I think someone would, say, mug me for my engagement ring, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the might-happens, the what-ifs that I might accidentally inflict; what if I took my ring off to shower and it got knocked off the counter and down a heating vent, which I’d then try to pry off with my bare hands, and then I’d burn my fingers beyond repair and come back to the states with horrifically scarred hands that needed to be cybernetically enhanced, and then loving fiancée would leave me because I was a robot… you get the idea. My trusted advisors, bosslady and loving fiancée, both reminded me that whether my worries were realistic or not, they were real in my brain, and as such, better to get a stand-in and not waste energy on worrying.
I feel grossly materialistic, so fiercely enamored of this little band of white gold and the insanely pretty diamond in its lovely talons. I know that it’s a symbol, and the symbol without the substance is meaningless. And as I said, I never really thought about the particulars of an engagement ring would be for me. But the privilege of having this token in my life – this tiny little piece of perfection – and the fact that it’s a chosen representation of something in us – is more powerful to me than I ever anticipated.
So – now I just need to settle on a wedding band that I adore just as well (loving fiancée may have already found his). No pressure.