When my parents got engaged in the ‘60s, my mom’s engagement ring was a simple silver setting of an orange carnelian. Very hippie chic and lovely. She gave it to me a few years ago, and I wear it pretty often.
Somehow this ring instilled in me a very important value for my new engagement: I don’t need a diamond.
This is important because there was seriously no way in hell that Sandy was going to be involved in buying me a diamond. When he asked me to marry him and asked if I wanted a ring, if I had said “yes, and it better be a HUGE diamond,” I’m pretty sure the engagement would have been off. Not kidding.
It’s not that I’ve got anything particularly against diamonds (er, except for that whole slave labor thing) – I’ve seen them used very tastefully for many engagements over the years. People we know and love and respect have very lovely diamond rings.
But there was one moment a few years ago, where I thought, if this is what wanting a diamond looks like, I SO don’t want a diamond.
J. was a friend of a friend from high school. She met a fellow from Houston at a wedding, and started dating him long distance. After a few months, she decided it was time to get engaged and began demanding a ring. Not his undying love and endless affection. A ring.
It took a few months, but finally he delivered. As soon as the ring was on her finger, she scanned her hand and emailed the photo to all her friends.
“It’s not that big in the picture, but in real life it’s HUGE!” she wrote. Ah, young love.
So, no diamond for me. Instead, we found a beautiful and unique ring: rose gold with a large circular piece of labradorite, a lovely and strange mineral from cold climates (no slave labor in Canada!). It sometimes looks light green and sometimes looks dark blue and sometimes when the light hits it right you can see tiny sparks of glitter. This phenomenon is known as (seriously!) labradorescence.
Sometimes I used to wonder what the point of an engagement ring was, whether it was just for other people’s benefit. But it’s not. Now that I’m wearing one, I realize that every time I look at it, I am powerfully reminded of Sandy’s love for me and of the commitment we have made.
He’s wearing an engagement ring, too, and I like to think of him looking down at his ring and feeling the same thing.