Our ring, with the flowers from his proposal
Pretty, right? Yeah, and so much more sparkly than I ever anticipated, thanks to the synthetic sapphire. Synthetic sapphire is chemically a real sapphire – there’s nothing fake about it, it’s just created in a lab instead of extracted from a mine. There are numerous benefits to using a synthetic over a mined gem. Because it’s lab-created, it can be made without any flaws or imperfections, giving it clarity and sparkle similar to a diamond. Mined sapphires of this size and quality would cost many thousands of dollars, whereas the raw materials for similar synthetics can be purchased for well under $100. We also bypassed the negative environmental impact associated with mined gems (which is the primary reason I insisted on a synthetic.) Once we found a genius stonecutter who was willing to work with synthetic gems (few are), we had a stunning sparkle of a rock that looks like a much more expensive status symbol than I would normally be comfortable wearing.
Women in my mother’s generation all tell me I’ll grow into the sparkle and appreciate it later. Well, I definitely appreciate the ring now, but I’m not sure I’ll ever grow into this particular sparkle. In fact, when I’m out at night, I’ve already started swinging the ring around so the stone is hidden in my palm and I don’t attract muggers. It’s also difficult to deal with others’ response to the ring, particularly the “how-big-is-that-sapphire” questions. Just to clarify, I have no idea the carat size of my ring, nor do I give a d*mn what carat size you’re wearing either. It's as big/small as it needed to be to fill my mother's heirloom setting, so take me out of the carat-size competition altogether, please. (If the first thing you mention to me is the size of your new diamond ring, I know to cross you off the we-could-be-bosom-friends list.)
Frustratingly, no one seems to believe me. I know it shouldn’t matter what other people think (good or bad), but I’m entirely irritated that so many colleagues, acquaintances, and even long-time friends seem to dismiss my careful explanation of my initial ring ambivalence, our egalitarian proposal, and our ethical ring decision process with a “yeah right, whatever.” Apparently, according to them, all women want a ring. This is almost as laughable as when J’s friends told him that all women want an expensive ring, so he should ignore my stated requirement that the engagement ring be inexpensive. I’m really uncomfortable with a ring that suddenly lumps me in with “all women.” I’m also particularly uncomfortable with the notion that all women forgo rational cost-benefit and value-based decision making when it comes to engagement rings and that men (paternalistically) know what individual women really want, based on broad gender-based generalizations.
Putting aside what the morons out there assume about me and my ring, the other much more practical issue is that I’m a complete klutz. And this is a raised-setting ring. And it keeps sliding off my finger and spinning around. (Unfortunately, it can’t be resized because my fingers are nearly bi-polar in their swell/shrink behavior.) And so, I’ve already managed to bang up the ring, bend a prong on the sapphire, and knock a diamond out of the setting. I found the diamond (thank goodness) but the ring is now waiting in a drawer until I find time to get it repaired. Just over a month and it already needs repairs. Clearly, this will be a special-occasion-only ring once we have children because, at this rate, I’d destroy the ring and permanently maim any future children with my (apparently very rough) treatment of my hands and rings.
Darn. As much as I know the ring is entirely impractical and as much as I never needed or wanted a ring, I miss it now while it’s awaiting repairs. And I miss it for my future mom self. And I miss what it means to be perceived as just me, and not as engaged-me. And I know this is all entirely ridiculous, because it’s just a meaningful, pretty symbol of our personal commitment. Has anyone else felt similarly conflicted about their ring? I can’t be the only one who’s having adjustment issues even though they completely love their ring, right?