Monday, January 24, 2011

Rings and Perfect Moments of Happenstance

This wedding has a funny way of turning my decisions upside down, laughing at me with an "I told you so" gleam out of the corner of its eye, and shoving the best outcome into my hand, even if I'd been unwilling to see it before.

The ring shopping process was no exception. I'd made my decision, after a lot of soul-searching and budget calculations. I wanted a sustainably-made ring (no newly mined gold or unethically mined gems) and I wanted something I could wear on its own, without my engagement ring. And although I wanted a plain band for a variety of reasons, I found myself drawn back to this handmade stunner from Blanca Monros Gomez. So I decided to listen to my heart and dig deep into my pocket for a meaningful purchase that still met my criteria with its recycled gold, responsibly-sourced diamond, subtle-but-gorgeous design. I just needed to get my finger properly sized so I could order the ring (since my engagement ring has always been a bit big).

This weekend, we finally went to a jeweler to measure my finger, resize my engagement ring, and to shop for Jason's ring (What? We procrastinate but ten weeks isn't frantic last-minute territory for rings). I tried on a few rings at the shop (What? I'm like a bird - attracted to pretty sparkles), but remained confident in my earlier ring decision. Jason really liked a tungsten ring, but we made a second stop at the Sherman Oaks Antique Mall on a friend's recommendation, to compare all his options on such an important purchase. 

And that's when I saw it, in amongst a case of vintage ring lovelies: a single dainty eternity ring.  I don't even like eternity rings - they feel too flashy for me - and yet, I needed to try it on. And so I did. And it was perfect (and I don't use the word "perfect" lightly). It fit perfectly on my finger (which is important and rare in a vintage shop, because eternity rings can't be resized). It fit perfectly with my engagement ring (unlike every other ring I'd tried on, it looked like it belonged with it). And it looked even better on its own as a simple, slender, elegant band of teeny sparkles. At it was the perfect price too: the very upper limit of what I was willing to spend on my ring, and the exact same price I had been quoted by Blanca.  Its vintage gold and gems even met my criteria for sustainability.

It took me a few minutes to say goodbye to my hopes for a simpler band. I ran around all the Antique Mall stalls trying on plain bands, etched gold bands, and minimally sparkly vintage bands, but I could just feel the ground shifting beneath me in a perfect moment of happenstance. That specific eternity band is exactly what I've always wanted, even if I hadn't known it beforehand.

Like with so many other things about this wedding, my expectations have been turned on their head and my thoughtful calculations were thrown aside in a gut-check moment of rightness. We've spent so much time during this engagement clarifying our joint values. We've been deliberate with our decision-making, using this process as a springboard for the larger life we're building together. But sometimes the right answer for our wedding leaps out and surprises me - whether its a necklace, a ring, our invitation design, or a compromise I didn't want to initially make.  And in these last few frantic weeks before the wedding, it's a relief to know we can count on our gut to guide us. We've done the hard work and we know what's important to our core-selves. So when the right option presents itself, we're actually ready to embrace it, even if it wasn't what we expected.* And so now I'm the excited owner of a vintage eternity band I keep sneaking off to try on and Jason put in his order for the first tungsten ring that caught his eye. And we are both thrilled, because these choices are perfect for us.


*And yes, this does suddenly seem like a giant metaphor for how I met and fell for Jason.

13 comments:

  1. Woohoo for the rings! I love it when you find something unexpected that is just so perfect!

    p.s. Are people still making it a bit hard or are things getting better?

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  2. glad you found something! i'm glad you're willing to break out of your expectations and set ideas...you know? says something about you...all good things.

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  3. @Chic n Cheap - thanks! And I've just decided that these last few weeks aren't meant to be easy. Emotions are running really high and we're in get-things-done-talk-later mode, which can create problems. We're all working on it.

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  4. It's a relief to know that even when there is chaos surrounding us, and personality clashes galore, our gut instincts are there to help us. I'm glad your ring adventure has helped put some of the shine back into your wedding for you.

    This post sounds also lot like how I fell in love with my engagement ring, which wasn't planned at all. We weren't even ready to BE engaged, but we were wandering around one of our favorite antique malls in Orange, when I peaked into a case at a little jewelry shop in the corner. Tony noticed my ring, suggested I try it on, and it fit (a miracle for a 90-year-old ring). It felt light and airy (I didn't want a heavy ring)and was so perfect that when the shop owner asked me how it felt, I said it felt like I should never take it off.

    (Also, when we went back for our wedding bands, Tony did the same thing that Jason did -- tried on one band -- ONE -- and said, "I like this.")

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  5. Oh this makes my heart happy. I'm over the moon that you found something that moves you so "perfectly" and meets your requirements even if it doesn't fit into your expectations. I mean, wouldn't life be boring if everything met our expectations? So hooray!

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  6. Love, love, love the footnote. :)

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  7. Can we have a photo?

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  8. Yay! We'll have matching rings then!!!

    (PS, yes, eternity bands can be re-sized. Mine was. It's just tricky.)

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  9. What a lovely story! That is how we are trying to pick vendors - going with people who we might not have expected would be for us, but just feel right. I figure with all that rightness around on the day, we can't go far wrong.

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  10. @Sarah - that just made my soul happy. The ring wanted you to get engaged! (Or something.)

    @Anonymous - I'm trying to keep certain things off the blog. It seems right to share the most personal things with my family and friends at the wedding before I share them here. :)

    @Meg - Oh! Then in a just-in-case scenario, I will clearly be talking to a different jeweler about resizing.

    @anotherringcoming - Yep. Sometimes knowing I have the right gut-check vendors and wedding decisions is the only thing that's kept me going in this process.

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  11. Hi, I enjoyed reading your blog. It's wonderful when people find the "perfect" ring! Another good thing about your choice is that vintage jewelry is ethical and eco-friendly -- just like the first ring you were considering. (Disclosure: I work with Brilliant Earth, an ethical origin jeweler, so I'm familiar with some of the ethical concerns of ring shoppers.) Some people would even consider a vintage ring the most ethical and environmental ring choice of all. Because no new mining is needed, no environmental footprint is left. Good luck with all your wedding shopping and enjoy the big day! - Greg, www.brilliantearth.com

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  12. one of my favorite things about wedding planning was the evolution of what I wanted and how it changed during my engagement. glad you got just what you wanted! its nice when things work out perfectly regardless of how they started

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