In mid-January, my boyfriend, Rob, and I went to a jeweler in Towson to find a watch for him. Being a particular fellow, he spent over an hour trying on watches while I struggled to maintain interest. We then took a walk around the mall so he could mull over his choices, and by the time we returned I was ready for some Me time. I pointed to a canary-ish ring in the case and asked to try it on.
Rob and I had discussed engagement rings before. I knew I wanted a solitaire, preferably canary, with a thin band. The ring I spotted that day was exactly what I had in mind. I admired it on my finger (it fit perfectly) and Rob saw my face go from annoyed to bliss, because I am apparently shallow and easily comforted by diamonds. We asked for the price, and were surprised to hear it was $8,900.
I say surprised because this thing was big. I know nothing about diamonds other than that they are sparkly, but even with my novice eye I knew the quoted price was a deal. The woman explained that it was discolored, not certified, and estate, thus the (relatively) inexpensive price. I continued to marvel over it while Rob took a hit off his inhaler and reconsidered his interest in proposing to me.
On our way home I texted a picture of it to my sister and best friend, and practiced my "I know it's big, but it's not certified. It's discolored. It's used" speech to the imaginary people giving me attitude for having a big old honking ring. This was the first time we had ever looked at a ring together, and I reveled in the pre-engagement excitement, spiked with the fantasy of having that rock on my finger.
Fabulous man that he is (and unbeknownst to me) Rob went back the next day to buy it. He had different sales people, and when he asked to see the ring and they looked surprised.
"This ring?" Rob nodded.
They eyed up his old boat shoes and khakis. "You're sure?" They pulled if from the case and Rob nearly fell over.
The ring was not $8,900. It was $89,000. The damn thing was nearly seven carats. We were wildly misquoted by the first saleswoman.
Rob asked to see some other rings, please.
The ring on my finger as I type this is stunning. It's a radiant cut canary flanked by two diamond baguettes (it took 26 years and one proposal for me to understand what that description means) and I love it. Rob obviously couldn't tell me the whole ring story until he proposed, and I suspect his impulsive, late night proposal had something to do with him not being able to wait any longer to tell me about getting Pretty Woman-ed at the jewelers.
There is a lot of stress put on men when they buy a ring. It's probably the most expensive, non-essential purchase they've made, and it has to say so many things. I love you. I listened to you when you dropped hints about cut and color. I went through your jewelry box because I needed your ring size. I could afford this many carats, so if it's not enough you might want to hit the road because winning the lottery is not my business plan.
The ridiculous seven carat boulder would not have been indicative of our relationship. Even if we had walked out that day and paid $8,900, I think I would be embarrassed by it, and I definitely would have lost/chipped/shattered it. It was stunning, but it wasn't me, and it certainly wasn't us. An engagement ring is a declaration of I WANT YOU, not I WANT YOUR FRIENDS TO KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I MAKE, and a ring that size might indicate the latter.
I could say that the moral of this story is to find a ring that embodies you as a couple, and to remember that more important than the ring is the question that precedes it, but the real take-away from this post is far simpler:
Always double check the price tag.