Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Ring

It is the hardest substance known to man. and was formed over 3.3 billion years ago below the earth's surface. It weighs less the 1% of one ounce. You can find it in oval, marquis, emerald, pear, princess and round...and it is one of the most difficult things to pick out for a woman.

A big red X had been put next to one of the biggest decisions in life, I was going to ask Martha to marry me. The rest, as they say, would be easy as pie... That was until finding myself in the middle of a jewelry store in search of THE ring. As bright florescent lights beamed down upon me and endless rows of glass counters surrounded me, an overwhelmed feeling began to creep up inside of me. If that was not enough, the obnoxious amount of lose diamonds and ring settings sent my head spinning. I just walked into a situation I was not fully prepared for.

One might have said that the proper research had been done. The three 3 C's, (cut, clarity and color) had been studied. A budget had been set. Even the fees associated with mounting and insurance had been considered. What had not been prepared for was the endless combination of settings and diamonds.From cathedral to halo and paved to solitaire, so many choices were to be had. What should have been known was that when it came to a decision about something for a woman, it was going to be complicated.

One part of the process that was most difficult was picking out a style. You can look online at endless websites that let you create a ring, but it never compares to the real thing. For that, you have to actually go into a store and look at it first hand.

My first experience with a jewelry store, which shall remain nameless, was not the most reassuring. Not only where they over the top pushy, but they wanted my autobiography right there in the store in order to even get to look at any rings. Not only that, but when one associate got a sniff that no ring was to be purchased that day, the big dogs were called in and the heat was turned on. Luckily, I stuck to my guns, but my mind was made up only minutes after sitting in that store. No ring would be purchased here, ever.

One of the best things that I did was go to the Shane Company for my second stop. It too had the same overwhelming atmosphere of endless cases and bright shiny rings, but they also had very nice staff that genuinely seemed interested in helping me find what I wanted and not just sell me a product.

During my first stop there, an associate named Emily was very helpful through the entire process. After making it very clear that the goal of my visit was just to look, Emily made it clear that she did not work on commission and was just there to be as helpful as she could be. She was great. Not once was she pushy and she never showed me anything that was not in my budget. She even went as far as to help me calculate the taxes that would be paid in order to stay within my desired budget. In comparing the size and quality of the ring from "the shop that shall not be named" and the Shane Company, it was clear that it was a better bang for the buck. After an experience like that, there was no need to shop anywhere else.

I left the store that day with options, but not the perfect ring in mind. The biggest hurtle was picking out a style for Martha. The last piece of jewelry I purchased for her was a blue sapphire ring for Christmas some six or seven years ago. She is not the type of person who wears a lot of jewelry, so not much was there from which to draw inspiration. To further complicate matters, I didn't know her ring size! After many dubious attempts to lure her into telling me, it was realized that Martha didn't really know either. In the end, it took me stealing Martha's everyday ring one day while she was in the shower and finding out what finger of mine it would fit on. That ring barely slid to the knuckle of my pinkey finger. Luckily, that was enough to obtain a ring size by comparison at the jewelry store.

After many restless nights droaning over the decision my mind was finally made up. In the end, when I stopped and really thought about what sort of ring would suite Martha it was really pretty easy. What all of us know about Martha is that she is not a complicated girl. From the many settings of rings, one kept standing out. One ring that, in a way, reflects some of the great things about Martha. It is simple and its traditional. Its elegant but not over the top. Because of its simplicity and grace, its best features are extenuated. Because of all of these things, it is amazingly beautiful.

Soon after, I made my way back into the store, found Emily and paid for the perfect ring. At that moment,  something my mother told me years ago came back to me.

"Nicholas my dear," she said, "girls are expensive."

But to be honest, she's worth every penny!