Thursday, April 28, 2005

Diamonds

Our resident "Blogfather" John posted an entry yesterday about how 2-carats and above are becoming the new "norm" to replace the coveted 1-carat diamond engagement ring that most of us girls have drooled over back in our single days.


I agree with him...if you are all about the "rock" then buyer beware! That really should be a major red flag to your menfolk.


Now don't get me wrong. I love diamonds. Always have. But I told my man long ago that getting married to him was the most important thing to me, ring or no ring. Lucky for me I found a guy who likes to spoil me (within certain budget constraints, of course).


Thinking about diamonds sent my brain into rewind mode. John was so funny back when we were dating...quirky is a good word. He had very set ideas in his mind on how things would proceed once he made the decision that he was going to get married (and oh BROTHER was he slow to decide). Examples? He didn't want to get married too young. Not a bad idea really, but the age he had in mind as "perfect" was 32.5 years of age (his Dad's age when HE got married). Fine. I could wait.


He also didn't want our engagement or wedding to happen on any "special" days (like Valentine's or Christmas) because he wanted the day to be all about us. No holidays or obligations to take away from the significance of OUR day. Fine. I could understand that (even if I did think that getting a ring on Valentine's Day was really romantic).


John felt that old "rule" about the engagement ring being at least 2 months salary was stupid. What did it matter if the ring cost less (or more) as long as we liked it? True. I wasn't hung up on price. I just knew what I liked and knew I would know "it" when I saw "it". And I saw it! I found the exact ring that I loved in a Bridal magazine and covertly cut the picture out.


Now it was all just a waiting game. We had been seeing each other for years. I knew it was just a matter of time (and patience) on my part. I had to wait for him to be mentally ready (and he was waitingfor me to mature a bit too, I later found out).


Late in our dating years, I had moved to a condo in New Hampshire and John had taken a new job back in New Jersey. He hated Massachusetts with a passion and I couldn't blame him for wanted to go back home. I knew I would follow him down there as soon as we got engaged...in the mean time, we were doing the long distance relationship thing. It was a long long drive and we were taking turns...5 hours down and 5 hours back up again...every other weekend. Ugh.


I think all the driving is what finally convinced him it was time; all that time to think in the car and all...or maybe he got white line fever and went temporarily insane! We talked almost every night by phone and he surprised me one night by saying "I think it's time we went ring shopping." Holy crap! I thought my heart would stop. The next morning at work I started asking all the married women where their men had bought their engagement rings.


I struck gold...er...diamonds when I spoke with Diane. She had the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen. She clued me in about shopping in "the diamond district" in downtown Boston (same stop off the T as the big Filene's Basement store where I eventually bought my wedding dress). She also said our first stop should be DeScenza's. She taught me all about the 4 C's (color, cut, clarity and cost). She was like a walking encyclopedia of jewelry knowledge! Things like...always buy the stone separately from the setting (some jewelers hide flaws in their stones under the prongs)...yadda yadda. It was a lot to take in.


I shared all my new-found diamond shopping expertise with John so he would know what to look for. I even gave him the picture of the ring that I had cut out of the magazine. He wanted to know what part of "time for US to go ring shopping" had I not understood. He was PETRIFIED to buy the ring by himself. He wanted so badly to make sure it was the perfect one and was so scared of disappointing me. Sooo sweet! (See why I married him?)


Now here is where it gets fun...he was up visiting me for the weekend so I said "Fine. Let's go shopping." He got a little pale. "NOW? You want to go NOW???" Sure? Why not? Hee hee!! So off we went. We drove to a parking deck I knew of off Rt. 3a and took the T the rest of the way into town.


DeScenza's was pretty easy to find and packed full of shoppers. I don't know why I should be surprised. It was a beautiful day and SATURDAY, after all. We mentioned we were shopping for engagement rings to one of the people roaming the showroom and a short time later a nice looking young guy came over to us. He shook John's hand and introduced himself as Tyler DeScenza (oh cool!) and apologized that they had no "viewing rooms" open at the moment...would we mind going in the back to their workroom to look at stones? Uh no! I didn't mind a bit!


We got to sit where the diamond merchants sat...men who bought and sold those rare stones in bulk. It was so neat to see their operation from behind the scenes.


Tyler explained again about the 4 C's and how it was best to view stones against a pure white background so we could really see the color variations. Then he took John aside to have a quiet man to man talk about prices and to check John's affordability level. I thought it was so cute that they were keeping the cost of the ring a secret from me. I would only be shown stones in John's price range - therefore I wouldn't fall in love with anything that was way out of his price range. Cool, eh?


Tyler went to the safe and pulled out all these little paper packets (looked like waxed paper without the wax) and set them up on a tray. He would give us the details about the stone (size, cut, color, clarity rating, number of facets) and then pour the stone out of the packet onto a white sheet on the table. It was amazing how a stone that looked perfectly clear in his hand would take on a yellowish cast against the white. The color variations were amazing. I saw a pink diamond too.


I would study the displayed stone and then ask for one that was just a little bit larger...then one with a slightly better color rating...and so on. Until finally I saw it. THE stone. It was 2 facets shy of 1 full carat and had a perfect color rating with only slight inclusions (bits of carbon that were only visible under extreme magnification). Perfectly flawless stones, Tyler said, were really high in price and usually only purchased by collectors or the wealthy. I was happy with my stone. It LOOKED perfect. And really, that was all that mattered. *big wink*


Then came the really fun part...choosing a setting! Tyler asked if I had any particular style in mind... DID I! You betcha! In one rapid breath I told him "14K yellow gold, 6 platinum prongs with channel set diamonds on either side". Whew! Tyler laughed and said he loved a lady who knew what she wanted. He brought me back an entire tray of settings that matched my wants.


My eyes skimmed rapidly over the tray and there it was...upper right corner. Tyler laughed again and said "Most expensive one on the tray...you have a good eye." I grimaced and look at John. He just smiled and nodded at Tyler. "Give her what ever she wants." Gosh I love that man.


One last quirk...John made a big deal about having the ring shipped to him back home in New Jersey (which ended up somehow saving us from paying sales tax or luxury tax or somesuch, much to our surprise) and that I was NOT TO KNOW when it arrived...nor was I to know in advance WHEN he was going to give it to me. He was again adamant that it be a total surprise and he catch me completely off guard. Fine. I could wait. I was good at waiting. After all, I had only planned to LOOK at rings that day, not buy!!!


I may have told this story already in a previous entry about events leading up to my wedding day, but I don't feel like going back to look, so I will also briefly tell about how I got engaged.


Months past and ring shopping day was becoming a fond memory. We were hanging out in John's living room in the house he was renting from a pal of his. Everything else we did that day has flown out of my head because of the events that unfolded next. As I sat on the sofa, John excused himself to go to the bathroom. He was acting a bit odd, but nothing I could put my finger on.


A long stretch of time passed (not that unusual for a man with a bathroom full of magazines) and I heard a strange noise. It sounded like something was crawling around in the walls. The sound continued and I got up and went to the bathroom door to ask "What are you doing in there?"


"Nothing!!!" His voice sounded a little strained and the weird sound in the walls continued. I stayed outside the door and kinda started to put my ear up against it just as he flung the door open. I jumped back and noticed he had a packaged in his hands wrapped in brown shipping paper. "Uh...here." He awkwardly handed me the package and said, "Will you marry me?"


I started to laugh! "Are you really proposing to me in the bathroom?"


He grinned and said, "Well... the doorway, anyway."


I hugged him and I think I said yes before we sat back down on the sofa. I unwrapped the brown paper and started laughing again. Naturally, DeScenza's had wrapped the ring box in GORGEOUS wrapping paper and ribbon. John groaned. He hadn't bothered to look inside the brown paper to check for that.


The ring was breath-taking and I went from laughing to crying in no time flat.


So, I got engaged in a bathroom doorway. Romantic, no?



I took this photo while we were on our honeymoon. Our wedding bands are matching plain gold...but John told me one day he would get me a matching anniversary band...and so he did. Now the anniversary band is what I wear every day. I thought this shot of my hand now against my monitor showing the photo from my honeymoon looked kinda cool. (I took it for the flower, really, and not the ring).


I did sneak into the bedroom earlier to fetch my ring so I could wear it for this photo, but I couldn't find it in the dark without disturbing the boys. Tyler was asleep in the bed in John's spot and John was sleeping on the floor. For a little boy, Ty sure takes up a LOT of room in the bed. Someday maybe he will sleep in his own room all night.


 



And totally off the subject, I finally got a photo of my window that shows off the colors of my glassware (I mentioned I would post this when I did the original photo challenge and wasn't happy with how dark the glass looked). See? Hues of royal purple, fuchsia, aqua, celadon, sapphire...you should see the pools of color that get created on my carpet. I was inspired to do this display on my window ledge by THIS house...


 



This was a home we toured in an outer banks development in South Carolina when we were on vacation there a couple years ago. I would love to own a beach front vacation home like this one. Wow. Tyler loved the huge clawfooted tub in the guest bathroom.


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