photo © 2009 Leland Francisco | more info (via: Wylio)
I took a friend ring-shopping while she visited in January, which precipitated this whole adventure. So I could just say this is Ashley’s fault, but the truth is that purchasing a new wedding band for me was far more than just a whim or something influenced by a friend.
We’ve been together 19.5 years now – and Mark put an engagement ring on my hand 18 years ago this month. We were very different people back then – not just naive, but embroiled in our own individual unhealthy patterns and somehow we meshed them in to a marriage. Ring shopping with Ashley was a catalyst to realizing that we were now in a place where we could make a new statement about our love and commitment. We renewed our vows in November 2010, so this was a logical next step.
And since we bought the original wedding trio at Kay Jewelers, we went back there. I tried on several, but like
Goldilocks, none of them were quite right. Then I found one that was simply beautiful (to the right) and we put money down on it, layaway-style. The sales people couldn’t understand why we didn’t just apply for credit and buy it right then, but we are paying down a debt-snowball, not adding to it. We were adamant. I didn’t sleep much that night, questioning if we did the right thing, but in the morning, Mark assured me that we had. The ring was beautiful and he said, “You’re worth it to me.” Melt.
We diligently saved for 3 months and went back in when we were instructed, because “they would discount it further.” Cool! But when we got there, there was no “extra discount,” only instructions to come back next month. Crud. The next month (four months after putting the initial layaway payment on the ring), we went back with cash in hand, expecting to leave with a ring – or at least, getting the ring sized. Nope. This time, we got the runaround from the store manager and were told that in 6 weeks they would be able to adjust the price and make good on the sale. We were crushed.
We “struck gold” at one jeweler in particular, Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers (pun not intended). Ed was our salesman and he spent a good hour with us, explaining cut, clarity, what the designers could do for us, and how they were all about the relationship between jeweler and customer. We realized at that moment that the original ring was never discussed in terms of cut, clarity, or quality of diamonds; we didn’t know what we were buying. At Coffin & Trout, we felt cared for, educated, and genuinely listened to there. I tried on two different rings (I have “a thing” for pavé diamonds), and we left contemplating our options. Just for grins, we went to another (chain) jeweler and I was appalled – it felt as though I was in WalMart, trying to buy a diamond and being pressured in to making a decision in 15 minutes. Needless to say, we didn’t go back to that store.
I set out on a journey to figure out exactly what I wanted. I visited stores, looked at catalogs, and browsed online jewelry designs. I came back to my thumb-ring, which is a Celtic knot. If you know me, you know that my heritage is Celtic (as is Mark’s), our playlists are dominated by Celtic music, and our hearts are full-on Celt. I began sketching my Celtic knot on paper, coming to a design that I really thought was perfect.