I was just paging through the latest issue of Vanity Fair and there it was. A three page spread of the most gorgeous, curated ads for the most exquisite Tiffany engagement rings. Is there nothing more beautiful and desirable than a Tiffany engagement ring?! And there came back a flood of memories as I looked down at my naked left-hand ring finger.
When I knew that an engagement was on the mind of my now ex-husband, I remember running into the office and telling one of my best co-worker girlfriends! What kind of diamond do you want, was her question?! As a 32-year-old unmarried woman who was previously happy and mostly thriving in her singleness, I really had not given it a thought. She was maybe even more excited than I and insisted in running up Michigan Avenue to Tiffany’s during our lunch hour that very day. Pear-shaped, round, princess-cut. All so much to process. Cut, clarity, carat. Ugh. I was mesmerized with the options as I carefully slipped each version onto my finger.
From that day on, I walked home through the jewelry district on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, staring at the displays of sparkly diamonds, dreaming of which one my boyfriend would present to me. I became obsessed with looking at engagement rings on the fingers of ladies on the train each morning. I was hyper-aware of diamond engagement rings everywhere I looked. What was desirable, what was expected, should I ask for what I want, how much should he be spending? What a materialistic exploration of love!
And then it appeared, my now ex-husband, down on one knee in the very place we had had our first date. He opened the ring box and there it was… the most perfect solitaire, princess cut 1.2 carat diamond I could have ever imagined. It wasn’t obnoxious. It was pure perfection as I slipped it on my finger. I proudly announced my engagement and flaunted it to everyone I knew. From that day forward, I loved and admired and adored that beautiful diamond on my ring finger. Years later (my marriage lasted 12 years), I loved looking at that ring on my finger as much as the first day I slipped it on.
When my now ex-husband and I decided our marriage was over, the thought of taking off that ring and the accompanying wedding band was almost worse than the fact that our marriage was over. Our marriage had grown apart but my love of that diamond was enduring. But that night that we determined our marriage was over, I did take off that ring and put it safely away. I sobbed. My ring finger still had an indentation in the skin where the ring had resided for so many years.
Months later as I went to pick up the check from the dealer who had reset and resold my diamond, I looked at the tiny boxes and boxes stacked up in his office. “All broken marriages” he told me. And just like that, I realized I wasn’t alone. Off I went to the Apple store and used part of the proceeds to buy my Mac Powerbook, from which I wrote my book and continue to blog from today. And I have gotten used to my naked left-hand ring finger. And even more used to my exploration as a writer! I still love a good diamond for sure, but like the idea of buying my own as my life moves forward. Diamonds are not forever but love and honor of oneself sure is.