From the Blog

The Story Of The Ring

For some, this may be interesting. For others, hopelessly boring. Thankfully, we can’t seem to throw a rock without hitting someone who is getting married this year. I like to surround myself with people who share my interests. Furthermore, if you are reading this blog, it is likely you are my friend, or you may know me in some way, and you are obligated to be interested when I blather on and on like this. You’re my friend, aren’t you? OBLIGATED.

In the two years I have known Dave, I have come to understand that we, as a couple, have a number of remarkable, quirky compatibilities. He would probably be happy never having to drive a car again in his life. I have a mental list of fun cars I would purchase if I won the lottery. It takes him less than 30 seconds to become frustrated with something mechanical or technological that isn’t intuitive or readily apparent. I am glad to pour over an instruction manual until I fit the pieces together. He loves beer and has been patiently introducing me to all his favorites. But he never has to worry about his roommate (me) cleaning out the fridge of all his beer.

It was close to the beginning of our relationship that he told me he appreciated “strong” women, and that we are an uncommon breed. Without being psycho, of course. Most of us are psychos. So I kept that in mind as we began talking about our future together. He began hinting about ring sizes. I worried about him agonizing about what kind of ring to get me. And then I worried about me, also agonizing over what kind of ring he might be getting me. I decided maybe I could help us both out.

I looked at a few jewelers online, just to see what was “out there.” Good lord. What a shit-ton of ugly jewelry there is out there. Many of the big name jewelers had rings that either looked totally generic and factory made, or they looked like old lady jewelry, or they looked like pimp jewelry. I began to realized that old ladies and pimps have the EXACT same taste.

Most of the engagement rings all looked alike. And when they all look the same, really the only distinguishing factor is the size of the diamond. I didn’t care to start down that slippery slope. Dave recently paid off the last of his debt and is happy living debt free. I would have been disappointed if he immediately went back into debt on my account. And I knew I didn’t want a generic, off-the-shelf engagement ring.

As I was looking around at jewelers, I did find an intriguing local place called Equinox Jewelers in NW Portland. They didn’t just have one or two pieces that looked interesting. Everything on their site seemed creative and inspired. It felt more like I was looking at little pieces of art compared to all the generic jewelry I had seen elsewhere. I liked that they were local and I liked that they had a page dedicated to their principles. On a Saturday we were out running errands, I dragged Dave over to come take a look with me.

I spoke with Dian at Equinox and began explaining what I might like for a ring. For a stone, I was thinking a bright, grass green peridot. But I learned peridot is not really hard enough to wear on a day-to-day ring. I was curious about Oregon sunstone, but it’s even softer. I sort of had my heart set on something green, but even emeralds are fairly fragile.

They had lots of other jewelry with tons of pretty stones. They were even better looking in person than on the website. I made an appointment with Dian to talk more about what I might like, and to bring in some of my old jewelry that I might be able to use in trade. This gave me some time to do some research and think about it a little harder.

I’ve heard a few people echo this sentiment, but I had never really thought about engagement rings, or stones, or wedding stuff because I never thought I was going to get married. I really, really, didn’t. In my twenties, I remember seeing people get married and I was always flabbergasted that they found someone they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with. I was amazed by this. I never trusted myself to feel so certain about anything in my twenties. I was distrustful that I would ever find someone with lifetime compatibility, let alone marry them.

Years and years went by and I had various relationships, some of them good, but nothing ever came close to “marriage material.” I was accustomed to being without someone rather than with someone. I was used to the idea that I wouldn’t be getting married. It was so ingrained, I didn’t even give it a second thought. I could attempt to control my career, or where I lived, or what I accomplished in my life. But relationships seemed mystifying and fateful. I could only really count on what I did with my own life. I couldn’t count on someone else to come along and want to share it with me.

So the result. I had never, up until the past couple of months, thought about “wedding stuff.” There is a billion dollar industry out there devoted to giving women their princess day. I never gave it a second thought. It didn’t apply to me. Never thought about diamonds, white dresses, big parties. While much of the pageantry and hoopla still doesn’t really apply to me, (I love the word hoopla. Hoopla! Hoopla! Hoopla! I’m using it a lot lately), I needed to get used to the idea that, holy crap, we’re getting married. I got me a goddamned husband.

I went home and began looking at stones for an engagement ring. There’s a lot of hoopla about stones. I rather quickly ruled out a diamond. One benefit of not having thought about this very long, is that I’m not interested in fulfilling any long-held traditions or following any conventions or customs. I wanted to do something different. I knew I wanted the stone to be square, and I knew I wanted the points to face north-south-east-west, instead of parallel to the band. I learned that situating the stone in this way is called “on the bias.”

I was at a loss for a green stone since the peridot would be too soft. I didn’t want dark green, and I didn’t want a yellow green. I began thinking about a blue green. Aquamarines were pretty, but not as saturated and bright as an irradiated blue topaz. The blue topaz were shockingly bright blue. They were almost too much. It rarely occurs in nature. They have to put a yellow topaz in a reactor and bombard them with neutrons or electrons to make them that bright, swimming pool blue. They have to “cool off” for a year before they can sell them. Maybe they might give you cancer. But the government says probably not.

I liked the aquamarine more and more. When I met Dian at Equinox, we sketched out the design of the ring. She was patient with my jewelry ignorance and helped hone my ideas into a workable design. I knew I wanted white gold. A square stone, set on the bias, with a flat band (like linguine instead of spaghetti) and with a brushed finish instead of shiny. We made another appointment and she set off to find me a stone. This was kind of fun.

The stone on the upper left is an aquamarine with a princess cut. The lower stone on the left was a blue topaz with a princess cut. The stone in the tweezers was an aquamarine with a “step” cut. This last stone was as “deep” as it was wide. It was like looking into a deep pool. The color was a bit darker and smokier than the blue topaz. It felt more natural and sophisticated. Dian knew I would like this stone.

She showed me some computer generated mock ups of the ring, showing various enclosures for the stone. Originally, we didn’t have any deadlines for the ring. But we realized we had a big party with friends coming up, and a week later, an event with Dave’s family. It would be nice to have the ring before we started telling our friends. Dian said she could make us the ring in time for our family event, but probably not for our St. Unicorn’s party. About two weeks.

Now I was excited. This felt like a hoopla. I already loved this ring, and it wasn’t even made yet. I was so happy to create something custom and personal and different. Dave was happy he didn’t have to sneak around and try to find something he hoped I would like. He was totally off the hook. He was ready to just show up and sign a check and put it on my finger.

And since the ring was being made from scratch, I was thrilled about another personal addition. On my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary (almost 10 years ago), my mom and dad bought themselves new wedding rings. My mom kept the original engagement ring that my dad proposed to her with. She sent me her original engagement ring and wedding band a few months ago. Perhaps she was sending us a hint.

I brought my mom’s rings to Dian at Equinox. She used the gold from my mom’s rings to make my engagement ring.

I hope that this ring brings us happiness and success that my parents have had…35 years and still grabbing each others’ butts in public.


  1. Also! Dian called up a WEEK EARLY to tell us the ring was ready. She knew we had an event and got us the ring a week ahead of schedule. I can’t recommend Equinox Jewelers enough.

  2. Yay!!! Fun!!!! Excellent choice!!! And you know, I never thought I would be doing the whole, white dress (ivory), DJ (mixer), and “garden wedding” (specialized wedding location). When you least expect it!!! I can’t wait to see you guys get married!!!! VERY, VERY excited for your hoopla!!!

  3. Ya, okay I was bored to tears reading this, but I read it anyway even though I don’t know you or Dave but just because I loved so many of your previous blog posts. You’re not going to be posting about organza and veils and flowers and showers and stuff from now on are you?

  4. There is a very clear moment i remember from my wedding. sitting on the couch, piles of “stuff-that-has-to-be-done” all around, lists on the coffee table, mapping out how the next few days of wedding chores will go… jake and I looked at each other and said “seriously, is it too late to just go to the courthouse?” somehow, you get sucked into all this stuff. my recomendation is to stay with your original ideas, within reason. some change of plans is good, but avoid major change. my 2 cents.

    the ring is lovely btw.

  5. I love the ring! I have a bit of a problem with the “principles” page for the jeweler though:

    “Jewelry Made From Recycled Metals
    As a consumer, you may have concerns about
    the environmental impact of the jewelry you wear.
    Mining of precious metals has negative
    implications for the planet. Mining practices can
    contaminate the water supply, cause erosion and
    disrupt habitat.”

    It’s not that bad , really! (only saying this because I sold my soul to a mining company) The hole isn’t even a mile across!

  6. @Meredith, Watching you organize your wedding makes me feel like I’m doing it with you. Thanks for taking one for the team.

    @XUP, Just wait, it only gets more sappy from here.

    @kelli, Meredith’s wedding is just weeks before mine. So I will see lots of family and friends there. So then, I can sneak off and have a tiny 15 minute wedding in a park somewhere. Thanks, sis!

    @Steve, I forgot your livelihood comes from mining gold. I’ll try to be more sensitive next time. Dave should have asked if you could get us an employee discount. Because that would have been romantic.

  7. Love it!

    It also makes me wish I had the wisdom of my 30s back in my early 20s. Not that I’d change the decisions I’ve made (great husband! awesome husband!) but I truly marvel at how much confidence I have now versus then. It’s so nice to know what you want and to just do it.

  8. That is beautiful! I love the stone, and the fact that the gold came from your mom’s ring. How awesome :) I got married at 24, and although I did a fantastic job of picking a husband, I wish I had just opted for the plain band I’m wearing now, right from the get-go. I guess we get smarter as we get older…

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