Richard unwrapped the two small rings from a bundle of tissue paper. In the bright overhead lighting of his downtown Pittsburgh jewelry store, the diamonds in my wife’s engagement ring and wedding band gleamed like new.
My heart beat faster, something like it did when I’d first bought the engagement ring. I felt a little giddy, like somehow I was going to be giving that ring to my wife once again.
“Something sparkly for Christmas,” Richard said, turning the rings to catch the light in the stones. “You need to come in about every three months, to have [the rings] checked.”
It occurred to me that if I went to the jewelry store that often, I’d likely buy more jewelry, which would in turn make my wife happier. Once again Richard, my jeweler, was schooling me in the ways of being a married guy, and he didn’t even know it. I realized then that while diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, a good jeweler is a married man’s best friend.
I thought of how excited Anne would be to see her fixed wedding band and fixed wedding ring. A while back she’d lost a stone from the wedding ring, which is now close to three years old, and had to have it replaced. When we brought the ring in, Richard also checked her engagement ring and noticed that a stone in it was loose and needed to be repaired. So a couple weeks ago we left both of her rings at the jewelry store for a week or so to be fixed.
“She’s going to be without a ring for a little while,” Richard teased me at the time as Anne looked at other wedding bands, considering backups.
“I’ll take my chances,” I said. I couldn’t afford to buy her a backup ring right then, but it didn’t bother me, because I knew I’d made the right choice for her engagement ring, which would be back and good as new soon.
Still, I couldn’t have gotten Anne just the right ring without Richard’s patient help. I mentioned this to him the other day when I picked up the rings.
“You didn’t know anything about diamonds then, right?” he said.
I agreed, but that wasn’t it. What I was talking about was not just his salesmanship, but rather, his ability to work with me to help me get a ring that my girl would really be happy with. If I had gone with my first notions about what kind of ring to get Anne, I probably would have bought something that wasn’t exactly right. Richard didn’t let me do that, because being a jeweler, he knows how important a nice engagement ring is to a woman. Of course, he also wanted to sell me a more expensive ring, which is his job.
I paid off much of the cost of the ring in payments. For part of that time I was working downtown, and during my lunch hour once a month or so I would walk a few blocks up from my office in Gateway Center to make a payment at Grafner’s, Richard’s family-owned jewelry store. After I paid off a fair amount of the ring, I felt comfortable to take it home and give it to Anne. Richard had offered to let me take the ring long before that, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing so at the time.
When I finally did take the ring, it was several weeks before Christmas. I felt like that Christmas I’d be, in a way, legitimate. Anne loved the ring and said yes to my proposal.
For the wedding rings, Anne chose what she wanted. I chose a plain, wide, gold band for myself. When I went to Grafner’s to pick up the wedding bands, I again tried on my ring. It felt bulky and unwieldy, like something strange had been attached to my finger, because I never wore rings before being married. I told Richard at the time that the ring felt weird on my hand.
“You get used to it after a couple years,” he said.
He was right. After a couple of years of marriage I not only got used to the ring, but I've felt strange without it on my finger. That feeling is similar to the weirdness I initially felt when Anne’s rings were gone recently.
Back when I was shopping for Anne’s engagement ring, I knew that the choice of the ring was of the utmost importance, far more important than where I proposed to her. In the past I’d heard some of my female relatives, who’d been married young, complain a bit about their rings. They seemed to wish they’d gotten something better, or at least something different. I didn’t want that to happen with Anne’s ring. Thanks to my jeweler, it didn’t.
It’s been more than three years since I gave Anne that engagement ring, and she still loves that little piece of metal and stone.
We were watching “Sex and the city” on TV the other day, and one of the characters was given an engagement ring that she hated. The shape of the diamond was all wrong, and the yellow gold band was wrong for her skin, or some such thing that I, being a man, don’t really understand.
Anne looked over at me and smiled, then patted me on the leg.
“Did I do all right with the ring?” I asked.
She glanced at her ring, now once again safe on her finger, and smiled.
“You did well,” she said, and kissed me.