Monday, September 1, 2008

Shine on, you crazy carbon

When we met, A was finishing up a PhD. I do not know much about his thesis. I do know about the equipment he used to do his research, at least I know what it was called: a diamond anvil cell. It was years before the diamond part of this registered.

Later, when we went shopping for my engagement ring, I began to have a clue. I had seen his electronics shopping technique. He rifled through the NY papers (we lived further north in those days), or the Bergen County Register to find advertised prices lower than was available at the Wiz, a Circuit City/Best Buy type warehouse that would not be beat price-wise (I swear the radio ads screamed "Nobody beats the Wiz") & would give you the difference +10% if you could find it lower elsewhere. As a rule, he made a profit on birthday & holiday gifts (which is how some family&friends have come to say "A beats the Wiz").

But our marathon march through the diamond district was like nothing I had been through before.

I had few but specific requirements in an engagement ring. I have small, strong, broad hands & a large ring would only emphasize their lack of elegance. Even when I still had an office job, I worked with my hands. The summer we shopped, I grew my first tomatoes on the balcony of our New Jersey apartment overlooking the parking lot. I knit for years before I ever met A. I needed a cut & setting that would not catch, or worse cut, long fragile fibers, & that would be easy to clean. I did not want a ring I could not wear while living my life. & for whatever reason, I wanted a diamond solitaire. Which diamond was immaterial to me.

A delivered. He tortured jewelers throughout NYC. They would turn to me for relief: what did the young lady want? Something sparkley. & not to have to think too much (this along with being able to spend the entire day in jammies remains my lifetime . Also I would like to keep as many of my teeth as possible). I was useless to them & happy to hand the whole decision off.

The following year, my mother & I attended a knitting conference & the story of my ring (& it's knitting friendly design) made the rounds. I learned how rare true happiness is with this particular piece of jewelry. My aunt had the stone from her ring made into a ring for her husband; it caught on everything, including her children's skin & spent most of it's life in a box in her dresser. At least two close friends have confided they actually dislike their engagement ring. One from day one but "there was no way I was giving it back" & the other after the stone fell out of fashion. I still love my ring, I still wear my ring (but not I admit when shoveling out the horse stalls).

This past spring I decided the time had come to acquire a pair of grown-up formal earrings. The traditional standby of gold knots had become too young & frankly too conservative for those few occasions when I do 'dress-up'. Diamonds again.

A looked himself & then brought me in for the final consult: I really am a pain the ass when it comes to this not-thinking thing. Also, I have the attention span a site hound, any motion out of the corner of my eye & I am OFF. I am delighted with the earring he bought me.

I will never ever have a chair at 'the big rock table', but this lucky chance of a diamond expert in the house means my little rocks are quality.

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