The Ring Story

The Ring Story

Jul 27

There’s a funny thing about having 500 days from the proposal to the wedding… it’s a really long time. We’re already planning, with some frontrunners for the reception venue, but until we get anything a bit more concrete and interesting, I’ll regale you with the story of purchasing the ring.

It was May 12th, 2011, and I was shopping with one of my oldest friends, Angela. Angela used to work for a wedding magazine and is generally ridiculously wedding-savvy, so I had planned for months to bring her along with me when I went shopping. Angela, though, lives in New Orleans at the moment, attending law school at Loyola. This wouldn’t be a problem except that I’d accidentally let it slip to Caitlin that I’d be shopping with Angela, and she put two and two together and realized that Angela was in town, that meant she ought to be excited. So, I had to embark on a months-long quest to convince Caitlin that Angela was never in town and that I was extremely annoyed about this fact, culminating in my planning to finally just go ring shopping without her… on June 25th. In the days before Facebook, that wouldn’t have been hard at all, but a couple passing comments on Angela’s wall from her friends tipped Caitlin off ever-so-slightly — which led to a humorous mad rush to delete those comments. But I digress.

Long before our shopping trip, Caitlin and I had talked about rings. I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to awkwardly find subtle ways to ask her about her preferences when I was actually shopping, so I figured if I ask several months early, I can get all the information I need. She showed me several she liked (and we even took a trip to D. Geller & Sons to try some on), but one particular Tacori ring caught her eye. At one point, she commented that she couldn’t imagine anything about it that she would change, but at the same time she was worried it might be a good bit out of my price range.

Angela’s father, who’s generally pretty awesome, has a long relationship with a jeweler that makes its home in America’s Mart downtown: Archer. So, Angela made us an appointment to go by and see them that Thursday afternoon. We showed up and walked in, although I never anticipated the level of security it would take to get in. Nametags, photo ID checks, the works.

Also, I needed a haircut.

We walked in, up the elevator of this enormous building, and past several jewelry stores before we reached Archer. The store is gorgeous: every gem and type of jewelry imaginable, and somehow nicer looking than the things you see at more commercial stores. I can’t really describe why, but there was just a different feel to this place than other jewelry stores I’ve been to. It was more like browsing an art gallery than a store.

We sat down with the… head of the store? I’m not sure how to describe him. Clearly the person in charge of the people there, at least. He asked us what we were looking for and we told him we were shopping for engagement rings, before quickly clarifying that the rings were for someone else, not Angela. Then he asked if we had anything in particular in mind, and Angela did something I’ve never seen her do before… she said nothing. It was shocking! I kid, but I didn’t say anything either and looked at her expectantly. She took the hint and pulled out a picture of the Tacori ring Caitlin had liked so much. I knew that Archer does custom rings if requested, so my intention had been to basically ask them to recreate the ring in the picture, but to add a couple flairs of my own just to separate it from the hundreds of others that were mass-produced. When I mentioned that, he said he could do that, but first he wanted to show us some stylistically similar things he had in stock.

He disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a rack of five settings, each with trillion cut stones on either side of where the center stone would go and some diamond garnishments around the rest of the setting. There was one particular of the five that he had in mind for us, but the moment he put the rack down, Angela and I both noticed the setting in the bottom left. It was perfect. I knew the moment I saw it. We pulled it out and looked at it, and to be honest, I don’t even remember what the other four looked like. There was never a doubt that this was the one.

With that picked out (and it only took a couple minutes from the time he brought the rack out), we moved on to center stones. In case the Y chromosome didn’t give it away, I don’t know much about diamonds. I know the four C’s, I knew I was looking for something a tiny bit bigger than what Caitlin was expecting, and I knew I wanted either Princess or Cushion cut, but beyond that I know very little (although in retrospect, I guess that was a fair amount). Angela knew, fortunately, and had him bring out three stones: two Princess and one Cushion. One of the Princesses was vetoed straight away (SI1), but the other two were in the running. The Cushion cut one, however, didn’t look right in the setting at all — fortunately, the Princess cut one did. Again, I knew the moment I saw the diamond in the ring. Once we’d selected it, our helper showed us an engraved number on the side of the diamond in tiny, tiny, tiny numbers (needing a microscope to see them), so that if we ever take it to be cleaned, we can verify that the diamond we entered with is the same one we left with.

It sounds cliché, but the entire process took maybe about 10 minutes from the time we started browsing to the time we’d selected the ring. I credit Caitlin with making it so clear what she was hoping for, Angela with actually knowing about diamonds, Archer for being able to translate our photo into something even better, and… well, myself, for putting aside my tendency to be the world’s most hesitant shopper for a few minutes. Remarkably, throughout this whole process, we never told them a price range — but in the end, the price of the ring fell exactly where I was aiming, with a retail value far, far higher.

We were told it would take about an hour to set the stone, so we left and called my parents… well, Angela called my parents. Anyone who knows me knows that Angela’s primary responsibility in my life is to deliver significant life news to my parents. She was also the one who told my parents when Caitlin and I had our first date, so it was probably only fitting she told them when I’d purchased the ring. And then I followed her around shopping for purses for 45 minutes. It was the least I could do.

When we came back, we were handed the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. The center stone and the setting matched beautifully. We (well, I) paid for it and raced back to the car and back to my apartment where Angela and I attempted to take a good picture of it.

We… didn’t really succeed. It’s hard for a regular camera to get a good photograph.

From there, I raced home and my parents and I went to the safety deposit box to place the ring for safekeeping. In retrospect, that might have been a bit silly considering I was about to give it to her to wear on her finger out in the open, but hey. It stayed there for the next month and a half, until… well, you know the rest.

It looks a good bit better on her hand. Also, when photographed using a $2,000 camera.

1 comment

  1. Make sure whatever photographer you hire takes some excellent photos of that ring! It’s a really lovely piece.

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