When my husband and I got hitched seven years ago, it was a decidedly casual affair. We exchanged our vows at the courthouse, had dinner with our parents afterward and later that weekend had a tiny reception with our pals at a private bowling alley with plenty of soul food and cupcakes. So when I see these "Bridezilla"-type TV shows, I really can't relate.
We both felt, and still feel, that our relationship with one another is super personal and that what we were doing was private -- so much so that having anyone else present at all felt like a stretch (no offense, family!). We giggled our way through the entire ceremony, it was so exciting and surreal, but also because "Hey, why the heck is this happening with other people looking on?"
One thing we definitely didn't stress about? Wedding rings. I have never been attached to the idea that I HAD TO HAVE a honkin' big rock, I don't care about status symbols (obviously, I drive a rusted-up '96 Mazda), and it grossed me out the way people kept asking to "see the ring" when they found out I was engaged. Oh, because if I have trouble lifting my hand, it proves my fella loves me? F that S.
So about a week before the wedding, we ordered some simple and cheap white gold bands off the Internet, just so we'd have something to wear. I figured plain bands were inoffensive enough and a style I wouldn't tire of quickly. I did like the idea of wearing something, if not the princess-y, Tiffany giftboxed version of what that something was supposed to be.
The rings were fine, at first. My husband is constantly drawing for work, though, and could never get used to the awkward feel of the ring on his finger. So his white gold symbol of our eternal love sits in the same spot he put it many years ago: in a little art supply organizer tray on his drawing table, resting next to some pen nibs and a bottle of India ink.
I lasted a lot longer than he did, probably since I'm a lady who was used to wearing jewelry. I stopped noticing my ring was there at all until I lost 40 pounds and it started slipping off. I had to stop wearing it altogether. I thought about having it resized, but have realized since that I'm not very invested in the thing -- we never even engraved them. It's the marriage it represents that I care about, not some little loop of metal.
My sweet hubz offered to buy me a new ring if I'd like, something more thoughtfully selected and fancier than a plain band (though not too fancy, as that still isn't me). I've given it some thought. It's hard, though, because although I'm clearly not scared of committing to a partner -- married for seven years, together for 12 -- I'm a bit wary about committing to a ring. I mean, the whole reason I'd originally picked white gold for our bands is because I hated yellow gold and would not wear it -- now I can't get enough of the stuff! How the hell am I supposed to pick something I'll enjoy wearing for a lifetime when "what I enjoy" is constantly evolving?
So, yeah...I still haven't narrowed it down to a ring I'd want to wear forever, and I don't know for sure if I ever will. I have, however, found a few that I wouldn't mind wearing for a really long time -- and I thought I'd share them with you.
HERKIMER DIAMOND SOLITAIRE ($110, Erica Weiner)
OK, I know I just told you I'm not into "honkin' big rocks" but I make an exception for this ring because it's both offbeat and funny, two things I like to think reflect my own personality. As the site explains: "Despite their diamond misnomer, Herkimers are are actually six-sided, double-terminated quartz crystals and are relatively valueless. Nevertheless, unscrupulous jewelers during the Civil War often tried to pass off these stones as the more precious variety. We love the visual joke created when these severely flawed, yet impressively sized stones masquerade as diamonds in our version of the classic "solitaire" engagement-ring setting."
I actually received this ring as a birthday gift a while back, and absolutely love it. It's gorgeously made, I like how each hunk of quartz is uniquely shaped (mine looks kind of like a bean), and it's obnoxious in a really fun way. I can't wear it every day, since I'm an avid crafter and it would snag on things too easily, but I like breaking it out with certain outfits and also wear it on a chain around my neck from time to time. There's a smaller version available too.
FORGET-ME-KNOT RING ($50 for silver, $300 for gold, Kiel Mead)
This is another one I'd never be able to wear every day due to the snaggability factor (I would rip my tights with this ring in no time, I know it) but it's just so flippin' sweet and romantic that I like to think I could get away with it anyway. These are really popular and have been around for a while, but to me they're just classic!
1890s AGATE RING 14K ($255, Erie Basin)
I am a huge fan of vintage, and the Internet is a treasure trove for vintage jewelry-lovers in particular. One of the best sites out there for this sort of thing is Erie Basin. So much antique greatness on there, and the selection is always changing. I was drawn to the unusual stone on this Victorian signet ring, but they have many other lovely pieces as well. Definitely worth bookmarking!
WINDOWS ART DECO SAPPHIRE RING ($850, Erica Weiner)
Erica Weiner's site has a beautiful selection of vintage rings as well as new designs. The descriptions accompanying each piece are great too, and give some insight into the item's history. I'm not usually drawn to blue, but I really love the clean and elegant design of this gemstone ring. Choosing an antique ring would be a great way to ensure you get something unique, and I like the idea that it's been around longer than even you have.
VINTAGE DIAMOND AND RUBY RING ($142, LuxeDeluxe)
Here's another vintage find from that's been bewitching me with its colorful ways. This look is fun, but still classic. Love that yellow gold, love that hot-pink pop of ruby, and the diamond motif is killer. It's like argyle made with jewels! The entire shop (which is based out of Scotland) is packed with great vintage finds, as well as super ornate jewelry of the pearly/crystal/rhinestone variety. I drool over all the sweet vintage rings. Actual drool.
OVAL ROSE CUT BURGUNDY SAPPHIRE RING ($1,195, Kate Szabone)
If I end up going the custom-made route, I'll probably hit up Kate Szabone. I've had her shop bookmarked for a long time, and continually find myself favoriting her simple and graphically appealing jewelry. She uses only conflict-free stones, and I'm especially fond of the natural, unheated diamonds she uses in some of her designs. One of those cloudy, dreamy gray stones in a setting like the one above would be a fantastic and unusual choice -- though I'm way into the rich, brownish tones of this sapphire too.
For all the marrieds in the house: Do you wear a ring? If not, why not? If so, what does it mean to you? And I'm asking everyone -- any jewelry designers/sources you can't live without?