Monday, September 25, 2006

And Why I'm On Cloud Nine Anyway

Saturday evening, I had a rare night off. My first in a week, in fact. I tutored in the morning for a few hours, then I was blissfully free until Sunday afternoon. Ash and I took the opportunity to do something we've been talking about for a while now: we went ring shopping.

Yes, that kind of ring.

Now, I am not a material kind of girl. But I still want a diamond engagement ring. I can't justify it other than to say I just like it. In all my life, I've never envisioned having anything else for my engagement ring. It doesn't have to be enormous or anything, but I want sparkly, my friends. Ash, however, has moral qualms about buying diamonds. I understand that, and I respect his feelings on the matter, but I really want a diamond. So we've been talking about estate diamonds or possibly a Canadian diamond.

We are, however, total babes in the wood when it comes to this stuff. I mean, we know nozzink. So, we thought we'd just go to some random jewelry store and start looking at rings to find a style I (we) like, and kind of find out what's what. We picked a large chain jeweler's and walked through the front door holding hands and being all lovey-dovey and starry eyed-- which, frankly, is how I feel almost all the time when we're together. A very nice saleswoman approached us, and we told her we wanted to look at engagement rings. She very kindly offered us coffee and led us over to a display case full of settings.

The only thing we'd really agreed on was that we both wanted platinum, so she led us to that particular case and invited us to sit down. Aaaaand then we kind of looked at her expectantly, and she looked at us expectantly, and suddenly it dawned on her: "Are you just starting the process, or did you already have a good idea what you want?" Oh, honey, we're complete rubes. Better lead us by the nose here.

She put a traditional Tiffany-style solitaire setting on my finger, then came back with a diamond in a little carrier. As she lifted it out and laid it into the setting so that we could see what it looked like, she oh-so-casually mentioned that this was their "ideal" cut 1 carat diamond, the top of the line, so to speak. And it costs $7900.

My hands started to shake, and all I could think to myself was "Oh God, don't drop the diamond. You will go to jail and never get out because you cannot afford to buy a diamond that costs... about as much as two days of law school." It was totally noticable, too, because the very nice woman took the diamond away from me and stuck to empty settings and pre-set rings after that.

I think we must have been very frustrating customers. We weren't sure what size we wanted, what style setting we wanted, and we certainly didn't know what we wanted in the "four C's". After trying on a couple of rings, we settled on a setting that we liked (the very first one we'd seen), and then we settled on a range of sizes (during which the saleswoman commented-- as has every jeweler I've ever bought a ring from-- on my tiny little fingers). Oh, but we certainly weren't finished! Oh, no, you silly things!

From there, it was off to the diamond room, where we did a little interactive computer thing that let us look at different diamonds in a specified range of colors and clarities. And that's when the shock started to set in for both of us: diamonds are so expensive!

I mean, duh, right? It's not that we expected to get them 2 for $1 or something, but we certainly didn't expect a .8 carat round cut diamond with a fairly, but not entirely colorless ... um, color (I think it was F), and not flawless (I think it was VS1) to cost nearly $5,000. Ash and I looked at each other, and each of us was, I think, relieved to see the other just as shocked.

See, here's the thing: even if we had an extra $5,000 laying around, we both kind of feel like there are at least a thousand other more useful ways to put that much money to use. And I would feel a little queasy about walking around with $5,000 on my hand.

So I don't know what we'll end up doing. But I do know that he makes me happier than I've ever been in my whole life, in ways that I never even thought about before. I am the luckiest woman on Earth to have found someone so utterly perfect for me, so intensely loving and caring. I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives making each other happy ever after.

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