Friday, November 17, 2006

We Finally Found It

My motto-- well, one of them, anyway-- is "when in doubt, look it up." I also tend to believe that if I want something to happen or be true, that it's just a matter of finding a way to make it be true or happen. So when faced with the reality that we could not get the ring we really wanted, I turned to research. And instead of finding a way to make the shiny diamond happen, I just got more and more outraged about the diamond industry, until I started to feel like everytime I saw the ring on my finger, I'd think "DeBeers! in a voice combining the repulsion of Jerry Seinfeld's "Newman!" with the anger of William Shatner's "Khaaaaan!". What can I say? I really resent being manipulated and lied to, and I have a major problem with abusive business practices.

Still, I must admit that I like the way diamonds look. We considered Moissanite, but I was concerned about possible discoloration. Also, we knew that we wanted platinum for our bands, so I was worried that Moissanite wouldn't look white enough when set in platinum. On the other hand, I loved the sparkle and fire of the Moissanite stones I saw in some of the large chain stores. And then there was also the matter of not really knowing what other options we might have. I wanted a white stone, and I wanted it to be sparkly and pretty. It is not important to me that it fool people into thinking that it's a diamond-- in fact, I have no problem telling people exactly why I don't have or want a diamond. I'd even go so far as to say that there's a distinct possibility that I'll have trouble not haranguing people with the fervor of a new convert.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the local mall to run some errands and decided to visit a couple of the jewelers and see if I could get some ideas. I picked one at random, walked in, and told the saleswoman who approached me that I was on a fact finding mission. She replied "Oh?" and pulled up a chair. We sat down at the counter together, and I explained to her that we liked the look of the traditional diamond engagement ring, but had serious misgivings about buying one. I didn't go into detail because I didn't want to offend anyone, but she knew exactly what I was talking about, and to my pleasant surprise, she didn't try to talk me out of it. "I assume you've considered a non-conflict diamond?" was the closest she came, and when I told her that yes, we'd thought about Canadian diamonds and decided that we still didn't want to support the diamond industry, she smiled and said "I completely understand" in a way that made me feel that she really did understand and probably even agreed to some extent. She thought about it for a minute, then offered me the name of the independent jewelers that her chain deals with for special order work, commenting that it would probably be best to just cut out the middle man and go straight to the source.

Then we started brainstorming possible stones that we might use, and suddenly she sat up and said "Actually, you should go see the man who did this for me", indicating the ring on her own finger. She wrote down the address and name, and finished by saying "Tell him Andrea Billroth sent you."

It took a little while for our schedules to match up during the business day, but Ash and I finally managed to go see the man that Andrea so kindly recommended. He's a jeweler, but he doesn't have a retail shop. Instead, he does a lot of custom work, and the office/ shop we visited was little more than a small counter separated from his workshop by a wall with a large window in it. We rang the bell, and he buzzed us in, coming out to the front to meet us. He had protective goggles pushed up over his head, and his hands were black from working with the metals. In the background, we could see a young man, presumably his apprentice, working on a broad ring in a white metal of some sort. It was a happy, busy sort of a place, and I had a good feeling just walking in the door.

We told him what we wanted, and he talked to us about some possible options, taking the time to explain pros and cons to us, and never once making it seem like we should rush or like we were taking too much of his time. We really liked the idea of a white sapphire, and he brought out a couple of stones for us to see. It was exactly right: white, sparkly, and pretty, but not a diamond and also not connected to DeBeers. Then he helped us find the right setting for it and even brought out a couple of "dummy" versions so that we could see how it would look with the stone in it.

With his help, we put together a classic Tiffany style ring set with a 1 carat white sapphire. I am so excited to have found something that is pleasing to us aesthetically as well as ethically. He's going to try and have it ready for us before we leave town for Thanksgiving. I can't wait to see what the final product looks like, and I am so anxious to finally wear Ash's ring, and I want to show it off to my family, especially since I may not see them again for quite a few months-- who knows? Maybe not even until just before the wedding at the rate I'm going! I will definitely be sending Ms. Billroth a nice thank you for her wonderful recommendation.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home