When I got engaged I only wanted one kind of engagement ring: a memory-imbued one. I was looking for a ring that wasn’t just an object that had cost a lot of money, but rather a memento that had a connection to my family history.
My grandma was quick to find a ring that was given to her by my great grandmother, whom I grew up with. I remember my great grandmother, for sure, but the details of her life remained elusive to me until much later in life. I knew she loved me, and I knew she cared for me. So, the idea of holding something that belonged to her and then belonged to my grandmother… It held a kind of romantic notion of generations of women standing behind me as I embark on my own married life.
My mom helped things along by resetting the diamond from my great grandmother’s ring in a new setting. I’m not a diamond loving gal, so I would definitely not have chosen an engagement ring that had a diamond in it. I actually have developed a strong aversion to diamonds over the years, so you won’t see me buying or wearing a diamond unless it had some family history attached to it. I wore that ring for three years, until one very cold winter morning.
My engagement ring was lost in what can only happen when you live in a cold climate: I think I lost in in the snow as I was taking off a wooly glove. I realized it only much later, and the ring was no longer in my life. I was sad to have lost it, but glad I still had other jewelry that belonged to my great grandmother and memories of my family.
I was left with my Titanium wedding band, which has since lost much of it’s glamor. It was meant to compliment a ring that was gone, and now it just looked worn with it’s grey and orange coating long gone. I decided that this lackluster ring wasn’t going to be the only piece of jewelry I constantly wear and that an upgrade was in order.
I learned a few things from this experience.
- Chief among them was that I wasn’t going to replace my engagement ring with another diamond. I just don’t like diamonds, and having spent time reflecting on it, I realized that were I to buy a ring with a diamond I would be forcing the purchase just because that’s a social norm.
- Upon further reflection, I also realized that the ability to replace or replicate or sell a possession was important to me. What if I look at my ring and again find that I don’t like it anymore? Much like with my other possessions, I do get tired of owning various things and selling them off allows me to fund something new or simply move on. I know engagement rings and wedding bands are meaningful to some, but my overall feeling is that my marriage is not represented by these objects. Times change, and what I like changes with it.
- Losing something sentimental was sad, but hey I had still had the memories. The fact I also lost something expensive was a real pain, and made me feel quite guilty or wasteful. I set out to spend an amount I would be comfortable spending, without feeling like I made an extravagant purchase that I could just as easily lose.
These reflections helped me hone in on what I wanted next. I focused my search on a new wedding band that would still symbolize history and love, but had a modern twist. Replacing my worn wedding band became the focus and the Cartier Love ring came to mind. I looked at pictures on it worn on Instagram and decided it was the right choice for me. Classic, but without frills. I felt like it carried gravitas, which would mean it would be enough to take the place of both the engagement ring and the bad. And importantly, it didn’t make me feel like I was just settling on something. It could be sold off if I didn’t like it anymore, and I could always replace it with a new Love ring if it was lost or if I wanted an upgrade.
Having worn it for two years now, I still appreciate it when I look at it. However, I’m no longer so sure how enamored I am with it. Perhaps seeing so many Love bracelets and Love rings stacked has made me wonder how special I still think it is. Perhaps it seems too ubiquitous, or too much like conspicuous consumption. I also wonder at times if I only liked it because other people liked it? I hope not. That I purchased it online also took away some of the magic from the process. So all and all, it was the right choice then, but seemingly less so now.
And so, the wedding band story continues.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would like to replace the Love ring with, now that I’m definitely feeling I’d like to make a change. While vintage rings were my first thought due to the “unique butterfly” aspect of owning something no one else would, I realized early on that I won’t have the patience to look for one I truly loved and that it would meet the standards I set up above.
Option 1: Create a Stack
I still would like to choose a ring made by a brand that, much like Cartier, has a history of superb craftsmanship, quality, and design. My love for all things Hermes led me to the Ariane ring. Simple, but elegant. Clean lines, and stackable. My Hermes Farandole necklace, ring, and earrings taught me I rarely grow bored with Hermes jewelry creations, and even if they are quite popular I still feel like I can make them feel like a part of me.
By itself, I think it might get quite boring. So, if I get it, what will I stack it with? A Van Cleef & Arpels creation could bring some interest to the mix. First, VCA is a jewelry house has intrigued me for quite a while, though it’s prices are higher than what I will pay for jewelry. I loved the Sweet Alhambra pendant for quite some time, and so when I looked at the rest of their offering I realized that the Perlée ring looks like it might beautifully stack with the Ariane.
Option 2: Engagement Ring & Band Variations
If I was feeling a bit less minimalist, I could create a whole new combination of wedding band and ‘engagement’ ring.
I’ve always been drawn to the beautiful Chaîne d’Ancre Passerelle made by Hermes, but couldn’t see it worn as just another ring. It’s design reminds me of a movie in which the hero must solve an ancient puzzle in some cave and when all the pieces fit together a door would be unlocked. The nerd within me rejoices at this imagery.
Alternatively, I could also go with the pink gold Sweet Alhambra ring or the Vintage Alhambra ring. The Vintage ring comes with a diamond, which I am not too thrilled by, but the Onyx or Mother of Pearl does look quite lovely. They have a version of it without a diamond, but it looks quite larger. I like the dainty look of the Sweet Alhambra ring, and adding the Perlee ring would create a marvelous set.
These are my thoughts at the moment, but I won’t be rushing to make a decision just yet. I am planning on trying the Hermes rings and possibly the VCA rings when I travel to Italy soon, as I would love to combine the memory of a romantic vacation with my husband with the purchase of a new ring. I think it was an aspect missing when I purchased the Love ring, and I am hopeful that a wonderful travel experience in a country I love dearly, with a man I love dearly, will be what I remember whenever I look at my wedding band.
What is your wedding band and engagement ring story? Do you still love your set? Any other suggestions? Please share in the comments below.