Let me preface the photos with a little background info:
I had been preparing to propose to Christina for months- and I mean months- I had purchased the first engagement ring in December 2008 when I was home for the holidays in Connecticut. During a trip to the mall, I noticed a jewelry store was going out of business and everything in the store was 90% off. (Note about me: I am a SUCKER for deals- if there is a deal to be had, I will find it.) So this was a clear omen. I walked by the store, crowded with women oogling over diamonds. I slipped in between a mother and a daughter to have a look at the goods. Immediately I knew this trip could potentially lead to spending some serious money.
I phoned my best friend Alex (my best woman) to talk some sense in to me. Alas, no sense was to be had. She told me to go with my heart. Lame. She is the rational one. I’m the emotional one. Here I was, about to make an impulsive decision. When I got off the phone, I hailed the employee over and asked to take a look at the ring- 3/8 carat princess cut diamond in a platinum solitaire setting. It was all I could afford. $350 later- I was the proud owner of a diamond. [Insert <freak-out moment>]
The 1st Engagement Ring I bought for Christina (it looks a lot bigger than it actually was)
This was my not so little secret. And only Alex knew. I held this information to myself for weeks until I let it slip, one friend at a time. I eventually told my father (not my mother) who was thrilled and tried to hold back his confusion about what this meant. Apparently buying an engagement ring is not intuitive when it comes to parents. I decided to hold on to the ring for a few months and wait until the moment was “right.” Not sure what kind of moment I was waiting for, but I decided to wait.
Weeks and months went by. Eventually my mother found out about the ring. I had asked my parents to put it in their safe to make sure I didn’t misplace it. All of my friends knew about the ring and thought I was ridiculous for even considering commitment (we were seniors in college and this was about having the time of our lives- AKA: non-monogamous hook-ups).
Fast forward to November 2009. I now had a job and was going to school full-time working on my Masters. I had decided that the ring I originally bought for Christina was too small. I was finally a big girl and needed to buy a ring that reflected the “grown-up” that I had become. It was time to upgrade to a bigger rock. More *bling*. It was time to trade the white gold in for some platinum.
But alas, as I mentioned before, if there is a deal to be had, I will find it. And Christina is very much on the same page. So, I turned to Craigslist to see what I could find. I perused the jewelry listings daily and responded to quite a few with questions about price and condition. I avoided the postings that read: “recent divorce- need to sell the ring for child support” or the “she said No” posts. After all, a diamond isn’t really forever- sorry DeBeers. It’s symbolic and traditional and that’s the route I wanted to take. With the incredible price inflation of diamonds, there was no way I could find a retail ring that suited my checklist. So I kept a watchful eye on Craiglist.
And then- I found THE ring. (Well, at least what appeared to be THE ring by the classified and images.) I emailed the seller and arranged to meet her at Zales the following Saturday to check it out. I called up my trusty friend Alex who drove 2 hours to be my moral support. Before our meeting with the seller, I asked for the diamond certification, trying to appear an aware consumer. I was grown up now, after all.
Official IGI Certification Document
So here the technical stuff about the ring- honestly, I know nothing about jewelry so my eyes went immediately to the appraisal value- $9,000. Holy smokes. Talk about an upgrade from the 3/8 carat ring I was currently sitting on. And when I saw the ring in person, I absolutely knew it was the “one.”
A little history about the ring- the couple selling the ring had recently celebrated their 2nd year anniversary and were expecting their 2nd baby. The husband had just lost his job and they were pressed for money. He had purchased his wife a new ring in the past year and now they were looking to sell the original ring.
After meeting with them we exchanged emails and proceeded with the sale. Pay-Pal is an awesome thing. Prior to picking up the ring from them, I received a note from the wife:
“Hello Erica- on a side personal note and I hope I’m not sharing too much and that you receive my sentiment as I intend it…it makes me that much happier that you and your partner are purchasing my ring. It’s ironic to me…I was raised within an alternative lifestyle home and my father is my best friend and an amazing parent. I truly do wish you and your partner the best with your commitment to one another and in raising a family should you choose too (puppies are classified as children too! :)”
I met up with them to pick up the ring the following week (11/17/09). The transaction was over- I had my ring, they had their money. And I now had a piece of the history about the ring to which Christina and I would add to.
Fast forward to 5/12/10 (the day I proposed to Christina). Later that evening when the champagne was consumed, friends and family were called and Facebook statuses were updated, I emailed the couple. I wanted to let them know that Christina said yes and she loved the ring and all it’s history. But unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from them. Months later, on October 15, 2010- I received an email from the wife, sincerely apologizing for not responding sooner (damn Spam filter!). She was thrilled to hear from me and glad to know where life had taken us.
So, moral of the story: even when you want to be traditional, be sure to think outside of the box- sometimes, diamonds are a girls best friend, but no one said you have to pay full price!