life

july 12, 2016

my engagement ring

  I probably dreamed about my engagement ring more than any other part of a wedding (after my partner, of course–no worries David!). It took me a very long time to find the perfect one, but when I did the whole experience was incredible. I have a lot of opinions on engagement rings, but mostly I believe if they make a person happy, they’re perfect. Personally I never liked a classic setting, with its raised stone, unadorned band, and protruding prongs. Round diamonds didn’t look good against my fingers, which are pretty long, so I knew I’d like something flush and square-shaped pretty quickly. I love rings and wear multiple ones daily, so I wanted my engagement ring to stand out and be extra special. Since I love history and art, I also wanted it to be complex in design and technique, and preferably tout some old-fashioned aesthetics.

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Tiffany and Co.‘s storied connection to New York had me hooked since I was a teenager, and as I grew older their perfectly crafted, unique designs kept me interested. I’d been checking them out, both in stores and online, for as long as I could remember. Right after I started dating David, I was in love with their Novo ring, a cushion-cut stone set atop a thin pave band. However as time went on the design got more ubiquitous through copies and eventually started to seem a bit dated to the mid-aughts. I was afraid of getting something trendy, so though beautiful we both fell out of love with it–and couldn’t find anything to replace it for years.

I started to like one version of their Soleste style about a ten months before we ended up getting engaged–with an emerald center stone and a bead-set halo, it looked a lot like a new antique ring. But to get an emerald stone to look as ice-y and have the finger coverage we wanted, we kept straying way out of our price range. We almost bought a more modest-sized ring I that liked but didn’t love. We’d even put it on hold at Tiffany’s flagship store for a weekend but I had enough reservations about it not feeling perfect that we (thankfully) let it go.

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The prospect of getting an actual antique ring was looking more and more appealing. For a while I even considered making one of my aunt’s or grandmother’s rings official (without any modifications to preserve the original designs and stones). David never took to the idea (I think he wanted his own fresh start) so I eventually let it go top. Then one day while idling browsing pictures of rings online, I stumbled upon a style that looked so perfect I could have designed it myself: the Tiffany “ornate” Legacy. It was literally everything I wanted: an original Tiffany design, a non-circular stone, architectural, unique, sparkly, and it looked old-fashioned.

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Turns out it was all a bit too good to be true–Tiffany had retired the exact style a few years ago and what I was seeing were old rings or copies. David offered to call the company, and incredibly some of the ornate Legacy rings were still floating among a few Tiffany stores. They pulled an extraordinarily expensive one for us to look at (in a private room with sparkling water and Tiffany blue box-shaped petit fours no less) and I knew from the way we both gasped upon seeing it that we’d somehow miraculously found our ring style. David took over from there, with my support and help–and the rest you can read about in yesterday’s proposal post.

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Now onto the ring itself! Tiffany actually made two versions of the Legacy ring. The original one is my style, now referred to unofficially as the “Ornate” Legacy. You can see the current one that’s for sale here–overall, it has less stones on the band and a higher, more pronounced shoulder. As advertised, both are vintage-inspired, Edwardian to be exact, which means they look like rings from around 1890 to 1915 (here and here are some real ones to compare them to).

The center stone is a patented “modified cushion brilliant” diamond, and its angular facets are stunning. There are over one-hundred other tiny diamonds on the rest of ring, all in bead-set pave (wherein tiny beads of the ring’s platinum are pushed up to hold the stones in place). The ring is heavy but secure, it moves a bit on my finger (we had it sized to be a bit bigger for that), and sparkles like nothing else I own.

Over a year later I’m still getting compliments on it and an art dealer once mistook it for an actual vintage piece. Tiffany store employees always gush over its uniqueness and more people than I count have asked me to take it off so they can get a closer look. But all that aside, words can’t describe how perfect it feels–on my hand, in my jewelry box, and to have had it come from David.

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