As my mother would tell you, the ladies of my family have been big fans of sparklies for generations. My grandmother, whose red hair I loved especially, had an exquisite collection of costume jewelry. She went to yard sales, estate sales and flea markets looking for shiny treasures every weekend and would take them home and arrange them in shadow boxes. Every wall in her living room was full of found, amazing jewelry. My mother grew up with the same tastes, fastening herself and later her daughters with elaborate baubles that we absolutely loved. Jewelry, especially vintage jewelry, has always been one of my favorite things. And something I am incredibly picky about.
…I can only imagine how daunting it must have been for Napkin to choose an engagement ring for me. But let’s set this story up a little!
A few years ago, Napkin and I took a Winter weekend trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where I grew up. We drove by my high school, the house I grew up in and went by the flea market that was down the street from my old neighborhood. While we were wandering around, I found a jewelry seller who was getting rid of old stock from a failed business. There was a little bit of everything… but I eyed this vintage opal ring for a while. Napkin, who makes very few quick decisions, snatched it up for me right in front of my eyes and gave it to me as an early Christmas present.
“That’s really what you like?” I remember him saying. “I have no idea how to choose that stuff for you.”
That ring is still one of my favorite things… not only because I love it but because he chose it for me.
A year later, after I moved in with him, we were walking in the mall when he made another spontaneous move and took me into a jewelry store to have my finger measured and to look at engagement rings. “Just to get ideas,” he said. He was very composed and maybe a little too calm while I annoyed the woman behind the counter as I laughed nervously and made jokes about how I wasn’t ready to try anything on. We looked around for a good while before I snuck off to the bathroom to call my Mom and scream and speculate and squeal.
A year passed after that. Patience isn’t one of my stronger virtues so I figured it was a passing phase and something he did just to make me feel good. Little did I know that during that year my engagement ring was being made. Napkin had a friend who connected him with a ring designer who helped him design my ring. He knew that something unique was the most important thing to me and he absolutely nailed it. I have always wanted an intricate band and a solitaire diamond (well, always since I met Napkin, anyway) and I can’t imagine anything more perfect.
Here it is!
Here is a picture of both rings, the night that I got engaged:
You’ll have to forgive the splotchy face… I was having an allergic reaction to Sulfa on the night I got engaged (but that’s for another time.)
One of the best surprises about it all was that I didn’t actually get to see the ring until it was on my finger. Napkin got on one knee in the moonlight on the furthest point of Oak Island… where there is very little light pollution. It fit perfectly, my heart was about to burst and my knees were wobbly… but I couldn’t see the ring! And then, after a second, Napkin (who grew up a boy scout) pulled out his flashlight and let me see just how good of a job he actually had done.
The first month was the hardest. I found myself pausing too long at stop lights, spacing out at the grocery store, going into shops specifically for their lighting. I was an accident waiting to happen.
But as the months have worn on the ring has sort of become this constant reminder of this amazing thing that’s right around the bend, this amazing thing that has been a part of me for so long and all of these amazing things to look forward to for the rest of my life.
He couldn’t have done a better job.