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A Point of No Removal

When I saw the diamond wedding ring on the finger of my female boss, My jaw dropped. It was spectacular. And that’s saying something, coming from me, because I’m about as far from a “jewelry person” as you’ll find. But for one of the very few times in my life, I was actually impressed, if not floored, by the beauty of a diamond wedding ring.

The ring was a simple one, likely a big part of the attraction. It had a smooth platinum band, held a small rectangular diamond on each side, and in the center was set an elegant and sparkling 1.72 carat diamond. Clear. Crisp. Near flawless. And the whole piece of work was only the second I’d seen to date that made me imagine that, if I ever gave a woman a wedding ring, it’d be that one.

What was also odd, too, was that my boss was unmarried at the time, and the ring was, if I recall correctly, on her right hand, not her left.

This was back in late ’97 or early ’98. My boss was Mary Sikes, who I’ve written about here before. I remember being in her office, working next to her on some presentation or other project, and being momentarily blinded by the sparkle it emitted.

I had to see it closer, and she removed it and let me inspect it.

It was truly a work of art. One of the most sublet yet striking aspects of it was that the stone was set low. So low, the pointed bottom was but a hairline away from her finger when she wore it. But the stone was quite larger, and quite spectacular. Unlike the gauche practice of elevating a stone in order to accentuate it’s presence and it’s size, as I’d seen on countless other rings over the years, as if the objective was to ensure it stood out and looked as big as possible in order to win some unspoken contest amongst their friends. (And they say men are fixated with size!).

My next question, obviously, was why she was wearing it, and where she got it.

Mary was once an antique dealer. And she frequented Antique auctions, including some that she dragged me along to, for which I remain very grateful. And it turns out that she actually bought this ring from an antique auction. It was apparently the property of a 90 year old woman who lived in San Francisco, and was sold as part of the liquidation of her estate after she’d passed away. Mary saw the beauty and the value and purchased it as an investment. And now she was selling it to Charlie.

Charlie was a co-worker at Apple that we both knew, and Charlie was buying the ring and planning on proposing to his girlfriend.

This was a time before the dot-com crash, and i’d done well with some stock purchases at the time. Sure, later, refusing to sell with the hopes there’d be a recover, I pretty much lost it all, but at that time I was doing well and had some cash I could use to buy toys, and make investments with as well.

Knowing that Charlie was buying it made me both jealous and relived. Jealous because if I had a chance I’d consider buying it as an investment, and knowing that if my life did lead me to making a commitment at some time in the future I’d have this very unique and desirable ring already within my possession. But at the same time I was relieved, not really being sure I’d want to put the capital into something that’d likely sit in a safe deposit box for years to come, only to potentially be sold later at a hopefully greater profit. It was spoken for, so I just let the subject die, commented about a dozen more times about it’s beauty over the remainder of our working session and then let go of the idea.

Sorta. It actually was haunting me in the back of my mind, and I started to build a stronger desire and wish that I’d had the opportunity to purchase it before Charlie had snagged it up. But it was done, and I left it alone for about a month or so.

Until I walked into her office for one reason or another and noticed it still on her finger.

“I thought Charlie was going to buy that?” I said, both surprised and delighted to see it again.

“He changed his mind.” she replied, and proceeded to relate to me, as I recall, that he’d opted for something less costly.

“So….. ” I said with a trembling voice “… it’s still for sale, then?”.

Mary smiled. Secretly, I think she really preferred I have it. At least I like to think so anyway.

I’d just, and I mean *JUST* been approached about being introduced to somebody, but had not met them yet, so there was nobody in my life that I had any intention of giving the ring to. I just knew it was something I really wanted to own. I’d never felt that way before about jewelry, especially something as far from my own persona as a wedding ring, but this was not something I was willing to pass up.

And then she told me the price. And I understood where Charlie was coming from. But as we discussed it further, and she showed me appraisals from several years back, she was really asking for well under it’s ‘street value’…. like, between 1/3 to 1/2 it’s value.

I don’t remember if I immediately said “SOLD” but I believe I asked for some time to consider it. Yes, actually, I know i did, because I know that over the course of the next day or two I visited her office specifically to sit on the sofa and examine it repeatedly, mulling over this big ticket item and my own odd and driven desire to possess it.

Ultimately, realizing that, worst case, I’d easily be able to sell it again for the purchase price if I changed my mind, I walked in, and much to her surprise I said I’d take it. She was even very generous in offering me a change to pay for it over a set of three installments but I remember paying it off rather promptly, not wanting or needing to drag it out.

When she gave it to me, in it’s little white ring box, with the appraisal documents and such, I took a day or two to just enjoy the ownership, and then I stuck it away into a safety deposit box.

By then, I’d followed through on that introduction that i referred to earlier. And although we’d not met yet, I remember one of our initial phone conversations and telling her about having purchased a ring as an investment, or in case anything developed and I found a need for it. She’d later tell me, after we’d eventually met, fell in love and married, how that’d freaked her out a bit. And I can understand that. But I was right.

Eventually, I’d slide that onto her finger, and we’d start our lives as husband and wife. And along the way and over the years, we’d gradually pack on some extra pounds, shed ’em again, and start that cycle over.

This year, we’ve overdone ourselves in the packing on effort. So much so that, last month, I had to wrestle to remove my own ring for a period of time during which it’d begun to be uncomfortably tight. She, well, her ring was tight to begin with and it’s reached a point of no removal.

Over the course of the past couple of months she’s lamented waking to the pain it’d cause. So we did some research and sought options and suggestions of removing it, but to no avail.

Tonight, when she returned from running errands, the sad look on her face said it all, and she held out the cut and removed ring before her. She’d gone to a nearby fire station which we’d learned through our research was the best place to go if the attempts to remove it failed. The kept it intact, cutting through the mid-point at the back of the band, and a jeweler will easily be able to reform and refit it at our next opportunity.

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Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 12:52 am

Posted in  Journal 

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