I’ve never bought a piece of a nice jewelry for myself. Until this past weekend. Sure, I’ve bought costume jewelry and cheap sterling silver stuff that was trendy at the time, but I have never purchased anything of value or any real cost. During the seven years we were together, my ex fiancée bought me a lot of jewelry. Christmases were marked by earrings, a bracelet, two watches, a necklace, etc., etc. I will admit that I was pretty spoiled by these gifts, but we had the money to spend at the time. He bought me a diamond solitaire necklace one time that I loved – it was princess cut, just like he knew I wanted my engagement ring to be. It was our version of a promise ring – he bought me that necklace to mark his intention to marry me. Sadly, a few days before what would have been my wedding day, I lost that necklace. I was running errands, getting ready for the trip to Myrtle Beach, and the chain must have broken and fallen off, because when I returned home, it was gone. It was almost fitting, losing my “promise necklace” two days before what would have been the actual completion of the promise. I can’t accurately put into words how sad I was that day.
People sometimes ask if I still wear the jewelry he gave me. At first, I didn’t. Slowly, as time has gone by, I’ve begun wearing many of the pieces. As my friend Dawn says, the jewelry didn’t do anything wrong. I agree with her, mostly. There are a few pieces I still can’t bring myself to wear very often. One is a ring with his birth stone in it – he said he always wanted me to have a piece of him with me. Another is this aquamarine necklace and earring set – the last gift he gave me on Christmas of 2009. When he gave me the necklace and earrings, I knew I would wear them on my wedding day. I even tried on wedding dresses wearing them, just to make sure they worked together.
And then, there is the engagement ring. Oh, how I loved my engagement ring. I selected it, after months of scouring the Internet looking for something just perfect, as I was going to be wearing it forever. I remember after the engagement, looking down and being surprised and astounded by how beautiful it was and how much I loved it. I know this is all sounding very superficial and shallow, but a lot of the love I had for the engagement ring and the other jewelry he gave me was what it represented. I didn’t ask for the jewelry, and I generally didn’t tell him what I wanted. He just went out and selected something he found beautiful, and something that he thought I would love too. That effort always meant a lot to me.
I used to be so anxious about losing my engagement ring that I would constantly check my left ring finger to make sure it was still there. It became sort of a nervous tick, this constant checking. Sometimes, I find myself doing that when I am half asleep. It’s a strange feeling, realizing it’s gone – and remembering why it’s gone. And if I’m completely honest, I’ll admit that sometimes I miss my ring.
People ask me all the time where the ring is, and what we did with it. People have a weird obsession with those sorts of details about my breakup. My ex fiancée has the engagement ring. I maybe threw it at him during the breakup. Allegedly. People always tell me that I should have kept it and sold it. While that might have been fun (trip to Vegas, anyone?!), I believe it was really his ring to keep.
This weekend, I was at the mall with Dawn, and she was looking at right hand rings. I had been considering buying a new solitaire diamond necklace for myself, to replace the one I’d lost, so I went with her to look. In one store, I fell in love with a wedding band. It was beautiful, exactly my size. It fit perfectly on my hand, and it felt just right. I named her Julia. I don’t know why I named her Julia, or why I even decided the ring was a her. All I knew was that I loved her. I decided I needed to think a little on it, considering it was such a big purchase, so I got the card of the sales lady and went along my way.
A few stores later, I still couldn’t get Julia out of my mind. I’m not one to make impulse decisions, and I am generally incredibly careful with my money (read: cheap), but something just felt right. So, I took money from my rainy day fund, on a beautiful, sunny September day, to buy myself my first piece of nice jewelry ever. I wore Julia right out of the store, on my right hand. I got teary when purchasing it. I’m alone, yes, but I am lucky. I can afford to dig deep into my savings and treat myself (as long as I eat Ramon Noodles for the next three months and don’t buy a single thing). The sales lady probably thought I was crazy, crying over purchasing a simple ring.
So yes, I bought myself a wedding band. Which is interesting considering all I’ve been through. It’s better than replacing the diamond necklace, I think, because now I feel like I don’t simply want to replace what I’ve lost. What I have now is so much more special, more powerful than what I had before. And I’m not just talking about the ring.
Now, I can look down at my right hand and see something beautiful again, like I did when I had my engagement ring. And know that I did this for myself. I didn’t need a man to do it for me, and I don’t need to be getting married to deserve a diamond ring. I have to tell you, it’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed purchasing something so much.