A Tale of Rings

Today is M’s and my 8th wedding anniversary. We’d been together a long time before we tied the knot, and I always think of this ring above as symbolic.

The story: in my early twenties when I was living in Japan, I was flipping through a magazine when I saw a Tiffany’s ad and stopped mid-flip. As you know, I’m not a jewelry person. I have weird allergic reactions to most metals and though I love beads and baubles, I don’t think I’m very good at accessorizing so I’ve never really tried.

In the ad, I saw a simple, beautiful ring. A rounded band evenly studded with small diamonds all around — so elegant, so understated, so classic yet modern. I knew that if I ever got married (I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time and marriage wasn’t on my radar), this was my ring. Now, as luck would have it, my uncle is a jewelry designer. He lived about three hours from my little city where I was teaching English to Japanese high school students, and when I went for a visit over some school break, I mentioned The Ring. “Oh, that’s easy! I can make that for you!” he volunteered. We descended into his studio where I accidentally kicked pearls and rubies and countless precious gems because my uncle is not a neat freak. He showed me a few diamond samples (some of which I had stepped on) and told me to wait a couple of weeks.

Like clockwork, I received a package two weeks later. “Huh,” I thought. It was decidedly gold, though the one in the ad was platinum. I had expected silver, despite the probability that my finger would have turned purple. Also, it wasn’t symmetrical all around and the diamonds clustered mostly in the front. Clearly, my descriptive skills in Japanese were lacking and what I held in my hand wasn’t my dream ring. But it was beautiful and I was grateful for his generosity, and I wore it for many years even though the ring was a little too big and I still wasn’t a jewelry person.

A few years later, I would meet M at a San Francisco coffee shop, and eventually we shacked up. I had never, ever told any of my boyfriends about The Ring until M. Which was silly because I had, quite frankly, given up on marriage. There is a whole saga associated with it, but M was convinced that he wasn’t the marrying type, and though it was hard at first, I accepted that. I knew that we were good together and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else and what was a marriage license but a piece of paper after all?

We were like an old married couple anyway. I was doing laundry one day, and went through his pants pockets because he always stuffed them with candy wrappers and change. As I cleared the detritus, a wadded bit of paper caught my eye. “Tiffany & Co.” it read. I shakily uncrumpled it, and nearly had a heart attack. It was a receipt for a ring. The Ring.ย As I sat in the walk-in closet surrounded by dirty laundry and sticky Snickers wrappers, I had a moment of tearful, stunned joy. It seems, I’m sure, unromantic, but a trip to Paris would have been nothing compared to the elation of clutching that receipt in my hand.

I didn’t say a word, and it took him a couple of weeks to work up the courage to ask me. It was sweet and emotional and everything I wanted in a proposal. I thought I wouldn’t be surprised, but I was. Once I had accepted, I told him about finding the receipt, and we had a good long laugh over that one. That was in February 2005 and we got married seven months later, adding that slim band with just a singular, minuscule diamond.

And now it’s been eight years. I wouldn’t call them easy years, but they have been filled to bursting with lessons and love and mostly a lot of laughter. He makes me double over with belly-aching guffaws and I still can’t imagine being with anyone else.

Happy Anniversary, honey, you were wrong; you’re the marrying type after all.

19 thoughts on “A Tale of Rings

  1. Oh how super sweet! It makes me think of when I was proposed to (over 11 years ago) and all the happy emotions that come with it! I love your ring…it is simple and elegant and beautiful! Happy Anniversary!

  2. Wow! I was married 10 years ago and my wedding ring is identical. I didn’t even know Tiffany’s made the same design. We have good taste!

  3. Happy anniversary. Beautiful rings and images. I suspect you’d like my wedding ring which is silver with recessed burnt/oxidised black bits. Thanks for sharing your story. Many happy returns!

  4. I love the ร‰toile collection, which I believe they don’t make anymore?! I had some knockoff earrings which I wore almost every day for the last fourteen years. One morning in Target, I realized I only had one ๐Ÿ™ I love your story! Happy Anniversary!!

  5. Sweet story. I have a history of finding out my husband’s surprises in advance, so this made me chuckle. Happy anniversary!

  6. And of course you have an awesome engagement story. As I’ve commented before, you always have the best stories!
    Happy anniversary! So glad M decided he was the marrying type and that you waited around long enough for him to decide that. Your ring is beautiful – much more to my liking than my wedding ring (which I chose while in college 20 years ago . . . my tastes have changed!), but I’m not about to change it:) Hope you enjoy a little celebration in honor of this occasion!

  7. Happy Anniversary Sanae! and I wish you many, many more years of happiness. Your story is so beautiful and made me think about unique and loved jewellery, proposals, life, partnership…nice feeling -sight-. As you, I’m not an accessorized woman, but i wear three special rings in my left ring finger. My husband is a jewellery designer, he designed the three of them, one for the engagement, other the wedding and the third one he gave to me when our daughter was born. For me they are very unique, special and are part of the materialization -if i can called that word- of our love and partnership.

  8. Such beautiful and simple pictures for something as beautiful and simple – love. Many happy returns! I like the symbol of the last picture: three rings – I see you, M and K.

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