Monday, August 4, 2008

Got ring?

Or rather, the title of this post should be GOT RING!, because yes, my friends, we were successful in our quest for the one ring to rule them all...or at least, the one ring to rock my left hand.

We went to Brilliant Earth in downtown SF on Saturday morning. We were undercaffeinated but very excited. Mr. T cautioned me against getting my hopes up too high (probably a holdover from when we tried to get iPhones a couple of weeks ago and couldn't, and Mr. T was crushed. We've since gotten the phones, but that's another story...) Anyway, I had done my homework and looked at all their sapphire rings, and I decided that even if I didn't like any of them in person, we'd place a custom order, so I printed out a bunch of inspiration pix too.

Brilliant Earth is an awesome company that uses only ethically mined gems and metals, and they don't overcharge for their products. They also donate 5% of their profits to African communities. Sales associate Beth Leinonen met us at the door and escorted us to the elevator. The building is a fun old SF building that's tall and narrow, and when the elevator's doors opened and we stepped out into the hall, I noticed that all the doors had frosted glass windows with stenciled-on business felt like we were going to visit a private detective in a Chandler novel. Beth laughed when we brought up the noir feel and mentioned she wanted to get a ceiling fan for their office so that you could see it circling through the frosted glass.

We walked into the BE office--small and simple, containing a table, three chairs, and a bunch of rings set up underneath a high-tech lamp. The display rings were mostly diamonds, although a couple did have sapphires set in them. We sat down and I started trying things on like crazy. To review, here were the rings I was considering:

This was the "Heirloom Sapphire Ring". I liked this on my hand okay, but it was priced a little higher than our budget. Mr. T wouldn't have split hairs over a few hundred dollars, but I didn't love it enough to want to go over budget, and there were a ton of gorgeous rings in our price range.

On to ring choice #2:

The Delicate Antique Scroll ring. This was actually both Mr. T's and my favorite ring when we looked online. However, when I got it on my hand, it was not quite right...I don't know if it was that the band was too narrow or that the lovely details were lost unless you were close to the ring...but it just wasn't the one. I tried it on with wedding bands to see if the "too narrow" problem would go away, and it was better, but I was still unsure.

Ring #3:

I really liked the Art Deco Filigree ring on my hand. The band was wider, the stone was not too "sticky uppy" as I told Mr. T, and the side was fact, when I had it on my hand and turned it to view the side of the band, Mr. T and I simultaneously said, "That's very Lord of the Rings!" which made me laugh. The thing was, I really didn't like the diamonds. I thought I would be okay with diamond side stones, but once I saw them I just didn't like them at all. Actually, the ring I tried on had a diamond center stone, too, and it was just bizarre to have a diamond ring on my hand. It looked wrong.

I tried on a few others that I hadn't picked out previously, as well:

The Halo style was pretty, but didn't feel like me. Ditto for the next one:

The Pave Split Shank ring was pretty on my hand, but stuck up too far, and felt very traditional, especially with all those diamonds on the band.

The design of the Flower Bud ring was really sweet:

I loved the carved band, and the sweet "hidden" pink sapphire was fun. However, it stuck up too far on my hand and I just knew it would get caught on everything.

At some point I asked about swapping in pink sapphires, which you know I've been thinking about for awhile, and Beth brought out a tray of lovely hot pink sapphires, which she said had just come in--they'd been waiting months for them (so it was meant to be!!). I was super nervous to be handed a tray of gems. I'm not always the most graceful girl--what if I knocked the side of the tray and it went flying? We'd be on our hands and knees picking sapphires out of the carpet for hours! I noticed that Mr. T stayed well away from the tray, with hands in his lap. I guess we were both nervous! I picked out my favorite and held it up to the rings. Then I asked about smaller colored sapphires for side stones. I looked at the pink center stone with blue, green, and pink sapphire side stones, and eventually chose four darker pink stones that were close to the color of the center stone. Mr. T said, "Wait, did we just choose a band?" and I realized, that yes, indeed we had. Without further ado, I present my ring:

This is actually a Photoshop mock-up that Mr. T did. The real pink sapphires are a bit darker and richer--they were so gorgeous in person, I fell in love right away. Even Mr. T, who was doubtful on the pink sapphire thing, took one look at them and said, "Oh, that makes sense."

We found out a couple of interesting things: first, the sapphires are found in nature in many colors. I thought they started blue and were heat-treated to change the color, but it turns out they're found in all colors, and the heat treatment is just to remove a milky film on the surface of the stone...some stones don't need the heat treatment because they're near a thermal vent (I was torn about one super sparkley lavender sapphire that hadn't needed the heat treatment for that was lovely. But pink had to win, let's face it). Beth also said that the "heat treatment" just meant that the stones were thrown in a coffee can and heated over a fire for 15 minutes.

Second, I found out that my ring size is 6, which is smaller than I thought! My knuckles are bigger, so I thought my band size was bigger, but once she got the professional metal sizer out, I was indeed a size 6. Mr. T also got his finger sized and I think he was either 8.5 or 8.75. It was a warm day, and since Mr. T wants a titanium ring, which can't be re-sized, Beth suggested we take his ring measurement a few more times in different weather to be sure. Mr. T also found a ring he liked, but he doesn't really want white gold or platinum, so we're going to look for a similar style in titanium.

My ring should be ready in about 2 weeks, just in time for the engagement party, providing all goes well. I'm super excited to pick it up!!!! Hooray!


Pica Maloria said...

Congratulations - that looks georgous - can't wait til you post a pic of the real thang on your hand!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Don't think I've ever seen real pink sapphires in person - I'll look forward to it.