I have to admit that there is a part of me that finds the whole engagement ring tradition ridiculous. I imagine that it originated in days when marriageability was a woman's main asset, when some sort of commitment from her intended was necessary in order to maintain an aura of propriety, or to indicate his ability to support a family. It is a tradition that doesn't reflect the times in which we live now.
But that said, once engaged I was powerless against the societal pressure to have a ring, and I was nearly as powerless against the promise of beautiful jewelry adorning my hand. Thankfully, Paul has excellent taste, so that promise was indeed fulfilled.
He found a ring that looks like no other engagement ring I've ever seen, that doesn't blatantly advertise its carats and price, but that I find to be endlessly elegant and beautiful and creative. I'm sure that at some point I'll stop gazing gratuitously at the diamonds and emeralds that now grace my ring finger, but that point hasn't yet arrived, and probably won't for quite some time.
My only request was that I didn't want a ring that looked like everyone else's, that looked as though it had come straight off of 47th Street in the diamond district. So he headed downtown instead. Way downtown, to an estate jeweler on the lower east side called Doyle & Doyle, officially my new favorite browsing spot.
If the term "estate jeweler" conjures up visions of a fusty, uptight operation, I assure you that is not the case here. The employees are all pretty young things working alongside a hipster sound track in a bright, open space. The girls are utterly sweet...there were many oohs and aahs over my new engagement when I brought the ring in to be sized...and totally knowledgeable and professional.
The range of price points is wide, and perhaps best of all, the prices are posted next to the jewels on display, so you know right away whether a piece is worth your time to admire or whether it is too far out of reach to be pondered. I love this attempt to take the intimidation factor out of fine jewelry shopping.
And as the pieces are almost all antique, you won't find yourself bumping into someone with your ring, necklace or bracelet, a tough feat in a town with such champion shoppers as New York has!