Diamond rings, from a selection, Mappin & Webb
Most days, when I ask my husband for sartorial guidance on whether, say, grey tights work with an ecru skirt or bold colour-blocking is a bit too much for a Tuesday in the office, he gives the same bewildered reply: “Why are you asking me? I have no taste”. Humble and kinda sweet? Sure. But I also know it’s a lie, because when he chose my engagement ring – a piece that (no pressure) would be ceaselessly analysed by friends, colleagues, and random shop girls – the result couldn’t have been more right for me if I’d designed it myself. “Ooh, he did well, didn’t he?” was a common refrain after the proposal. My reply: why, yes. Yes he did.
Eight months earlier, we’d done some casual recon at the Tiffany & Co. flagship in Manhattan (you know, idea gathering) so he wasn’t completely in the dark on my style, but he didn’t have a comprehensive brief either. Armed with just a teensy bit of insight, he managed to pluck out the ring from the glittering options lining Hatton Garden, like a needle in a haystack, all while trying to recall the four Cs of diamond shopping (those would be cut, colour, clarity and carats, for the uninitiated).
My favourite part of the story, though, is how he attempted to get the measurements right. Working on Y&YW, I’ve heard about all kinds of crazy lengths prospective grooms will go to to slyly size up their partners (one even commissioned a sculpture of his beloved’s hand!). My H managed to raid my jewellery box undetected and bring a bag full of miscellaneous rings along on his mission.
“You know these are all different sizes, right?” the diamond dealer asked as he dumped them onto the counter. In amongst a few bands that actually fit me were pinky rings from both of my grandmothers, my mum’s high school class ring and a smattering of heirlooms. In the end, he bought the ring a few sizes too big and I had it fitted post-proposal.
Given H’s clear aptitude for fine-jewellery shopping, I expected the wedding bands themselves to be a breeze. In reality, though, we hit an immediate stumbling block when it came to setting a budget. He thought a couple of hundred quid would cover the both of them; I had more rational expectations.
One of the touches I loved best about my engagement ring was the sprinkling of tiny pavé diamonds halfway around the platinum band, but they also upped the ante on the wedding ring. One Saturday afternoon, I browsed the options with an engaged friend, and we both decided that diamond eternity bands paired best with both our rings. Sorted!
Our fiancés, however, were less enthusiastic.
“I hear you two have talked each other into more diamonds,” mine said when he returned from their weekly basketball game. “Let’s just say we’re both a little surprised.” Translation: Wasn’t the engagement ring enough? What I saw as a matter of style, he seemed to interpret as a Kardashian-worthy bling grab. Clearly, a compromise was called for.
As we were sharing the wedding costs straight down the middle, we decided to return to Hatton Garden together and work it out in person. A selection of rings was presented on cushioned trays – for me, a full eternity band, one with diamonds just halfway around, and a classic unadorned platinum number; for him, basic bands in a range of widths.
I went into the appointment fully prepared to relent – I’d always pictured myself in a simple wedding band anyway, and maybe the seductive extra diamonds were just excessive embellishments. But when H saw the sparkler on my finger, it was no contest. “That’s the one, isn’t it?” he said. “It just… fits.”
It was one of the many wedmin-related negotiations we’d face on our way to the aisle, but it showed that we were actually pretty OK at this whole compromise thing after all. And that, no matter what he says, I really was marrying a man of impeccable taste.