Friday, October 1, 2010

The Ring Part 3: Changes

Now at this point you (and perhaps your fiance) have designed and executed an amazing vision.  If you are lucky, this is where your custom ring creation story will end.  Yay for you and hallelujahs all around! 

Buuuuut, this is where I experienced a little bit of a hiccup.  It was the kind of hiccup that feels like heart-breaking misery-on-a-stick at the time, where you're convinced things could never feel any better - but then later on it feels like the best decision you ever made and it's hard to believe it ever felt so tragical in the first place.  You know the type, yeah?

So after I designed the ring and passed all that info over to my amazing fiance, he secretly had the ring created for me.  Then he proposed (that story coming soon)!  After getting past the initial shock and thrill of the engagement, I took the time to really study this lovely beautiful meaningful thing that we had created together.

And I couldn't help but notice some imperfections.  Ugh!  That's so like me - my meticulousness knows no limits!  The first thing I noticed was some black marks underneath 2 of the halo stones.  In the photo below I've upped the brightness and contrast to highlight the marks better, then drawn some areas to them.  You'll see how smallish the marks are, and you'll just have to trust me that they were smudges and not just facets of the diamonds.

I know you see them.  I know you do.
The other issue had to do with the side stones in the band.  Those stones weren't matched to each other - one was longer and skinnier while the other was shorter and wider.  (I didn't take a picture to document these "flaws" because it made my stomach turn to even consider that there were "flaws" in my ring.)

These are the kinds of tiny details that I would have noticed right away at the jewelers, and I would have had no problem asking about them and getting them fixed.  That's just me.  But it wasn't me who worked so hard to create this ring as a surprise for his soon-to-be fiance.  It's just not the kind of thing Mr. NM would notice.

For a few days I tried to pretend that I didn't notice these issues either.  When that didn't work I tried to tell myself that it wasn't a big deal, that overall the ring was *stunning* no matter what, that no one but me would even notice.  But - and it pains me to say this - I noticed.  All the time, I noticed.  When I looked at my sparkly ring glinting in the sunshine, my eye was drawn to these damn black smudges and mismatched stones.  I was losing the forest for the trees, so to speak.  But I just couldn't stop noticing.

It took me a while to work up the courage to tell Mr. NM about these imperfections.  And let me just say, it wasn't pretty.  He was hurt (rightfully so) that I didn't think the ring was "perfect."  He felt like I was questioning the competency of the jeweler with whom he'd worked so closely.  He was worried that me asking the jeweler about these issues would damage the relationship he'd forged with them. 

It felt like the proposal had been ruined by me admitting that I noticed imperfections.  I cried ugly, hurt, ashamed tears - for myself, for Mr. NM, for the loss of a "perfect" proposal.  I begged Mr. NM to forget what I'd said, told him that the ring was "perfect to me."  But I couldn't undo what I'd said.  We were both hurting and were unsure of how to make things right.

After the emotional thunderstorm had calmed to more of a constant foggy drizzle, Mr. NM and I came to an agreement that we would go to the jeweler together to see what could be done.  We had no idea if the problems could be fixed or what it would cost us to fix them, but we realized we couldn't both just continue to be unhappy.

Okay - deep breath - because here's where the story gets better!  Did you hear me?  It gets better!  Thank goodness...

We walked into Chabo's and talked to the jeweler, Rafi. (Side note - my next post will be a review of their services, because they totally put this girl's broken heart and put it back together.)  Rafi immediately saw the same black smudges that I saw.  He thought the problem was either polishing dust under the stone or cracks in the bottom of the stone.  He also agreed that the sidestones were not well-matched.  He immediately offered to fix both of these issues - FOR FREE!  Can you believe it?!  He said that because we had them make the ring, they would ALWAYS guarantee their workmanship - for the life of the ring!  Now that is unbelievable customer service.

One sad and lonely-engagement-ring-finger week later, Mr. NM picked up the ring and brought it home to me.  This time, it really was PERFECT!  Not a single flaw to be found, and that's saying a lot coming from me.  Gone are those wretched hurtful feelings, and in their place there's a lot of love and appreciation and pride.  I love my fiance.  I appreciate his generosity.  I'm proud of how he was able to handle my perfectionism.  And I'm also proud of me - that I could speak up for myself even when it was hard.  And I truly appreciate the outcome.  Now every time I look down at my finger, I just remember the perfect proposal and the wonderfully-imperfect relationship that it signifies.  Can you see the difference?

No more smudges, and the sidestones are matched, too!
Morals of the story:  1) There are significant benefts to having a good relationship with a reputable jeweler.  2)  Sometimes it's really difficult and painful to speak your mind and/or ask for what you want.  But in the end it is SO worth it.

Did you have anything painfully honest to say about your engagement ring?

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