Friday, August 15, 2003

The Diamond Debacle

The title comes from a comment Matt made last night when we were standing in Zales [>] ruling out rings because they didn't cost enough...

Yes you did read that correctly. No, we weren't targeting the one month's income (or two month's, or whatever it is) rule for an engagement ring, we were trying to make use of a token he had from a previous relationship. About 6 years ago, he had just arrived in San Diego, was stationed on a boat at the 32nd St Base, and planning a future union with a girl he'd met in A-School, who was stationed elsewhere. So he bought a wedding set, a diamond ring and an "enhancer" to nest around it and act as a wedding band. Life intervened, the engagment ring never met it's intended wearer, and Matt was left stuck with a very non liquid asset of $1100 in a teeny little jewelry box.

We got the idea of attepting to trade it in somehow for a ring for me, both of us thinking that Zales would offer us some percentage of the original value of the set. Nope. Zales' buy-back policy is very explicit: they will buy back any diamond purchase for the original price paid (not including taxes)...but only if this amount is used towards a purchase at least double the value of the trade in. It also has to be a single item, one ring, one necklace, one set of earrings, not a bunch of stuff adding up to the magic number. Meaning, to trade in this set, he'd have to shell out an additional grand, and I'd be walking around with two thousand dollars on my finger.

I understand that for many women this would not be a problem. "Hurrah, he has no choice but to get me that trillion-cut 1/2 carat platinum number I've had my eye on since I turned 16!" I am most emphatically not that girl. I like sparkly things, but I don't have any fondness for large pricetags. Nor do I want an expensive gift from someone who didn't want to spend that amount of money. To be honest, when it seemed that the only way he'd be able to reclaim the value of the ring set was to spend (waste) an additional thousand, I felt sick. It seemed so unfair that he couldn't redeem it's value and rid himself of an unhappy memento. Not to mention the completely shallow fact that I want a sapphire, dammit, not a plain (but immensely sparkly) solitaire diamond, and sapphires are nowhere near as costly, and are not generally set with large diamonds to bump up the price.

Have I ever mentioned that I am not fond of fine jewelry shopping [>]?

Then inspiration struck: the solitaire and enhancer were seperate items, they didn't come as a set. So why not trade in the less expensive part and worry about reselling the solitaire elswhere? This took the target pricetag down from approximately $2,000 to just under $400, and returned our collective blood pressures and heart rates so somewhere around normal.

I had already narrowed my selection to three rings, one I eliminated immediately because it looked too dinky on my hand, and besides, at $199 it was nowhere near the $400 benchmark we had to meet. This left two rings, which Matt and I had already had a hard time choosing between aesthetically, one had three ceylon sapphires in a row, with teeny round diamonds between them, it looked well proportioned on my hand and was exceedingly sparkly due to the alternation between blue and bright white faceted stones. Pricetag: $299. The other had a significantly larger single ceylon sapphire, with three small round diamond on either side, also well proportioned for my hand and exceedingly sparkly, though it flashed less when I moved my hand side to side. Pricetag: $399.

This brings us to point at which I started this narritive. "Well...I think I prefer that one very slightly, but it just doesn't cost I suppose we'll go for the $399 one?" Not something I thought I'd ever hear myself say, especially not in a jewelry store.

Problem solved. I've got my sapphire (I have no idea how I got so fixated on a sapphire, I must have been a gem-hoarding pirate in a past life), Matt has offloaded part of the uncomfortable reminder of a past relationship, and Zales sucked an additional $200 out of a customer.

The Winning Candidate [>] is beautiful, I don't get to wear it today and sparkle at my coworkers because Matt is going to give it to me properly on our date tonight. Wonderful timing we have, we've managed to arrange things so that he can present my engagement ring to me on the romantic evening I planned as an early birthday event for him!

We are going to try selling the leftover solitaire on eBay, if anyone's in the market for an engagement ring it's square cut, 0.24 carats, set in a 14k yellow gold size 4 band... Offers around $800 please. We're willing to bargain, but only if you buy us dinner first.

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