Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ring in the New Year

My wedding ring broke again.

Turns out swimming a mile a day is good for me, but bad for my jewelry.  It is perfectly logical that chlorine should eat away at silver and weaken it over time, it just never occurred to me until a goldsmith said it.  So no more wearing my ring into the pool.

In the meantime, my little $6 wedding band that I've had for so long is repaired but vulnerable to breaking again, so I've decided to maybe add it to my necklace of silver fingerprints and get a new one.

I got a more substantial wedding band the last time my ring broke.  Ian had just returned from Iraq and we had some extra money, and I decided I wanted a ring that represented my current life with birthstones to represent all five of us in our family.  It was a nice idea, but the jeweler I worked with really didn't get what I wanted and it didn't come out the way I imagined.  It was okay, and I wore it for years, but I never liked it as much as my original ring.

Then Ian lost his wedding ring at the Y a while back and I passed the new band on to him, and I went back to wearing my silver band.  Until it snapped again.

I like to support local people and businesses whenever possible, so I went onto our neighborhood Facebook page and asked if anyone knew any jewelry repair people in town, and a man connected me with his niece.  She designs jewelry and works with a master goldsmith.  She's the one who told me the constant chlorine bath was bad for my ring, and said she'd be happy to fix it but it was prone to break again.  We started to discuss the possibilities for a new ring.

I'm not much of a jewelry person.  I'd rather spend money on wood and tools and books.  But a wedding band is an exception, and I just sold one of my violins and decided I could afford to get something for myself.  (Usually when I sell an instrument I treat myself to a nice plane or chisel, but this time a ring will do.)  We got to talking about possibilities.

For me, a ring has to be unobtrusive.  I need to be able to slip it back and forth onto either hand because I don't like to feel it on my left when I play viola.  I don't want anything that could scratch instruments as I handle them, and I don't like rings that catch on anything.  I don't want to feel it at all, if possible, which is what I've always liked best about my thin, simple band.

I showed the kids what their birthstones were and had them choose what colors should represent them, and the goldsmith laid out different stones for me so I could match their preferences.  We decided to order something darker for Ian and lighter for Quinn.  I determined yellow gold looked warmer and prettier against all the stones than the white gold did.  She promised to send me pictures of the new stones when they arrived and put them in different orders to choose from, and she would do a mock up in wax for my approval before casting the final piece.

In any case, the nicest part about this whole experience, and what makes me hopeful that this time it will be right, is that instead of dealing with the salesperson in the fancy front end of the store, I was dealing with the craftspeople in the back.  That's where I'm comfortable.  The sales floor was pretty, and the people there were done up in clothes probably worth more than my whole wardrobe and decked out in a lot of makeup.  The backroom was cramped and cluttered and the goldsmiths were dressed for being comfortable and making things.  They had questions about violins and I had questions about jewelry, but we understood each other's language.  It's the language of craftspeople, behind the scenes, supporting the appearance of a different set of people on the other side of the wall.  These are people who know what I want in a ring.

So we'll see!  I'm excited.  It's an unusual splurge for me and I promise pictures when it's done.


  1. Yes! Pictures! I want to see it.

  2. How sad your lovely little ring is damaged (yet repaired), and yet, how thrilling to maybe finally get the ring you have envisioned! :o) Please do share photos as I'm dying to see it!

  3. I am really looking forward to your ring. I have a feeling that it is going to be exactly what you wanted, and it is going to be beautiful. I just learned something new as well--silver, and chlorine do not mix! I do swim myself, and always take my ring off more because I am afraid to lose it, than being aware that chlorine can damage the ring. Good to know for next time.

  4. That sounds like a lot of fun, though I'm sorry your original ring broke!

  5. How exciting! Can't wait to see pictures!