a magical ring! (Or why it’s fun to support local artists)

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When Steve and I looked at rings, I learned I can’t tell the difference between diamonds of various values. Clarity, cut, coal spots, flaws… none of that registers with me when I look at a sparkly ring. There were diamonds we could sort of afford and then there were the special, cool named, magical more expensive diamonds. As we looked, the diamond dude made the rings we could afford sound so inferior to the ones that were too expensive for us, that I decided I didn’t want a diamond at all. I didn’t want people to look at my ring and judge the quality of our commitment by the size or shape of the stone on it.
The diamond dude kept saying things like “You can afford any ring in the store” and I kept adding in my head “on credit… with interest… and a payment plan” I think I wasn’t sappy enough looking at the rings. The diamond dude seemed annoyed by that. He tried a zillion angles and nothing worked.
He said things like:
“It’s about your story.”
“This ring symbolizes your love for each other.”
“You probably want the best quality diamond, just like you want the best quality relationship.”
“Listen to the rings. Are any of them talking to you? You will know the one that’s for you when you see it.”
Finally, exasperated, the diamond dude said, “This is our most popular style of ring. 85% of what we sell is this style of ring.” (a princess cut solitaire, for the record.)
And I asked if they had any emerald cut diamonds. Apparently people don’t buy emerald cut diamonds because that’s not as sparkly of a cut. They had only two in the store and both cost more than my car.
When we left the diamond store, I did a lot of thinking. I decided I mostly wanted a diamond because that’s what you’re supposed to get when you’re engaged. Then I googled how that happened. I learned it was a marketing campaign that had wedged its way into popular culture. I remembered that I don’t really like sparkly things.Bling’s not my thing.  Diamonds are hard and complicated and expensive and a good idea for other people, but not me.
I decided to look around online for someone who made jewelry. I struggled to find the right combination of words to find one in Des Moines or Iowa. Thankfully, social media exists. Cat Rocketship is one of my favorite people on twitter, even if I don’t know her that well. So I emailed her:
Hi Cat. Long time fan, first time emailer. Are there people in Des Moines who make quality non-diamond engagement rings? (and then I gave her a shortened version of the scenario above)
She graciously replied.

Hi Sara! I’m not sure about local jewelers without knowing more of your style, but Jen Lawler is a local silversmith, VERY talented, and would be a great start. She can also probably direct you to other artists if she’s not the right fit. Good luck and congrats! Pre-congrats, I guess. 🙂 Cat

Steve and I looked at Jen Lawler’s designs on etsy and I swooned! They were all speaking to me. Her rings made my heart leap. There wasn’t a single princess cut solitaire diamond to be found and I was in love.
Steve sent Jennifer a message and they exchanged ideas and emails for a few days. We started referring to her as “the Lawler” or Jennifer FREAKING Lawler. (She doesn’t know that. I swear it was the awe factor that required a nickname. I hope she’s okay with that.) The result is the most beautiful, most magical ring ever. The most magical thing about this is that if you wear it, you get to marry Steve! And it’s not a ring that 85% of people pick. It’s so much more us.
Thank you, Cat and Jennifer and brave Steve and even thank you Diamond Dude for reminding us that it is our story, not a marketer’s idea of our version of love.
Cat tweets a lot about Market Day. It’s a monthly thing in Des Moines held about the same time as Farmers Market and MARKET DAY IS TOMORROW!!! Jennifer FREAKING Lawler will be there. So will other local, original artists. Go and support something that’s not a chain and people who are real and friendly.

5 responses »

  1. That ring is awesome. I do have diamonds in my engagement ring, but my husband DESIGNED it himself! He made a paper model and took it around to a bunch of jewelers and said, “Can you make this?” Finally one of them said, “No problem!” Like my ring does for me, I bet yours will constantly remind you that your relationship with Steve is unique and special and unlike any others! Congratulations on your engagement! (:

  2. I love being reminded why you’re one of my favorite people in the world. 😉 And…Terry and I forego the whole diamond business too. Turns out, our marriage didn’t depend on that sparkly stone. lol

    Congratulations, Sara!! (and your ring is beautiful!!)

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