January 14, 2021

Just looked at engagement rings.


I’ve been dating a lovely human being since just before the Quarantine closed down upon us, nearly a year ago now (!).

Yesterday, I went looking for rings (don’t worry, I don’t think my girlfriend reads most of my articles).

First, we went to a local jeweler who I’ve known, and partied with on occasion, for many years. They’re popular, eco-minded, ethically-minded. Impressive stuff. We didn’t have an appointment—we were biking around, and it was there, and I had wanted to show her the place for some time. I wanted to get an idea of what she liked, what I liked, what ethics would be involved in our hypothetical-future engagement and wedding ring, if we continue to head that direction. I’m a believer in romance, and playfulness, and surprise—but I’m also a believer in communication, and openness, and finding out what we like. So we pulled up our bikes, and she walked in. I stayed outside, mostly, with Redford, my 13-year-old half-hound, all-trouble pooch.

Because we didn’t have an appointment, we didn’t stay long, but the lady (who I’ve known a little for a long time) helpfully showed Michelle about and gave her an idea of what they do, and how they do it. It felt fancy, ethical, rich, a little cold, perhaps.

Next, we biked to a bohemian elegant simple hippie jeweler, again owned by a longtime community friend, and checked it out. They did some ethical/eco, but it seemed to be a sort of side issue for them, not fundamental to what they did.

Next, and last (it felt a bit like the Engagement Ring version of Goldilocks) we to a dear, unique place I’ve always thought I’d like to get such a ring from: Classic Facets. The place is cozy, warm, filled with amazing antiques…and not only was Redford, my dog, invited in, but he was given a treat (as always) and promptly curled up and fell half asleep on the rug.

Classic Facets carries all vintage, antiques, and heirlooms. It’s staffed by lonnnnggggggtime staffers who know and love their stuff. It looks like a place right out of Diagon Alley. We were both in heaven, and spent well over an hour looking and learning and talking and trying rings on. Michelle loves non-traditional options (blue—azure, topaz, sapphire), and we also looked at diamonds and rubies. To me, it’s all a bit silly, but I do love craft, and history, and story (someone once remarked that Amazon tries to get rid of story: ie, you think of it, you click buy, it’s delivered, boom. You don’t think about who made it, how they got paid, how it got to you, or the effect it and its packaging has on the world).

Finally, tired but glowing, we rolled out and called a dear colleague, and talked over her engagement and wedding ring process. She prioritized eco, and ethical, and simple, and elegant, and engraved their names and even their dear departed dog’s likeness on her husband’s token.

Then, Michelle called her dear friends, and mom, and by then I was ready to eat and cuddle (and fall asleep, off and on) and watch the Lakers or Curry, and When Harry met Sally.

But over the next day, we heard that some of our dear, caring, smart, savvy, stylish pals view antique as “full of negative energy.” I was frankly horrified, saddened. Yes, history has pain and suffering and love and joy in it. History is complicated.

But new is complicated, too—if we asked Mother Nature which option was more full of love to Her, she would surely say “antique.” Our love should be outward looking, too—caring love, not selfish love.

What’s actually negative, even toxic, is wearing plastic—it’s bad for us, and it’s bad for whales, and birds, and fish. Plastic comes from petroleum, mostly, which of course is tied up in climage change, and wars.

What I view as “negative energy” is conflict diamonds, and any new (even ethical) mining, generally.

What I view as “love” is reuse, craft, a ring with stories and history in it. Our love must be big enough, as Whitman urged us, to contain multitudes. In that vein…

F*ck Minimalism. F*ck Modern. Give me Joyously Cluttered, Antique, Upcycled, Repurposed.

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