The Engineer and I had been dating several months and, though we weren't engaged, we were talking about marriage. He took me to northern California to visit his mom and stepdad. (His dad passed away before I met him.)
"I have my mom's old wedding and engagement rings," The Engineer told me. "If you want to, you can see them when we visit. If you like them, we can use them. But don't feel obligated; if you don't like them, I'll buy you something else." I nervously and excitedly agreed.
The big ring reveal came...
...and I immediately loved the ring set. The style--classic yet not old-fashioned, simple yet not boring--suited me wonderfully. The diamond is not huge...but probably quite a bit bigger than my husband-to-be would have been able to afford; he was still paying off college back then. And since I didn't know The Engineer's dad, I have always liked wearing this ring set that connects me to his parents' happy marriage.
We had the rings sized, and I not-so-patiently waited for the big question, which he finally asked. After a four-month engagement, we were married. I still love my rings (though I should have gotten them cleaned before snapping that photo!)
I'm actually lucky to still be enjoying these rings. Four months after our wedding day, I accidentally put them down the garbage disposal! Thankfully the disposal was only turned on for a very short burst. The rings were bent and scratched a little, and the large diamond fell out. Miracle of miracles, I retrieved it, and after an awkward confession to my new husband, we took the rings to a jeweler for repair.
The jeweler suggested that I get all the small diamonds re-set; the prongs were wearing down. My mother-in-law had worn the rings for over 25 years. "Prongs eventually wear down, and you can start losing stones," the jeweler explained. We agreed that the reasonable cost of re-setting diamonds was far preferable to the high cost of replacing diamonds!
I was remembering this whole incident--which took place almost exactly 10 years ago--yesterday. A friend posted on Facebook that the diamond from her engagement ring had fallen out. She hasn't been able to find it, and she is of course quite upset. It just so happened that earlier in the day I'd had to run an errand next door to a local jeweler, and I'd noticed the sign in their window advertising free ring inspection and cleaning.
I'm going to take my rings in soon to get them cleaned and inspected. I'm going to specifically ask the jeweler when the prongs need to be replaced again. In fact, I can tell that some of the tiny prongs on the small diamonds are wearing down.
So if you get one lesson from these ring stories, let it be this: If you have rings with stones in them, get them periodically inspected. (And if you get one more lesson from these stories, let it be this: Don't crunch up rings in a garbage disposal, especially not when you're newly-married, and especially if the rings came from your husband's much-loved mother!)