Someone Else's Sparkle

Sparkle, a piece I wrote for Kindle Singles, is about my engagment ring neurosis. Maria, my guest writer (and fellow ring wearer) for today, comes to her ring from a different perspective. She got the big blingy diamond, not because she wanted it, but because she was afraid to miss out. Maria, take it from here:

Photo credit: King of Platinum

I used to think that engagement rings were gaudy. When my intended asked me if I wanted a diamond, I quickly replied, “No. It will just land up in a drawer somewhere.”

Days passed. I remembered when I was about ten years old and asked for a baby doll for Christmas. Not the sexy nightie kind- the kind that comes with a bottle of fake milk that moves in the plastic bottle when you “feed your baby”. It wasn’t like I really wanted a doll, or to play mommy, but because I suddenly realized I had never been into that and I was afraid of missing the experience. Santa brought the doll. It had some sort of a cute, Cindy Brady’s Kitty Curl-up name. I pretended for a few days and was over it.

Later, in high school, my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go to my prom. “No…” He was 25 years old and I was just too mature for the schoolgirl traditions. Until a week before the prom when I was suddenly afraid I would regret not having gone to the prom, and opted back in, borrowed a dress from my mom’s closet (which, whenever I come across that photo these days, I think, “Damn! I was so hot!” and went to the prom w/ a noticeably older guy who had hair down to his waist and wasn’t the tux sort of guy- he wore a white silk jacket with a dragon embroidered on the back. We were too cool for school.

True to my M.O., I though, “I might regret never having the experience of an engagement ring,” so…“Yes, a diamond would be nice. Nothing from Africa, please. An Arctic diamond. Bloodless. From the frozen North where handsome polar bears tread and Canadian men driving oversized Tonka toy trucks out of an ice pit get paid nicely for their work. He was sure to present me w/ the certificate of authenticity, for my peace of mind.

We went shopping. I picked out the setting, he picked out the stone. At first it clunked on everything – I’m not much of a jewelry person. When driving home from work, the sun hit it just right to sprinkle little rainbow reflections on the interior of my car- every tiny bit of magic a reflection of the blessing that I have found in my man. Tra la la la la. My sister calls it The Spotlight. I now find myself hiding my hand when I am with another woman whose stone is smaller than mine. I almost need to wear a glove.

I hide the ring because I don’t want them to feel badly if they see it and compare it to their own ring with a smaller stone. I am not concerned with what they think about me, except that I don’t want them to feel like I am shoving it in their faces.

The other part of it is that they don’t necessarily know that I have only recently been engaged/married. I know that many women have small diamonds because when their husband gave it to them, they were younger with less money. A perk to getting married later is that there is more in the bank; the downside is that there is less time ahead for us. The smaller stones with more years to be together is a much better deal than the larger stone w/ less years to be together.

Now that the wedding ring is on that finger, the engagement ring will probably land up in a drawer somewhere, sometime soon. I’ll be over it. Had the experience and moved on.

In the end, I think that a simple non-diamond ring would’ve been a better choice for an engagement ring. Something I could’ve worn everyday without it calling undue attention.

I'd love to post more personal stories. If you're into it, you can email me your ring story, gripe, concern, obsession, etc. at maraaltman (at)