Too old…for an engagement ring

My first trip around the marriage carousel, we bought the full set – engagement ring and two bands. They were very cheap (we were on a tight budget), and they bent easily. By the time we split up, they were broken.

My second trip around the marriage carousel started without a clear engagement. We moved in together, and talked about marriage in a vague way. But he was ambivalent about reliving the medical school experience with me (his experience was probably close to that depicted in the discouraging book “House of God”). So, my daughter and I packed up and moved across the country to start my first year of medical school, with the possibility that we would have a wedding the following summer, and formalize our status as a family.

Our wedding was sealed with the ring that was an inheritance from my mother-in-law. It was a ring used by her grandfather, a rabbi in Russia, who used this ring to marry couples who couldn’t afford their own ring. It is rose gold, an alloy of gold and copper. We had to size it down quite a bit to fit my little size 3 1/2 ring finger.  It is inscribed with markings that must indicate who fashioned the ring, which the jeweler who sized it down preserved for us.

2014-04-07 18.55.35 2014-04-07 19.57.43

And, I was fine with my hand-me-down ring.

It had charm, and a story.

Until I got into my residency.

Sure, by the time I started my residency (the training period that follows graduating from medical school, which usually lasts at least 3 years), I had been married happily for 3 years, and we were settled into a reasonably happy family unit.

But, my peers in the program were just getting “hitched”, and the women were showing off their rings.  They were HUGE!  The diamonds stood up from their fourth fingers of their left hands in a gaudy display, sparkling arrogantly, and reminding me that I had only a plain band of alloyed gold on my own, without any sparkle, even if it had a wonderful story.

And I started fretting about it.  And I felt so petty.  And my dear husband was getting to feel so guilty, for depriving me of this token.

So, he bought me this:

2014-04-07 18.55.50It matches the rose gold of my wedding band, and it has a tiny amethyst embedded in it – my birthstone.  And I was touched, but I was also so disappointed, because it wasn’t an engagement ring – it was so plain, and so simple.  And he knew I was disappointed…

So, a few years later, he went back to the same jewelry store, and found this ring:

2014-04-07 18.56.14I can’t get an adequate photo, but the filigree is embedded with 18 small diamonds along the band.  It is lovely, and sparkly, and not too tall (it fits nicely into a medical glove, which I must don repeatedly in my work day to examine wounds, and other areas of the body that require a bit of plastic or latex separating my skin from my patient’s).

And, today, I wear all three, on my left hand – my rose gold bedecked hand:

2014-04-07 18.57.18And, I’m quite happy with my decorations.  Recently, J found a ring that I inherited from my dear great-aunt, the sister of my maternal grandfather, which I occasionally wear on my right hand, as it’s silver base needs a separate hand as it’s frame:

2014-04-07 21.07.25


So, I have my rose gold hand, and my silver hand.  And, I no longer envy those girls with the prominent and uncomfortable looking multi-karat diamond rings standing up on their left 4th digits.  I know that my husband loves me, and I don’t need spectacular sparkles to prove it.


This post was inspired by the novel  The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. At the age of 44, Rosie finds herself suddenly single and pregnant. She tries to hide in her grandmother’s home, but meets two men that will change her life forever. Join From Left to Write on April 8 we discuss The Opposite of Maybe. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.



4 thoughts on “Too old…for an engagement ring

  1. ally says:

    I love that you made your rings all your own, and the stories are wonderful.

  2. Alicia S says:

    Beautiful rings. The ring doesn't matter, the husband does. I have a beautiful big gaudy diamond ring sitting in a drawer somewhere. I with the husband had had as much value as that ring. Great post!

  3. Thien-Kim says:

    I have a small engagement ring but after 12 years of marriage (this Aug), I only wear my wedding band. Every now and again, I dream of a giant sparkly ring. But probably just a CZ though. Your husband has great taste when it comes to picking out jewelry!

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