The first ring I ever bought for myself was in 2008. I had just graduated from college and was visiting Hong Kong with my family. I was walking through the airport, passing the time by distracting myself with pretty shoes, bags, and jewelry in the duty-free shops. As I stopped into Tiffany & Co.’s mini but beautifully appointed store, I saw it. It was in the second showcase from when you walked right in. It was beautiful. It was everything that spoke to a twenty year old girl, a heart-shaped platinum ring with tiny diamonds paved into it. I asked to try it on, and when the sales associate, Kim, slipped it onto my fingers, it fit perfectly. I excitedly waved it in front of my mom until she just grabbed my hand to look at it. She smiled and said, “很漂亮, 想買就自己買.” If you want to buy it, you’ll have to buy it yourself. Oh. In my excitement, I had forgotten that I would actually have to pay money to own it. I calculated what was in my checking, what was in my savings, what was I doing, what I could be doing with that money instead, and did I really want it. Yes, yes… I did really really want it. I’m not even sure why. I was never a huge fan of heart shaped jewelry, but this one, it spoke to me. The way the light hit the diamonds had entranced me, and I was under its thrall. I ended up walking out of that store with the ring on. As soon as my dad saw it, he laughed and said, “Looks like you’ll have to eat at least three months of ramen.” I didn’t care, I would’ve eaten six months of ramen, I loved it. It gave me butterflies.
I still wear that ring almost every day. Whenever I look at it, I’m reminded of that day. That morning spent walking through the Peninsula Hotel with my family, my mom spending thirty minutes trying to decide between the blueberry or currant scone, my dad convincing my mom that she didn’t need another coffee mug, my brother walking into a chair because he was playing Pokemon. My first huge purchase. The feelings of elation tinged with guilt for spending so much on something beautiful. I see that ring as a reminder of family, of love, of becoming independent.
I have no regrets spending 3 months of my internship money on that one ring. I like to think that ring is the reason I’m pursuing what I love today. That ring is the reason why I’m thinking of other people’s ring stories and how jewelry has followed us from one generation to the next. Throughout history, rings have been worn to show status and faith, to express personal opinion, and to boldly declare love and fidelity. My fascination with jewelry and history have finally converged, and I can’t wait to share more with you on the history of rings. I hope you come back to take a look!