In Her Words
Right Hand Ring
A commitment to me
Your left hand says, “I love you.” Your right hand says, “I love me too.” So DeBeers proclaims in their “Right Hand Ring” campaign.
I can’t be the only one who fell for this men-who-needs-’em, modern-day bra-burning declaration. I certainly epitomize the target demographic: young professional with sufficient disposable income to squander on jewelry for herself; enough angry-young-woman inner rage to trigger a penchant for collegiate women’s studies courses; a never-ending love affair with Alanis Morissette; and an innate need to shun the caretaking wiles of a man. “The rock I’m rockin? I bought it,” Beyonce croons. “‘Cause I depend on me.”
Of course, depending on myself is a fairly new concept for me. Three years ago, my husband and I separated, and I left the lush West Coast for the concrete insanity of New York to figure out what I wanted from life. All alone, new job, no friends, tiny apartment, only one income hitting the checking account. In constant search of inspiration, strength and encouragement, I sought solace in words—on the page, on TV, on my laptop as I journaled my way through the fog. I needed to believe I could not only survive, but thrive, on my own.
That’s when DeBeers roped me in.
A few months before my move to New York, as my marriage unraveled with increasing speed, I wandered into a Seattle Tiffany store and peered into the diamond display cases. I thought of how their Lucida diamond had debuted the year after my wedding, and how I’d pouted over not having the opportunity to entertain it as an option for my engagement ring. It dawned on me that now I might get that chance. Someday. Of course, I was still wearing the striking diamond and platinum ring my soon-to- be-ex-husband had so thoughtfully—and expertly—designed. As I stood twisting it around my finger, a saleswoman approached me.
“Looking to upgrade?” she asked.
I smiled. “I guess you could say that.”
“Well, we have a lot to choose from,” she began, proffering one glittering rock after another.
“What do you think?” she asked, as I admired a two-carat Lucida on my left ring finger.
“Actually, I think I’d rather find something for my other hand. Perhaps something in sterling. Modern. And strong.”
“Ah, the Right Hand Ring,” she nodded.
“Your left hand believes in shining armor, your right hand thinks knights are for fairy tales,” I joked.
I tried on a number of rings, but I knew when I’d found The One. Two silver circles, parallel at the base, intersecting at the top, the center point stronger as a result of their union.
“It’s called Le Cercle,” the saleswoman explained.
The circle. How completely appropriate. The wedding ring is a circle because of what it stands for—no beginning, no end, that which returns to itself, the hole in its center a gateway to the unknown. All that represents a marriage. And all that represents a new solitary life.
“You seem to have found what you want,” the saleswoman noted.
I had, but I wasn’t ready to buy just yet. However I made a pact with myself: I would survive this storm, and when I got to the other side, I would buy that ring.
By the time my final divorce papers arrived—one year after my Tiffany foray—I knew it was time to lay the old ring to rest. I tucked it safely into my jewelry box and stared at my bare fingers. My wedding band had symbolized commitment to another; now it was time for a commitment to myself.
The next day, I journeyed to the flagship Tiffany on Fifth Avenue and asked for the Le Cercle. The vivacious young saleswoman slipped it from its signature turquoise suede pouch and placed it in my palm. It felt strong and solid, despite its polished, delicate appearance.
I slid it onto my right ring finger. “Perfect. I’ll take it.”
“Well, that was the easiest sale I’ve made all day!” the woman laughed. “You certainly know what you want.”
“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I do.”