Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pretty Things Thursday: My Engagement Ring

Tuesday marked three years since I received my very awesome engagement ring from my very awesome (now) husband. I made the image super big so you could see the details.

This image is borrowed from our amazing photographer, Misty Dawn Pfeil.

You will notice that it's not a diamond.  I'm concerned with the whole blood diamond mining thing, but I also didn't want a diamond because I've never really been too fond of how they look.  The stone on my ring is called tektite, which is actually a glass that is formed when a meteor hits the earth.  The metal is made from recycled platinum pieces of electronics and old jewelry, so my ring is pretty eco-friendly!  I first heard about tektites in my Marine Biology class in college.  I really liked the look of it, and my professor commented how neat it would be to have an engagement ring with tektite.  She was already married, with a diamond engagement ring, so it was too late for her.  But not for me!  I told Nick about it and thankfully he remembered it 4 years later.

As luck would have it, we saw some tektite on display in the National Museum of Natural History this past weekend.  From their display:  “Some large impacts squirt molten droplets of target rock into the atmosphere—and sometimes even above it.  These droplets may land thousands of kilometers from the impact site, sprinkling vast areas of the Earth, known as strewn fields, with chunks of glass called tektites.”  Below is a diagram from the museum that might help explain matters a little better.

Pretty cool, huh?  So essentially the glass in my ring came from outer space!

There is a huge amount of tektite in Moravia, Czech Republic, which is where the tektite in my ring, more specifically called a moldavite tektite, came from.  This glass was formed 14 million years ago!  If you look really closely you can see air bubbles that were caught when the glass was forming.  That is some pretty old air trapped in there.  And look, here are some uncut tektites at the museum from the very same area! (Please excuse the photos taken through glass!)

Below is what a slab of tektite looks like when you cut into the rock.  Tektites are either green or black or somewhere in between.

How I got my ring is a pretty fun story!  Nick used to freelance for one of the local weeklies in town, and one week he told me that they were doing a feature on which steakhouse was best in town.  He was assigned Barclay Prime, all expenses paid.  Awesome, a free delicious steak!  Did it occur to me that it was a little weird that they were asking him to do a food story when he had never done one before?  Nope!  I was only concerned with free and delicious steak.

We had a very early 5:00pm reservation.  I found this weird, but Nick explained it by saying that we were going so early to get the chef at their prime: right at the start of their shift.  Looking back, this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but at the time I wasn’t suspicious so I trusted this theory.  We parked a couple of blocks away and Nick was practically running to the restaurant.  I had to hold him back at a slower pace—after all, I was in heels.

We got to the restaurant and the two hostesses were super nice.  One complimented me on my dress and the other told me I smelled nice.  What wonderful service!  We were sat in a table right next to a beautiful bookcase.  And then we proceeded to feast.  Remember that I was under the assumption that the paper would be paying for all of this!  I got a filet, of course, and we ordered sides of tater tots, truffle whipped potatoes, asparagus, and truffle mac and cheese.  We were even given a selection of steak knives to choose from, each constructed in a different country and embodying different qualities in a knife.  I can’t remember which one I chose, but it was the nicest knife that I’ve ever cut a steak with.  We also ordered a slice of peanut butter pie and smores for dessert.

After we were finished eating, the manager came over to our table and asked how everything was and then told us that their decorator wasn’t a fan of the color scheme of the books on their bookshelves, and that since they’d be needing to get all new books, we were welcome to pick out two and take them with us.  What’s better than free steak?  Free books!  I had been eyeing up a book about Amelia Earhart since we sat down, so I quickly snatched that one off the shelves and Nick picked this hulking book with the bland title, “The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics.”  I asked him why on earth he would want that since it’s probably just a listing and brief description/excerpt from the books and not the entire texts, but he just said he thought it looked interesting.  His loss, I thought!  Doesn't it look insanely dull?

After paying the bill, which was quite high for us since I had just finished grad school and Nick was still a newspaper reporter, we walked across the street for a sit in Rittenhouse Park.  There was a polka band playing and since it was still late Spring/early Summer, it was the perfect temperature, making it a nice evening to just sit and people watch.  We sat for a minute and then Nick suggested that we check out our books, so I happily opened mine and started checking it out, when he pushed his into my view and told me to check his out.  I obliged even though I had very little interest in his boring book, but when I opened the book, I saw this!

Then Nick proposed and clearly I said yes.  Since it was still early we were able to make it to both of our parent’s houses to show off the ring and good news.  It was an excellent day, even though I quickly realized that we had to pay for our feast of a meal.

So I’m sure you’re wondering how Nick pulled this off without a hitch.  It all started when I was close to finishing up grad school (my rule was that we weren’t going to get engaged until I was finished because at that point we would be able to afford to move out of our parent’s houses) when Nick ordered some tektite online and then took it on a short trip down to Jeweler’s Row.  He found a design that he liked at one of the jeweler’s, but everyone told him sorry, we will not set non-precious stones (because of the potential for breakage).  Frustrated, Nick took to the internet and found Leber Jeweler in Chicago, who was willing to set the tektite.  With the design in mind (pretty much the Amelia but with flat edges), after corresponding with their very kind staff, Nick mailed the tektite to them, they made the ring, set in the tektite, and then they mailed it back.

Then Nick came up with the plan on how to give me my ring.  He had to drop my ring off at the restaurant, along with the book that he hallowed out and the Amelia Earhart book, two days before our reservation.  They locked it in their safe (apparently this is a common occurrence there), but Nick was still a little worried about leaving it there after all of his hard work to create it.  Shortly before our reservation time, the manager took the book with my ring in it out of their safe and then placed them strategically on the bookshelf next to the table that we’d be sitting at.  It was a total leap of faith that I would a) not pick the book with my ring in it, and b) choose the Amelia Earhart book that he planted for me when the manager said we could choose books to keep.  I had mentioned Amelia Earhart a couple weeks before so he knew that, with that still fresh in my mind, I would go right for it.  And I totally played into his plan.  The manager came up with the story about the color scheme not working, which was completely believable to me.

Nick also included a nice little booklet that explained the story of my ring.  Here's the hilarious front.

And the inside, which tells the story.  Doesn't Nick tell it so well?

Many things could have gone wrong that would have completely foiled Nick’s plan, but all went smoothly.  I had no suspicion at all what he was up to, and am pretty impressed that he was able to pull it off.  Nick designed my ring all without any input from me because he wanted it to be a surprise.  Didn't he choose well?  I get so excited every morning when I get to put it on for the day.  I hope you feel the same way about your special jewelry!

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to find a Moldavite stone for an engagement ring...where did your husband purchase your stone?
    Thank you for your help.


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