Although Steve and I got engaged in Bali during Steve’s 40th birthday extravaganza, we decided to wait until we got to Paris to appropriately clad my ring finger. I have always dreamed of a vintage engagement ring–something art deco perhaps–that may have graced the fingers of Zelda Fitzgerald or other dazzling figures from the Jazz Age. Hey, you never know!
Our first stop was Dary’s, an elegant Bijouterie specializing in antique and estate jewelry that is snuggled between the likes of Tiffany’s and Cartier on the Rue Saint Honoré. The shop’s prestigious address did not bode well for our budget however, and I tried not to fall in love as I slipped on gorgeous baubles that all topped 5,000 euros. Dainty diamond flowers and cushion cut sapphires danced before my eyes, but a ring from Dary’s was not in the cards for me and my dwindling bank account.
Next stop, a small jewelry boutique on the Île de la Cité that Steve and I stumbled into on my birthday. A white gold band topped with a sparkling round pavé setting drew me in. It was under budget and I seriously deliberated making the purchase right there and then. But something stopped me. Although it was a vintage style, it wasn’t actually vintage. And even though I really liked the design, I knew down the road I would regret not following my dream of an antique ring.
I became obsessed with Google-ing antique shops and markets in Paris, and we traipsed around the various arrondissements looking for “the one.” Something was always wrong: too expensive, too garish, too costume-y, too cheap. I was beginning to lose hope until one day, we walked out of the Saint-Germain-de-Prés subway station and happened upon Arts et Bijoux, its windows clad with a rainbow of scintillating vintage necklaces, brooches, bracelets, and yes…rings. I hesitantly walked to the window because I was afraid to fall in love with something that was hopelessly over budget–and these rings were so lovely that I expected the rings to run into the thousands.
I immediately spotted the ring of my dreams. It looked diamond, it looked platinum, it was an unusual design, and it looked decidedly antique.
We rang the bell, and walked into the shop. After pointing out the ring in the window, and placing it on my finger, I knew it was “the one.” The shopkeeper explained to me in charmingly accented English that the ring was indeed diamond, platinum and white gold, and–gasp!–that it was from the 1920s. Fingers mentally crossed, I asked the price. Miraculously, it was 70 euros under my intended budget! I glowed with happiness and excitement, knowing this lovely bit of history would soon be gracing my finger for all time. The avuncular jeweler at this chic little shop sized it for me in half an hour, and from that moment, I was officially significantly other-ed.
This post is dedicated to my amazing, wonderful and handsome fiancée. I love you, Steven Moore!