In my 20’s, the way I got out of marriage talk was to say that discussions began with a five carat ruby. Not that I was a gold-digger; most of the time I earned more than my paramours, even with an academic salary, and I was generous with what I had. Instead, the impossibility of such a lovely tchotchke making a home on my finger – due to both their rarity and cost – was an airtight barrier.
Now a few weeks shy of 41, I take a detour into a jeweler’s shop while my husband brings my son to play on some bear sculptures in a shopping center. Wandering through the store, I came upon case after case of completely unnecessary and indulgent possibilities to mark another year. I still like rubies, and have a ruby and diamond band from friends to mark last year’s birthday and my July son.
And then I saw it. I haven’t priced such things in many years, and so I asked timidly if it was over 10,000. (Of course.) It was a favorite piece of the women who worked in the jeweler’s shop – the stone was polished and smooth, a cabochon. We checked the weight – 5.62 carats. It was set with strings of small diamonds, thin highway on and offramps around a smooth ruby hill. While the setting was not my style, it fit.
I guess it’s time to have that discussion.