Friday, May 9, 2014
Yesterday when I came across this New York Times article on heirloom wedding rings, I felt my stomach pulse a bit. My own wedding band is a ring that my grandmother gave to me less than a year before she passed away. It's one of my most treasured belongings.
The ring wasn't actually my grandmother's originally. It was given to her mother, my great-grandmother, by my great-grandfather on their 25th wedding anniversary. When they first married, he didn't have money to buy her a ring with a diamond so he wanted to get her a fancier one after all those years. Eventually, she gave it to my grandmother, one of her four daughters.
I'll admit that I was hesitant to take the ring at first. My grandmother wore this ring every day--as she grew older and her fingers more frail, she even added several layers of tape to the bottom of it so that it fit tighter and she wouldn't worry about losing it. Taking it from her made me feel like I was stealing her favorite possession. But after several back-and-forths, I agreed and she looked so relieved that I instantaneously felt guilty for not taking it as soon as she offered.
This article definitely focuses more on the money saved when using a family heirloom or vintage ring, but that really wasn't a factor for us. This ring had been loved by people that I loved and who had long, happy marriages; that's a pretty solid foundation if you ask me.
And now for my favorite part of the ring: it's engraved inside with my great-grandparents' initials and the date that the ring was gifted. It's so tiny that you can barely see it on the rounded surface, and it's nearly impossible to make out the actual words. My grandmother had worn the ring for years and never noticed the message. When Anthony and I took the ring to be sized, the goldsmith casually asked, "Do you want to keep the engraving?" We said yes, obviously.
A few of my friends have been judgey about my wedding band choice. They think I should have bought a bigger ring, a fancier ring, or a ring without any history (also referred to as the hideously-named 'virgin rings'). I've never regretted my decision though. Family and marriage are continuums. I'm reminded of that every time I look down at my hand.
Photo credit: New York Times