"If I can't pick out a ring she likes, then I shouldn't be marrying her," said no guy ever... Except me.
I tend to be a bit of a risk taker... I guess that isn't the best way to start the story about proposing to my wife. I'm not talking about the bride I chose. Brittany was the safest bet I ever placed. I'm talking about her engagement ring, because I decided I wasn't going to ask her what she wanted it to look like because I wanted the proposal to be a complete surprise. Her best friend even asked me several times if I wanted her opinion, and every time I played dumb like I hadn't even thought about it. But in reality I already had piles of research and a notebook of ideas of what I thought she would like in a ring. (Sorry Tay-Tay, but you can't keep a secret to save your life.)
The evolving process took me several months, but there was one thing about this ring that I knew would not change: I wanted this ring to point to God more than it pointed to me. I wanted it to show my love for Brittany, but to pale in comparison to His love for her. I wanted it to stand for my commitment to her, which was only made possible by the sacrifice He made for us.
When it comes to jewelry, something I knew Brittany liked was white gold. BUT, my wife happens to have the most expensive skin allergy on the planet when it comes to jewelry... nickel. Guess what mineral in white gold gives it the white color? Yep, nickel. Awesome. I guess platinum it is... Which actually worked out because it's considered a modern metal with a classic look so that fit perfect with my vision for a "modernized vintage ring." She loves old things, so I knew she would want lots of vintage detailing. Around the edge I designed it to have vintage milgrain paired with a timeless round cut center diamond, plenty of sparkly accent diamonds, and a cathedral(esque) silhouette with intricate shoulder engraving. However, in an effort to put a modern twist on a classic look I decided to carry the shoulder height all the way around to give the shank a balanced aesthetic, but to also allow me to have the room to tell the story I wanted to tell. (The story is always the most important part in my opinion.)
Every time Brittany looked down I wanted her to be reminded of something important: God gave his Son's life so that we could have life. I started with three crosses on the shank that escalate into one vine that wraps around His bride's finger, representing the new life given from His sacrifice on the Cross. I included three crosses to serve as a reminder that Brittany and I are also called to to take up our crosses daily, and that is the only way our marriage will look the way God intended it to look. This task is more important in marriage than any other relationship because we are two selfish, sinful, flawed humans joined together for life, so we are inevitably going to hurt each other time and time again. BUT when Jesus took up His cross He chose to love unconditionally, serve unconditionally, and sacrifice unconditionally, which is exactly how He calls us to love one another every single day as His disciples.
When it came to the diamond, it got a little trickier. Brittany also told me she is allergic to diamonds less than 2 carats... Kidding, she didn't say that. She would have been content with a shaving of a diamond if it meant we were to be married. I knew this, but I felt like the diamond had to be perfect. Not for bragging rights or anything like that, but because it too had a key place in the story. For months, I looked at diamond after diamond in search of the perfect rock. And then the second I saw it, I knew it was the one. This nearly flawless Movado cut diamond sparkled unlike any other diamond I had seen because it had twice the number of facets, which made it much more brilliant than the traditional round cut diamond. It was absolutely perfect, so I anchored that bad boy in between 16 accent diamonds- making it the first of 9 in either direction. "But the fruit of the Spirit is (1) love, (2) joy, (3) peace, (4) patience, (5) kindness, (6) goodness, (7) faithfulness, (8) gentleness, (9) self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)... You see the reason the diamond had to be perfect was because in this story it represents His flawless love. A perfect, sparkly, brilliant, never-fading love that now shines through us as His children.
Finally, when it came to designing the wedding band, she had complete creative control. Showing her impeccable taste she decided to pair the ring with a simple and elegant rose gold band lined with more sparkly diamonds. However, I had one last detail to add. When she opened her Christmas gift two days before our wedding, she discovered I had two of her wedding band created to put on either side of the engagement ring. When she looked at the hallmark she saw one band was engraved with the day we met, and the other with the day we both said "I do."
I may have rolled the dice a bit in not consulting with Brittany in this process, but the reality is I wasn't gambling at all. Because I knew that above any design, aesthetic, style, or detail I chose, she would care more about the love I poured into it... Lucky for me she just happened to love all those other things too.