The lovely young woman was almost in tears as she recounted how she and her mother had bought the same ring when her mother was visiting from the East coast and, as time passed, the rings they wore every day would remind them of each other. Now she had lost her ring and could we possibly get her another one? Following this was her description while I tried to draw the ring from her description. Needless to say, this exercise starts with drawing a circle and then listening further.
“It was sterling silver and had these sort of winding leaves, with a sparkly stone…”
“Clear or colored stone?”
“Clear like a diamond but surrounded by other stones not quite as sparkly but not colored either.”
“Sounds like marcasite.” And she is shown similar marcasite at which she nods hopefully. More sketching ensues until a drawing is shown to the woman.
“Yes, that’s it! Do you think you can order it?”
“We will definitely call and see if it is still available to order.”
Happy ending. The ring came in and it was the right one and the customer was elated and had her sentimental ring replaced… and her mother never knew she lost the first one.
There are so many ring memories… A couple approached the counter a few years ago and began joking about the “engagement-looking” rings. The joking turned to a serious discussion about the meaning of rings and the sometimes heavy implications that go along with the gift of one. Before they left the store he had bought her a promise ring and she had chosen one for him as well. They were officially engaged to become engaged and I felt like an old-fashioned matchmaker for no reason other than I sold the rings and was privy to their entire conversation, which had taken place in front of me at the counter. From joke to no-joke, it was an important event for this couple.
Another couple chose rings one evening and said vows to one another in front of the counter. I stood there with moist eyes (weddings always make me tear up,) and acted as witness to their ceremony. They still come into the bookstore and seem to be happily wed. And then there was the time an older woman was looking at rings with a young man I assumed to be her son. She left to go to the ladies room and he handed me a ring, credit card, and said “Can you gift wrap it before she gets back?” I rushed to get it done before she returned. When I handed him the package I remarked that I hoped his mother appreciates what a thoughtful son she has. He looked daggers at me and replied huffily, “That’s my wife, not my mother!” That cured me of making any assumptions ever again!
You might not expect to see a such a large selection of rings on the counter of a bookstore, but there they are in all their glorious bling-y sparkle. Our history with rings goes back about eleven years and started with a few sterling silver Claddagh rings and grew steadily each year, incorporating men’s spinner rings, or “worry rings” as I like to call them, antique-looking 1920’s-style art deco rings, contemporary hip-glam styles and many unusual animal themed rings. I know women who have worn the same ring on the same finger for decades — and not necessarily a wedding ring, mind you. There’s something about the ring that is different from all other kinds of jewelry… the wearer gets to enjoy the sight of them as often as others do and they are worn on fingers that are always flying around, doing the things of life. It’s a daily reminder, a talisman, something small of beauty, a milestone marker– a ring can be so much more than just a ring. That’s why, in the end, it’s not so unusual to have so many of them in a bookstore.