A Groom's View - Bride To Be

29 Oct 2011

Groom-to-be Marc Glassman shares his thoughts on the guy’s journey down the aisle. Here he brushes up on his four Cs as he prepares to ask girlfriend Chrystal if she’ll marry him.

Ever since I planned to propose to my girlfriend, I’ve discovered a wedding involves many decisions. In fact, the first decision starts even before the proposal – buying the ring. Now, I’ve never been fantastic at making decisions. In fact, I need hours of careful planning just to decide on a filling for my sandwich at lunchtime, so having to make the most important (and expensive) purchase of my life was daunting.

Where to start? In the window of my local jewellers is a sign claiming ‘Engagement ring specialists’, and as I was anything but an engagement ring specialist myself, I sounded them out.

Weeks before, my girlfriend and I were on a bus and a woman across the aisle was wearing a ring with an oval diamond and a half-bezel setting. ‘Look, look how beautiful her ring is,’ Chrystal said excitedly. The idea of proposing was still in its fledgling stages at this point, but a clue like this was too good to pass up. So, pretending not to have heard, I peered over from under the cover of my sunglasses. With my iPhone at the ready I managed to snap a distant and blurry, but useable, pic as we got up to leave, and it was this that I presented to the jeweller, Michael.

I thought I’d done the decision work, so I was astounded to be asked how much I knew about the four Cs. When I just stared at Michael blankly, I’m sure I caught him rubbing his hands together gleefully under the counter.
I’d once read that two month’s salary is a good amount to spend on a ring. I’d been putting a few bucks away here and there, but really, two months’ salary? What with rent, commuting costs, our recent trip to the UK and a passion for fine dining, I was short of the golden figure. However, Michael and I spent half an hour talking through options, and examining a chart of clarity, colour, cut and carats. In the course of our conversation Michael even explained how ‘special’ customers like me were a pleasure to work with, rather than those looking for replacement watch straps and cheap earrings.

By the time I left, I was armed with a sketch of what the ring might look like, and an appointment for the next weekend to look at stones. In one short trip I was halfway there.

Over the next week I took note of every engagement ring we happened across, whether in shop windows or on the finger of recently engaged friends, and I judged Chrystal’s reaction. We’d run into an old work colleague who had a HUGE diamond, but even my untrained eye could see it was a murky yellow. And, by way of contrast, another friend proudly claimed to have a completely colourless, faultless stone, but it wasn’t exactly weighing down her finger.
So, armed with my new research, next Saturday morning I headed back to see my pal Michael, sure that he would be excited to see his ‘special customer’.

I caught his eye and waited for the warm welcome. ‘Yes sir, how can I help you?’ was his unexpected greeting. ‘Hi Michael, I’m back as arranged.’ Nothing. ‘About the engagement ring?’ I’d had a haircut since last weekend but surely I must have looked familiar. After all, I was prepared to thrust thousands of dollars in his direction!
Michael tapped away at his computer, pausing a couple of times to serve customers wanting faux-leather watch straps. ‘Ah yes, you came in this week and I showed you a couple of rings!’ I explained he was mistaken. ‘Oh, but you had a look at a few diamonds’. Again, I corrected him. He went to the back room and came out with a single tiny round diamond to show me. Underwhelmed and unimpressed, I left.

Back to square one, I took the first bus into the city. After traipsing from one unsuitable jeweller to another, I was close to giving up hope when a quick Google on my phone led me to Larsen Jewellery. There was no fancy shop window, just a plain door on the fifth floor of the Strand Arcade. I was greeted by head jeweller Gillian, and as she cleared an area for me to sit down I glanced at the display cabinet and I saw it. A white gold ring with an oval diamond in a half bezel setting. If I didn’t know exactly what I wanted before, I did now.

Instead of just showing me a chart, Gillian produced a series of actual diamonds and an eye glass, so I could see the difference between an inclusion and a slight inclusion, and I could compare an E colour with a G.

She didn’t have any oval diamonds at that time, so I went back the next week and was greeted with a, ‘Hi Marc, I have those diamonds you asked for.’ A refreshing change from my previous experience.

I was shown seven or eight oval diamonds, all within my price range but varying in size, colour and clarity. We looked at each carefully and slowly. Then I looked at them again, and asked questions, and considered, and looked again, until eventually I narrowed it down to the perfect one. It wasn’t the biggest, nor was it the whitest, but the balance was just right.

Four weeks later, the ring was ready. In making the ring, Gillian had obviously given it as much care and attention as she had given me. The diamond looked incredible in the setting and I left hoping it would convince Chrystal to become my wife.

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