Just in case some of you aren't taking this wedding business seriously, here's a news flash: We've already got our rings!
When Betsy arrived here in Montana last week (see next card) one of the first things we did was go window shopping for wedding rings. In fact I had already blazed the trail a week earlier when I was ambushed by an overzealous saleswoman who saw that lost deer look in my eyes as I lingered outside a jewelry store window. The saleswoman literally jumped me and dragged me into the store. So began my education.
A bewildering array of choices faces the prospective ring buyer. There are different metals, different kinds of gold even, big diamonds, little diamonds, mountings, points, cuts, clarity, and carots. There are wedding sets and solitaires, matching bands with milled edges, rounded or flat. And there's always a big sale that's just about to expire.
Fortunately, Betsy did have SOME idea what she wanted. She wanted something simple and old-fashioned in rose gold (also known as pink gold or red gold). All gold used in rings is actually an alloy of gold with copper and silver (or nickel in the case of white gold). The amount of gold remains constant, but increase the ratio of copper to silver and you have rose gold. Increase the silver and you have green gold. Rose gold was popular back in our grandmother's day, but is relatively scarce today.
So out we went in search of the illusive rose gold. At last we found a reliable goldsmith who could obtain rose gold and we considered having rings made from scratch. By this time we had looked at hundreds of rings without seeing anything we liked and I was tired and hungry. But Betsy said "Just one more store."
And that's where we found them! Betsy saw the engagement and wedding band set at the same moment I did, and her eyes lit up at the same moment mine did. Both rings were in rose gold with the surface blooming in a chain of roses. Between each rose was a cluster of leaves in green gold. The engagement ring had a small diamond in the center. Simple and beautiful.
That very morning Betsy's parents had sent her great-grandmother's engagement ring and we arranged to replace the small diamond with this much nicer heirloom. Thus Betsy's rings had rose gold, were from Montana (which she wanted), and also included a link back to her own family. And we got an exceptionally good price! In fact Betsy was almost happier with the deal than she was with the rings! Best of all, we both felt certain that these rings were just right.
That left my wedding band. For this we returned to our friendly goldsmith with a unique design. The ring was to be done entirely in rose gold with a pattern of leaves engraved on the front to match the leaves on Betsy's rings. And opposite the leaves I prepared an Elvish inscription using a dusty old alphabet chart that had mysteriously resurfaced from my childhood only the night before: "The Epicurious & Smendrick Mode of Tengwar."
Betsy's engagement ring is now on her finger, and her finger, alas, is in California. It looks incredibly beautiful on the third finger of her left hand. The other two rings are in MY possession, and I am marveling at them now even as I write. My ring turned out so well that the goldsmith took a picture of it and wanted our address so that he could follow the history of the ring. He has decided to start using rose gold more often. With it's Elvish inscription, it is certainly a one-of-a-kind. I can hardly wait to wear it as Betsy's husband!
The inscription? I have included a representation of it. For me it is an incantation, and the answer to a riddle I've been seeking all my life: "John and Betsy."