The following is a tale of three rings: one lost, one found and one I never had.
The wedding ring
I’ve been thinking about wedding rings recently as I don’t have one. I did, but then I lost it.
Well, I know where it is: somewhere underneath the floorboards in an old house we used to live in on the Isle of Man.
I was putting it on the side for safety one night, it dropped out of my hand and with a ‘goodbye-ching’, promptly disappeared down a crack between the wall and the floorboards, falling into the dark abyss of the inner workings of the house, never to see daylight again. Sod’s law.
There was nothing I could do. It had gone. So I said “adeus” and left it there.
The tradition of rings stems from Ancient Rome where women would often be given a ring made of ivory, flint, bone, copper or iron to symbolise a man’s ownership of them and as a sign of obedience. Wearing rings was less about love and more about ownership. I hyperventilate just writing those words!!
My ring was made by a fairly new friend at the time who used to own a shop in Spain that had a bit of a dark history. You could feel it sometimes when you went upstairs; it was a place where someone had been violently murdered many years ago.
I don’t know why but there was always a bit of a strange feeling when I wore it - like it felt heavier than it should be. No, I’m not being paranoid but yes, my imagination went into overdrive having grown up with JRR Tolkien, Hobbits, and ‘The Shire’.
Some part of me felt like the ring had deliberately left me that fateful night, perhaps sensing that I knew something was afoot; that I was onto it. Who knows? I certainly don’t and now it’s not important.
The engagement ring
Having zero interest in bling, I don’t have an engagement ring either.
I’ve tried ‘engagement’ before and started to think that there was a synergy with Julia Roberts’ character in the film ‘Runaway Bride’, except I’ve always known how I like my eggs cooked. It wasn’t about leaving anyone at the altar, but life and circumstances conspired to thoroughly put me off the idea and concept of marriage for good, or so I thought.
My husband, Simon Campbell and I watched this very film a few days before our impending nuptials, which in hindsight, wasn’t the best of ideas thinking maybe I was trying to tell him something?! Oops!!
Needless to say, I did turn up and love being married. Ten years together, nine years wed and I knew then as I know now - we are meant to be, but did keep my surname.
When we turned up at The George Hotel in Inveraray (the seat of Clan Campbell) on the historic shores of Loch Fyne in wondrous Scotland, there was a lady sitting at reception who was the spitting image of Dawn French. I kid you not!
When we were chatting about our wedding plans she told me that all the staff had been wondering if I was going to change my surname. I told her I was keeping ‘Starlite’ to which she squealed with laughter and mini-clapped her hands!
‘Dawn’ loved the romance, loved us, and loved my name.
Diamonds are forever
So back to the ring thing and a fascinating history of the engagement variety.
In the late 19th century, diamond mines were discovered in South Africa. To protect their investments and keep prices high, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd created the ‘diamond invention’ - the idea that diamonds are rare, valuable, and essential signs of esteem.
In 1946 N.W. Ayers - an advertising agency based in New York - launched a weekly service called ‘Hollywood Personalities,’ which provided 125 leading newspapers with descriptions of the diamonds worn by movie stars.
“We spread the word of diamonds worn by stars of screen and stage, by wives and daughters of political leaders, by any woman who can make the grocer’s wife and the mechanic’s sweetheart say ‘I wish I had what she has.’”
This was followed up in the late 1940s with De Beers’ ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ campaign, specifically to discourage reselling and fluctuations in value and nothing to do with James Bond.
Good job then that I’m not into big, expensive bling and the sparkling allure of billions of years old carbon as an obligatory symbol of social status and love.
The ring I found
I don’t wear much jewellery but wanted to buy a ring to wear on my right hand.
After months of on-and-off contemplation, I finally found the perfect one for me. It’s made of fine silver, painting a simple line in the shape of a circle through which you can see my finger.
There is no need for a diamond at the centre because I thought that perhaps the precious part of the ring could be me.