Posts Tagged ‘engagement’

Naked without my ring

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

For the past couple of days, I was without my ring and it felt like my hands were naked the whole time. I found myself hiding my hand from anyone who might notice that there wasn’t a ring on it (yeah right). It was silly, but I was certainly missing an integral part of my life for the past two years.

Why was my ring missing from my possession? Well, I decided it was time to get a wedding band made to go with it. I went back to the jeweler who made my engagement ring for me and they needed to keep it to do some precise measurements so my band fits properly. The lady who runs the shop knows just what I like and already had some ideas in mind. She knew right away I’d want diamonds on it, so I’m excited to see what she makes. I trust she’ll do an awesome job.

purple sapphire engagement ring on hand

Welcome back, my precious.

My ring has a bit of an odd shape, so not just any ring will work with it. I always knew it would have to be custom made and now I’m ready to get that (along with a proper ring for Panda, who’s been using a cheap placeholder). After the measuring, a CAD drawing was produced and then a wax mold created to show me the general size. Pretty much the same process that went into making my engagement ring. Being involved in the process is so much fun. 🙂

Now my ring is back with me and I look forward to getting a band to go with it. Panda’s going to decide on the look he wants and we’ll get that made as well. What a thrilling little journey this will be!

A year in

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

It’s the 1-year anniversary of our engagement, just so happening to fall on Father’s Day this year! We’ve made plans for the marriage, but not yet the wedding and it’s one big confusing set of circumstances. I’m putting off wedding planning as long as possible, but I probably should start since it’s going to be only a year away soon enough (less than two months from now). A year is a decent amount of time to plan, right? It’s not like we’re going all out crazy; I’d rather have a nice time celebrating and enjoy a more elaborate honeymoon. Actually, it looks like our “honeymoon” will be coming in three (or more) parts. A 7-day thing here, a 10-day thing there… and hey, why not make every vacation going forth part of our never-ending honeymoon?

Was it just a year ago that Panda was getting his Master’s and we got engaged? Hard to believe, with all that’s happened since! I relocated from California to Virginia, decided to rejoin the workforce as an employee rather than an entrepreneur of sorts, got a condo, adopted a cat, and pretty much experienced change in most parts of my life. I feel like we’ve grown up so much in this span of time and I look forward to all the adventures we’ll have together over the years. The next great adventure will be getting our marriage license and legally getting married, which seems so strange to do a year before the wedding ceremony. We’ve grown up associating the two, but they don’t have to be hand in hand. So, as I always seem to do in my life, I fall neither here nor there – the exception to the norm, the couple who’s married but not yet, sort of? How are we going to explain this to people?

Nevermind that, though. We’ll do things our way and enjoy it all along the way! I just learned that my dad is going to be around for the civil ceremony this year, which is super exciting since he’s usually only in the country a few weeks each year. It looks like our entire immediate families will be able to attend – both sets of parents, plus Panda’s brother (maybe even my cousin??). That’s all we need! I don’t want all the fanfare and formality and I hope they don’t expect it. Let’s just do the legal stuff and have a good meal together.

That ring thing – help!

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

custom made engagement ring with purple sapphire center stone in black jewelry boxOk, so I’m still pretty new to this whole engagement thing and I am so curious what people (especially women) typically do with their rings. Do you wear it all the time? Do you always take it off to wash your hands? Do you often forget it at home? I have no idea what is normal for ring-wearing behavior and I could really use some guidance. My parents are from a generation of Chinese who did not have rings, so growing up I didn’t have role models for that sort of thing. In fact, I’m not sure if any of my relatives have rings. Well, they might have rings, but not really wear them. However, my generation of cousins are getting married now and I think some of them have rings. Still, I don’t think it’s as common or as big a deal as it is in the US.

I’m always concerned about getting the ring wet so I make sure to take it off to wash up. I’m also very careful about where I put my hand since I don’t want to scratch it up or anything. I see older women who seem to have had their rings on for so many years now that they basically forget about it. Do they also meticulously take them off each time they wash their hands? It seems like such a hassle.

What about at home behavior? Do you just keep the ring(s) on all day, every day the way I do with my stud earrings? Or is there a special place you keep your rings at home? How do you make sure to remember to wear them? Or do you just leave them and forget to put them on frequently? Just yesterday I was running late and headed out completely forgetting my ring. I figured it didn’t matter since I was getting a massage and would have to remove it anyway, but I felt a little bare. Should I just keep it on at home too?

Oh and speaking of ring etiquette/habits, do you wear yours on the left or right hand? I’ve seen both and I know different cultures have different habits, but in the US I kind of expect them to be worn on the left hand. Yet I’ve noticed a ton of people wearing rings and bands on their right ring finger… are those just decorative or is there some other meaning to that? Or is it just due to personal/cultural differences perhaps?

And finally, why am I even so concerned about this? I’m sure everybody has their own way of doing it and really it’s a symbol that I don’t need to show to the world all the time. Just because I don’t have a ring doesn’t mean I’m not committed and just because I have a ring doesn’t I’m bound. When it comes down to it, it’s what’s in my heart and mind that matter and I don’t need other people to know what my relationship status is. But, since we live in a society where we do use symbols like these and I do have a ring, I’m super curious about what other women typically do.

So tell me, what ring habits do you have?

The making of a ring

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

How I designed and created my engagement ring

collage of steps to make engagement ring including selecting center stone, drawing up cad model, trying on the bare ring, and the finished product with gems and polished bandNow that I am officially engaged, I can finally talk about my ring! You see, I knew about it all along because I was the one who got to help create it. Panda and I had discussed getting engaged sometime after he completed grad school – little did I know it would be the very day of his commencement! At the end of 2012, I had started to get interested in rings and decided to start looking to see what I might like. When I found certain things that appealed to me, I’d share them with Panda and he sort of got into it too, also sharing what he found. While he was on the east coast and I was on the west coast, we found ourselves browsing jewelry stores separately and sending each other photos or links.

collage of engagement ring designs from various jewelersWhen he was able to visit for the holidays, we went into a local jeweler’s (Manya Jewelers) together and before I knew it, we were agreeing to design a ring with her. I had not expected to get started so soon, but hey, I pretty much knew what elements I wanted, so why not? We pointed out some designs I liked and what I wanted to be incorporated: a purple center stone, a curved band, a small diamond on the bottom of the ring, a cool side profile (inspired by Vera Wang designs like this side profile), and a marquise shape if possible. We showed Manya a few of the rings that had those traits so she could visualize what I wanted and she got to work!

Selecting the center stone

four purple sapphire gems resting on finger creases of hand for comparisonThe first order of business was choosing the center stone, which would determine a lot of other details for the ring. I had assumed the only purple gemstone is amethyst, so that’s what I figured we’d get, but then I discovered purple sapphires. I’ve always liked sapphires, but blue is so popular and overdone, plus purple is my favorite color; this combination of the two was just perfect for me. Purple sapphires actually come in a huge range of shades, so Manya got four for me to choose from. She had me put them in between my fingers as shown so I could get a feel for how they’d look against my skin tone. They also came in slightly different cuts, but all square to roundish. Can you guess which one I chose?

Drawing up a CAD model

Once my center stone was chosen, Manya knew the dimensions she could use to build the ring around it. This was all done in CAD with precision. She had measured my ring finger size on a previous visit, so she had all the sizing numbers she needed. I got that fun, funky digital model soon after to show me what it would look like. I could ask for any revisions based on that, but I didn’t need any. The posts in the design are high and extend beyond the actual height of the gems because they are later filed down (see top right of the first image for the CAD drawing). Manya warned me of this ahead of time so I wouldn’t get confused when I saw the drawing!

Making a 3D wax model

I don’t have a picture of this phase, but a wax model of the ring was made to ensure it was the appropriate size and to give us a feel for how the ring would look in real life. It looked like a plastic model, but apparently the wax is pretty delicate so you can’t really handle it. It’s meant to help you visualize the actual ring before they melded it so you can request any extra changes before they get too far into the process.

Molding the ring

bare ring setting with no gems and no polishingOnce the design was approved, the ring band/setting was made. It came very bare and simple as pictured. This was then tried on to ensure it would fit well and that the sizing against my finger looked good. Since it needed to be polished and filed down slightly, it was actually a bit tight and I wasn’t sure I could get it on or off! Luckily, Manya’s a pro with this kind of stuff and had a bottle of Windex ready. She sprayed my finger to make it more slippery and we were able to carefully get the ring on and off without trouble. It was fascinating to see the ring before it was all polished and the stones were set. I kind of liked the raw look of it.

Setting the stones and polishing the ring: final product

engagement ring with purple sapphire

My wonderful engagement ring, complete with purple sapphire center stone, curved band, marquise shape, and…

Every step of the way, things were confirmed, so all that was left after this was to set the gems and polish up the ring! Within a month, we were able to go through the entire process and have the final product in our hands. That’s pretty awesome! It came in an elegant black box, all shiny and wonderful. When I went to pick it up, we did the final step of adding a small diamond to the bottom of the band, as I requested. Of the 5 design elements I wanted, there was only one that we didn’t get around to. I’m pretty happy with that! I love how creative Manya was in making the curve of my band look somewhat like a marquise cut since we couldn’t actually incorporate that shape gem into the ring. All in all, I’m very satisfied and I’ll make sure to get a cool side profile the next time I design a ring. 😉 I love how different it is from every other ring I’ve seen. It’s still obviously an engagement ring, but there are details that are unique to me and my ring.

bottom of ring band with diamond inset

…small diamond on bottom of ring. 😀

What kind of proposee are you?

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

When you imagine “the perfect proposal” what do you see?

Or, what do/did you hope will/would happen?

I’ve read a bunch of bloggers’ proposal stories and very few of them appeal to me. I’m not into crazy fanfare or an audience, so any of them done in public are pretty much out. I also don’t want to be tired or sweating, so those that involve a lovely nature hike or otherwise active day are also disqualified. Sooo… actually, come to think of it I can vaguely remember only one lady saying it was at home before going out to dinner, but she glossed right over it like it was just “meh” and the dinner was more exciting. I guess none of the stories I’ve heard speak to me an my own preferences.

proposal at uclaYou see, I like to be in control. Surprises are nice, yes, but if you were to take me to Disneyland and pop out a ring, I’d be kinda sad. First, why did you drag me to Disney in the first place? I’m not really a fan of the place. Second, it’s so cliche. Third, there are all these strangers watching us kiss. Wait, no, let me correct myself – we will have an awkward “kiss miss” or a lightning fast one because I don’t want people staring. Now let’s say you decide on a nature trail hike instead. That would be quiet and private, which is good, but we’d probably be in workout gear and maybe even sweating/panting a little bit. Not exactly a moment I want to memorialize with a proposal. Ok, so maybe a quiet, dark booth in the recess of some restaurant? I dunno, while I love eating, I just don’t imagine a restaurant to be the best place.

My ideal proposal would probably be at UCLA when it’s basically deserted. It’s where we met and it’s our alma mater that we hold close to our hearts. Plus, it is a gorgeous campus – have you seen it? So for the location, the sentiment, the memories, and the beauty, it would be great. Funny, because I started drafting this post just two weeks before my proposal and it turned out almost exactly as I would have imagined. Short, sweet, simple, and while it was during a busy season on campus, everyone was so absorbed in their own picture-taking that I doubt they noticed us. I’m also very glad that his parents were there to help take some photos. 🙂 I think the only thing that could have been better was if my parents were able to be there too. Alas, they had last-minute business and couldn’t be there, but that couldn’t be helped. So basically, it was perfect.

What elements would you incorporate in your perfect proposal?

365great Day 93: my ring

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 93: engagement ring🙂 Today is GREAT day. Yup, that there is my engagement ring, which Panda presented to me today soon after his Master’s degree graduation ceremony. I was not expecting it at all, though I had thought it was possible awhile back. I was just enjoying the campus of our alma mater on a gorgeous day when it happened. It was pretty much just as I liked – no big fanfare, just a simple gesture that was documented in pictures. And of course the location was perfect too, since UCLA is where we both attended undergrad and met. His parents were there, beaming and snapping photos for us and while there were tons of people around, everyone was far too busy taking their graduation pictures to notice. Thank goodness! I certainly didn’t want strangers staring. The ring itself contains many elements I selected myself, since I helped create it. The centerpiece is a purple sapphire, in case you’re wondering. More on all this later! Tonight I just wanted to share one of the great things in my life.

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