A couple summers ago, just prior to a trip to San Diego to visit family, my wedding ring began waging war against my finger. It started with itchiness and escalated to a rash of tiny blisters everywhere the ring touched--including the surrounding fingers. At the time I was up to my elbows in chemistry and biology labs and assumed it had come in contact with a chemical or the finish had worn off with repeated hand washings. On a friend's suggestion, I took it to a reputable jeweler in SoCal and had it re-plated. My finger took weeks to heal completely but it was smooth sailing after that.
Then it happened again this February while we were in Brazil. Only worse. It looked like my ring had left a chemical burn on my skin. It took a solid month of salves and going ring-less for it to heal.
I did a little research and found that "wedding ring dermatitis" isn't all that uncommon. The nickel ions used to make the white gold finish have surfaced with time and I'm allergic. And each subsequent exposure will worsen the symptoms. So what's a married girl to do?
I don't wear my wedding ring every day. I attend CrossFit 4-5 days a week, and weight lifting in a wedding ring is asking for trouble. So it stays at home. But on date nights, non-CrossFit days and during vacations it adorns my left hand. One day here and there won't make my finger fall off, but what about those times that I want to wear it for prolonged periods? Do I suffer through the allergic symptoms? Stop wearing it altogether? Buy a new one?
Once I came to the realization that my relationship with my wedding ring was going to be forever altered, I sought out to find a replacement. I'm not nearly as attached to my wedding ring as I am my engagement ring. (My current ring is a white gold band with a row of square diamonds across the top half.) It's lovely and a symbol of our love, yes, but even a simple band would suffice as its replacement. There's no ego here about diamonds or certain metals. Or so I thought.
As I perused Etsy, I found myself gravitating toward certain styles of rings, and not one of them resembled the one I have. And my quest for nickel-free metals led me toward platinum and rhodium. (At least that was the rationale, though now I think it goes a bit deeper than that.) I pride myself in being non-materialistic. I always say the "stuff" in our lives means little at the end of the day, but perhaps that is not as true as I'd like it to be. Some self exploration was in order.
When I picked out that wedding band almost 8 years ago, I was a different girl. I was in my mid-twenties, and although I was 100% sure about the guy I was about to marry, I was completely lost in every other way. I had no idea what I wanted out of life. We had a tight budget, as our income was limited and we were paying for our own wedding, and I picked the ring I did because I liked it and it was practical. I'm different now. Our marriage is different (in only the best ways). We are more secure economically and emotionally. My thoughts on life, love and the world around me are vastly different. In some ways I feel like I've outgrown my old ring. In my quest to find a replacement, I was really looking to find a ring that represents the wife and woman I am now.
Perhaps my body's rejection of my ring was also an emotional rejection of sorts. Not of the marriage itself, but rather a subconscious desire to shed the old and carry a new, more representative symbol of my love for Mario. And myself. In just weeks we are starting over. Our future is wide open. Sometimes dreams and desires manifest themselves in unexpected ways, and my ring crisis was no exception.
While all this was going on, something serendipitous happened: a jewelry company, Anjolee, contacted me about doing a collaboration. Because I've shied away from making this blog into a business, which would forever alter the atmosphere, I typically turn these things down. But this was different. A post about my wedding ring woes had been ruminating in my brain for a while and a jewelry store contacted me. So after mulling it over for a couple weeks, I agreed. It's funny how things work out sometimes, isn't it?
First and foremost, I was smitten with their whole approach to choosing a ring. I perused their diamond anniversary rings, which is the style I'm attracted to, and found The One. They allow you to customize the ring based on metal type and the size and clarity of the diamonds. One of the setbacks I faced while ring shopping was price. We are about to embark on a major cross country relocation and I couldn't bring myself to drop thousands on a ring at this juncture. It just didn't feel right and was far from practical. Anjolee gives you options for every budget.
I received the ring late last week and have spent the last few days getting to know it. It's stunning, sparkly, and everything I didn't know I wanted when I first set out. I have short, chubby fingers that can make ring buying difficult, yet it fits perfectly.
I needed a new ring for my everyday life. This is it (and more). And you know what? Metal type and diamond size became totally irrelevant somewhere along this process. It's about what this ring represents in my life: Change. New beginnings. A great marriage.
Anjolee provided me with a ring in exchange for a review of their product. Every single word in this post and the opinions contained within are 100% my own. I genuinely love the ring.