Thursday, October 21, 2010

What To Do About My Wedding Band?

You might remember that Mom and Dad Octopus gave me an awesome graduation gift when I got my master's degree: a gift certificate to a jeweler in my hometown who does beautiful work, with the intent that I could put it toward a custom-made wedding band. It was a really thoughtful and special gift, and I was so excited to use it.

After some research, I found myself really drawn to rings with an open, delicate, scrolling design. These are the inspiration pictures I brought to the jeweler:




After two weeks or so, you might also remember that the jeweler got back to me with five sample sketches depicting his ideas for my ring:

Based on the sketches, I thought we were clearly on the same wavelength about how I'd like the ring to look. I asked him to go ahead and create the design of #1, with the tulip-style flowers of #5.

The only other consultation we had about the ring took place about two weeks before the wedding. The jeweler has a reputation for taking quite a while to complete his pieces, so when I was in town and stopped by to check on the ring, I wasn't surprised when he only had the wax mold to show me. It was hard to see much detail in the wax mold, but you could tell there was a scrolling, open pattern, and he reassured me that much of the detail could only be finalized when he was actually working with the metal. I approved the design and went on my merry way.

So Mom Octopus picked up the ring the Tuesday before the wedding, and when I called her to ask how it looked, she said, "it's beautiful. It looks quite a bit thicker than I expected, but it's beautiful."

The next night, my parents arrived in Pittsburgh from my hometown, and Mr. O and I from Boston. My mom showed me the wedding band, and my reaction was........surprise. She was right; the ring is beautiful. But she was also right that it was quite a bit thicker than what I had been expecting. I had expected, and wanted, a ring that had a definite dainty, lacy quality. Here's what the band looks like:



As I said before, it really is a beautiful ring. However, I also think it only marginally resembles the delicate floral patterns of the ring pictures I showed him, and I think the execution is far less intricate than the sketch led me to believe it would be. In my opinion, it just really doesn't look like what I asked for.

The other issue is that the wedding band looks drastically different in style from my engagement ring. I had never thought they would match exactly, because my plan was to switch my engagement ring to my right hand after we got married. I did, however, expect that the two rings would share a general aesthetic. I think my engagement ring has a delicate, feminine vibe, and I thought the dainty, floral, filigree look of the bands I had in mind would complement it nicely. Now, I feel like the wedding band looks awfully clunky compared to my engagement ring. I know I'd have them on two different hands, but I think they're so incongruous in style that I'm not really into that idea anymore.



Now, there's the question of where to go with this. At the time of the wedding, there was nothing we could do--I got the band Wednesday night, the wedding was Saturday afternoon, so that's the band I got married with. Mom Octopus could tell that I felt pretty lukewarm about how it turned out, and asked me what I wanted to do about it. I told her that I'd keep it, wear it for a while, and see if I warmed up to it.

I haven't, really. Whenever I look at it, I think, "it's a pretty ring, but....." Bottom line, it just isn't what I wanted. It's pretty, but I don't love it, and it's not what I wanted.

I don't know how to proceed, though! I haven't been back to my hometown since before the wedding, and the jeweler is not aware that I'm not really satisfied. I don't know how to bring it up to him, or if there even is any recourse here. I've never had a piece of jewelry custom-made before, so I don't know what happens if the customer doesn't love the final product. I approved the sketch and the wax mold, but I didn't see the end result until after it was paid for--how does that work? What do I do?

Oh, and speaking of paid for--the ring was not at all inexpensive. It cost a fair amount less than the Fay Cullen rings I showed him, but it was NOT cheap. Definitely not a price I'm comfortable paying for a "meh" end result, to be sure. Because of the money factor, I definitely feel like I should find a solution that makes me happier.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, Hive. How should I address this to the jeweler? What would you say to him? He's a really nice man, and I don't want to be confrontational, so keep that in mind. If there's no solution to be found there, what would you do? I feel pretty uncomfortable with trying to sell it on eBay or something; after all, I don't love the ring, but it is the ring I married Mr. Octo with!

What do you all think?

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