Sunday, December 19, 2010

What To Do About My Wedding Band: Another Installment

About a month after we got married, I shared with you all that my custom wedding band turned out significantly different than what I had imagined and wanted. I was hoping for a floral filigree band, something dainty and intricate. I got something, well, clunky.

Yeah, not gonna work.

Reading all of your comments on that post was really enlightening to me. I learned a few things from all of your helpful thoughts and suggestions. The main fact that became apparent to me was that the jeweler I had commissioned to design the band was simply a poor fit for what I wanted. My parents gave me a gift certificate to his shop because it truly is filled with beautiful pieces. However, those pieces are very, very different in style from what I was asking for. He designs relatively simple, semi-funky, organic-looking jewelry that often features unusual gemstones. This did not escape my notice; I remember the first time I walked into his store, I thought, "hmm, nothing in these displays looks like what I'm imagining...." But I showed him my pictures, he said "sure," and I was both really excited and really uninformed, so I just went ahead with it. In retrospect, I should have done more research about the custom jewelry process and trusted my gut instinct that this was not the right artist to execute my ideas, and he should have pointed out the fact that intricate, patterned scrollwork is not his specialty. Lesson learned.

Many of you advocated for me to request a refund and go elsewhere, and I knew that's what I really needed to do. Like I said, it was apparent that he was not the right jeweler for my ring, and I knew there wasn't really going to be any fixing it into something that met my expectations.

And then.....I put it off. I put it off, and put it off, and put it off. Honestly, I have never been in this situation before, and I was really nervous about contacting him to say that I flat-out did not like the end product, didn't think he could fix it, and wanted my money back. It wasn't a satisfactory product and I knew it, but that still sounds HARSH, you know? I was also really, really afraid that he would refuse to refund my money, and then I'd be stuck with an expensive ring that I didn't like and did not want to wear.

I put off getting in touch with him until last week--two and a half months after our wedding. (I do not recommend this route. It was dumb of me, and I know it.) Finally, I knew that I HAD to bite the bullet and contact him. I spent, like, an hour composing a carefully-worded e-mail that I hoped was assertive and made my dissatisfaction clear, but was also kind and respectful of the work he put into it. I sent it off, and was sweating bullets.

Then, I heard back: "I'm sorry that the ring did not have the elements you were hoping for. Send it back to me, and get in touch with your credit card information, and I will issue you a full refund." Oh! OH! Okay then! (I do somewhat suspect that he knew that the ring wasn't comparable to what I had showed him, which is why he so readily offered a refund. Or maybe he's just really, really nice, and really concerned with customer satisfaction. Either way, win for me.)

So here's my dilemma now: I need a new wedding band, and I will have the refunded money from my first go-round at my disposal for it.

The wedding bands that have always, always, always made my heart pound are these ones from Fay Cullen:



(Source for all three.)

I get the total "GASP! it's PERFECT! it's EXACTLY what I want!" swoony feeling when I look at those rings. The problem? They are VERY expensive. The first ring (my very favorite) costs $2,080, the second ring costs $1,690, and the third ring costs $1,950. Gulp.

None of those prices are something we could comfortably afford right now, even after applying the refund money from the first band. I also feel that, despite how much I love the rings, that's just a pretty extravagant price to pay for a band. If we were in a place right now where we had a solid amount of disposable income, I wouldn't be so hesitant, but things are tight in the Octo household right now. Mr. Octo and I prioritize a debt-free lifestyle very highly, so if I were to go for one of those rings, it would have to wait for a good long while, until we could pay in full, in cash, without sweating it or freaking out that the money really should be spent on something else. (For reference: in our situation, "a good long while" would likely mean about two years.)

The other option, as I see it, is to go scouring for something else--something cheaper. I have yet to find anything else out there that makes my heart sing like those Fay Cullen bands, but maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. If we were to go the immediate-purchase route, I'd be looking for rings that fell within the $500-750 range. If I were looking for a simpler ring, I think that would be a fairly easy find, but since my engagement ring does not fit flush with regular bands, I really wanted to swap it over to my right hand, and wear a more intricate wedding band all by itself on my left hand. A detailed, patterned band for $500-750 is not something I've come by yet.

What do you all think I should do? Can you point me in the direction of bands reminiscent of those Fay Cullen beauties in a lower price range?


  1. I have always believed that if you "make do" you won't be happy...I say save up for the ring you want to live with!

    BTW - I have talked to Fay before and she is delightful. Why not give her a call (or her Ass't. Marc) and see what they have to offer by way of payment options.

    Did you see these three rings? they are all the style you are looking for and under $1k:

  2. I LOVED our jeweler: Fairbank and Perry in Concord. Though I'm not sure their prices would be much different, but they were so fantastic to work with even before we committed to anything - I would recommend checking them out!