It was more than I'd expected to spend, but less than DeBeers would have it be.*
Glad we stopped out for lunch and three pints of Guinness before returning to the store to make our actual choice. Otherwise, I don't think I could have gone through with it-- not because of any lack of commitment on my part, but because I'd have had trouble justifying the expenditure. I'm such a cheapass beyotch ;D
The ring itself is untraditional-- well, mostly untraditional... but would you expect different from me? It's a Ceylon sapphire solitare with small diamond baguettes and chips in white gold. It's stunning, and very very elegant. The owner of the store seemed delighted and impressed (but I suppose that's his job).
Speaking of the store, it was wonderful. It was the first one we went to, just around the corner from our house, in the little shopping villiage I sometimes bike to. After we'd popped in there, and been suitably impressed, we checked out another next door (it was unimpressive) and checked out two more elsewhere (they were closed) before returning. The store had a lot of loose sapphires, and when I inquired about heat treatment, I got the magic answer "none of them are enhanced; well, actually, there are a couple that are, but they are the exception, not the rule... generally, the only heating that's done is for separation, not enhancement." People at most jewellery stores, when asked that question, don't even know what I'm talking about, much less have such a perfectly wonderful answer.
I thought I'd probably end up choosing one of the smaller, pre-set rings; maybe paw through the loose stones a little. But when we returned, the owner brought out his book of sapphires. WOW. They were stunning. He even let me take my five favourites outside with me to see them in the sun and the shade. He kept warning Paul about my "expensive tastes." Pfft. I prefer the term "exquisite." ;) He seemed pleased at the fact that we were going with a sapphire, and even made a rather derogatory comment about DeBeers (without my having brought up the subject). I think I'll be buying all my jewellery from this guy (not that I buy much, mind you).
He had one colour-change stone available, but it's wasn't anything special. His brother in San Diego (he comes from a family of seven brothers-- all in the jewellery business) has a collection of them, but very few with such excellent colour, and besides, I didn't want to wait. I found a gorgeous cornflower blue Ceylon stone (a little less than a carat-- he says he purchased it in Sri Lanka himself, and I believe him) and a beautiful setting (maybe a little too beautiful? I think the Guinness has worn off!) and fell in love.
He gave us a very nice price, all things considered.
I pick it up later this week. I'll take pictures :)
* Has it occurred to anyone else that the "two month's salary" guideline was developed by the people who pocket the money? And have I ever mentioned how much I detest the diamond industry? I mean, really detest it? Unfortunately, the wonderful Atlantic Monthly article from the mid-80s seems to have been taken offline, but you can find interesting points made here, here and here.
** Huggos :)