Every girl loves diamonds, but not every girl is educated about them – like me. Don’t ask me about about cut, clarity, color, and carats, or the difference between trillions and trapezoids, because I have absolutely no clue. Mountings, galleries, pave, micro pave, filigree…say what? It’s all another language I never learned, but a lot of my girlfriends seem to speak it fluently.
So when it came time to reset my engagement ring, I immediately went to my go-to jewelry experts: Tobey, Jodi and Nina, my own personal “Bling Ring,” if you will. These ladies know jewelry like no one’s business.
They gave me a crash course in diamonds, schlepped downtown to the L.A. jewelry mart, asked the hard questions and negotiated like pros. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friends, but these BFFs are total gems.
You’d think like most girls I would’ve gotten the diamond gene from my mom, but I’m not sure she has it either. My mother Sonjia was, and still is, a single workingwoman who put everything she had into building her business. When she started Commercials Unlimited back in the ‘70’s, she wasn’t only on the forefront of the early commercial talent industry, she was one of its first female pioneers.
Even with all her success over the years, I never knew my mother to splurge on diamond jewelry. It just wasn’t her thing. To this day, she’d rather close a big deal than open an account at Tiffany’s. Booking a client is more beautiful than a bauble.
My mother was a role model and taught me many things – except the finer points of fine jewelry. She wasn’t too good at teaching me about the birds and the bees either, but I managed to figure that one out on my own.
Here’s what else I figured out: Robby’s mother’s diamond was “Old Mine Cut,” a classic, hand-cut stone probably over 100 years old. It has a shallower pavilion, a more rounded shape, and a different arrangement of facets. Because it was an antique stone, a vintage-type setting was suggested.
Between Robby, my ringmasters and me, we met with, checked out, looked at, and tried on countless rings at countless jewelers. If there are any guys out there reading this thinking about buying an engagement ring, you can thank me…I just did all your legwork.
After your head stops spinning from seeing the prices at Cartier and Tiffany’s, call Mario Padilla (310) 271-4270. Operating out of an office on Dayton Way in Beverly Hills, Mario customizes jewelry to your specifications. He’s accommodating, pleasant to work with, and reasonably priced.
It would be well worth the schlep downtown to meet with Vatche Elmedjian at Colisee Designs www.colisseedesigns.com. I give Vatche high marks for his selection of settings, creative ideas, and generous sprit. You’d also be in good hands with Raffi and Vik at Personal Touch Jewelers (213) 627-8552, also located in downtown L.A. They’re knowledgeable and they have a fantastic inventory of truly unique designs. Trust me, they’ll hook you up.
All of these guys will wheel and deal to your heart’s content, plus they have saint-like patience to put up with annoyingly indecisive clients like me. I give all of them big props. Thank you!
In the end, I found exactly what I wanted: a setting that preserved the integrity of the stone, and honored the heritage of the family from which it came. It’s beautiful, and every time I look at it, I’m reminded of how much I love Robby and how lucky I am to be his fiancé. But because I’ve kept my ring finger vacant all of these 50 years, it feels weird to finally have something occupying it. For the first few weeks, I had trouble getting used to it, as if it was a strange growth that had suddenly developed on my finger.
Yes, my finger and I still can’t believe I’m engaged.
And a note to those other non-believers out there who said it would never happen, who said it couldn’t be done (and you know who you are), I have just one thing to say:
Y’all can kiss my ring.