Traditionally, I’ve never been a huge fan of wedding rings. I always said that I didn’t need anything expensive on my finger to remind me that I was married. When Sarah and I first started talking about an engagement, we originally discussed a basic gemstone ring on a silver band. Wearing something worth more than 50 dollars on my finger royally freaked me out. Plus, I wanted something unique and different.

After months of searching for rings, Sarah and our jeweler Brenton convinced me to go into Levy’s to take a look at a few stones Brenton found in storage. I expected Brenton to pull out a box of gemstones like he had done so many times before. Instead, he reached into his front shirt pocket and pulled out three delicate pieces of paper. It appeared to be tissue paper that had seen better days.

As he unwrapped each one, I realized that the stones he had picked were loose diamonds. I started to sigh with disappointment but soon stopped myself. I noticed that these loose diamonds were different than any others I had seen. They were imperfect.

Sarah and Brenton noticed that I focused my attention on one stone in particular. Before I could say a word, Brenton informed me that these were old European cut diamonds that were cut in the 19th century. This diamond was unique because it was hand cut and had not been cut again. I remember feeling so horrible for falling in love with a diamond. I felt like I was betraying myself and Sarah.

After all, I was the one that said I didn’t need anything expensive on my finger. After struggling with it for a few days, I decided to talk with Sarah about it. I expressed how horrible I felt and I will never forget her response. She said, “If you love it, I love it. I hope you will wear this ring every day for the rest of your life. There is no harm in having a nice ring as a symbol of our commitment. I know that if I was upset with the price of the ring, you would never question not getting it. I know you don’t need a diamond ring but I want you to have it.”

I couldn’t have asked for a better woman in my life. My penguin certainly did search for the perfect pebble.

Read Papillon Johnston’s essay A Conservative Father’s Love for his Lesbian Daughter, as well as her and Sarah’s engagement story. (And stay tuned for their wedding feature!)

Photo: j.woodbery photography