16 April 2008


Look out--long post coming through:

If you didn't already know, Ben and I began on 5 August 2002. We had met 3 years prior in freshman year seminary, but didn't become friends until junior year. It was the following summer that we became more than friends. That entire saga is a much longer story, but it is all the background needed for now.

I came home from my mission on Friday night. I first saw Ben on Saturday after his work and my family dinner at Mimi’s Café. They left me there to wait for him. He called, I walked out, we hugged, and he took my hand and led me to his car, where the dialogue began as if I'd just seen him the day before. I blabbed about my day, and he drove without my even wondering where we were going.

That night, after taking me to eat gelato, touring the 2008 Provo, visiting his parents, (and stealing a kiss in the car when I thought it was coming later on our walk), he dropped me off and said this: “This was so sweet: I picked you up from Mimi’s and it was like, ‘what year and a half?’”

It’s true. We knew that night, without even really talking it out, that we would marry. But that’s how we’d discussed marriage since 2003. Ben always says he’s pictured marrying me since that freshman year. I realized early in our relationship that I could marry him. So the talk wasn’t new, but the reality was. And it was funny. I mean, it was exciting, but more than anything, it just felt funny! I remember in those first nights, I thought about the reality of a ring. But as I opened my mouth to ask about it, I just giggled! I didn’t even bring it up until a few nights later. Which was even more funny:

“So what do we do about a ring?”

“Oh. Yeah. I, uh… came across some diamonds…”

What? I just laughed more! In fact it was so funny, that I didn’t even keep asking about it. It wasn’t until the next day that I asked for more information. He explained that he’d inherited some diamonds from his grandma, Mary Deane Andrew, who died the spring before I left. He later showed them to me. Shame on me for not at least taking a picture of her ring and earrings before we let the jeweler melt them down! But here are some drawings I used to explain:
Ben also had a family friend who is a goldsmith at Sierra West. This was great, because he actually was the same jeweler who originally worked on Mary Deane’s ring through the years. After I’d explained to Ben a bit of what I wanted, we went in to explain it to Richard Beech.

Now we rewind to a mission moment: while in the MTC in the DR, a roommate, Hna. Harvey, got a fun letter from her newly-engaged friend—complete with ring photos. It was the first time I ever remember loving a ring. You know, living/attending BYU doesn’t allow much room for not seeing diamond ring ads all the time. As a college girl—of course I always related every ring I saw to my own taste and wedding wishes. I never really saw anything I loved, so I never knew what I’d want. The only thing I’d ever decided I liked was the look of a solid, thick, flat yellow-gold band. (Richard Beech later described it simply as a slice cut off from a pipe). Yes! Then he showed us different parts of different rings, and I drew what I thought in my head. These are those drawings:
Richard helped design it using one round stone from an earring, and several small diamonds from the ring. He explained that in a week he’d have a wax model for us to approve, and if all was well, the ring would be ready about a week after that.


Except then everyone kept talking about trading in all the diamonds to get a newer, bigger stone. I was completely persuaded and thought, ‘Sure, why not? Such an opportunity probably won’t come again.’ So we went back into Sierra-West to have our diamonds appraised. We worked with the manager, Sean, who was great. He and Ben had some good watch conversations. After explaining it all to us, they kind of were suggesting not to do the trade-in, as the diamonds were of a bit lesser-quality than they like to buy, and we’d still have to pay a bit extra on top of the trade-in. I hated the decision-making, but Sean was great, and we decided to go with the original design.

Then came the day to approve the wax: but Ben had school stuff all day. So the next day, on Ben’s break from work, we went in and saw the following:

Sean said, “Yes, it’s a little different from what I think you were thinking. It’s a bit more tall.” And it was. It was a lot different from what I’d drawn! But then I put it on, and I liked it! Richard stood watching in a proud stance with his hands on his hips and just smiled. But I kept looking at it wondering if I really liked it better than what I’d originally thought. They brought out our diamond and set it in the wax so I could get an idea of what it would look like. I must admit I was intimidated as Ben, Sean and Richard sat there waiting for my reaction, and my decision. They made some jokes about the blue and orange wax made to fit my taste in color. Finally, after running thoughts through my head, I found myself saying yes. “Okay, well, we’ll let you know when that’s gonna be done—or is that a secret?” Sean took Ben aside and I sat looking at the rings in the case, trying to find something similar to mine to give me an idea of how it would be. I didn’t see much. Sean had pointed that out, “One thing’s for sure—you know you’ll have something unlike anyone else!” It was for sure. But that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I really just wanted something I loved. It didn’t really matter if it was different, but it did so happen to be.

I drove home alone and nervous. I was talking it out to myself in my mind, wondering if I’d really done what I wanted. Luckily, Julianne called at that point—even just to say ‘hi’, and it was just what I needed. She did an excellent job of assuring me I’d love it, and I believed her.

The next day in church, I hate to say that I allowed my thoughts to be distracted during Sunday School and I kept drawing the original compared to what I’d ordered. I kept asking Calvin’s opinion. I thought about how I just didn’t know if I could do ‘tall’, and thinking about how I wouldn’t even be able to wear gloves! I told Ben and he teased about being embarrassed to go in again. So Monday, on my own time, I went in alone, determined to draw it how I wanted. Neither Richard nor Sean were there; it was another jeweler that awkwardly watched me look at the ring. I realized I had made it bigger in my head over the weekend. Because I put it back on, and all of the sudden I liked it again. I took that as a sign, and let it be. “Never mind. Thank you.” And that was it.

Two days later, I acquired valuable information. The ring I’d seen 18 months before had been modeled after a certain celebrity’s engagement ring. I learned the name of the celebrity: Sienna Miller. How interesting, because I’d just seen a movie with her in it, and otherwise had no idea who she was. But I really liked her in the movie Stardust. I searched for the ring on the internet, and by default learned about her engagement to Jude Law, which was later broken-off. I found one poor image, but it made me ponder even more if I wanted it that ‘flat’ way, or the ‘tall’ way. I couldn’t decide, though it didn’t really matter because I liked what I’d approved! But what if it looked bigger when it wasn’t in wax? This was going to be with gold and diamonds!

And those were my thoughts--all of them. Congratulations if you have made it here to the end.

I love my ring. Even if people react like Maya did, “It’s huge!” But I love it. Thank you to Hna. Harvey for sharing your letter. Thank you to Ben and Sierra-West for your patience. Thank you to Grandma Andrew for the diamonds.


Ann said...

Olivia, I loved your story...and thanks for the details because I am a girl about details and my brother's not so much. It is a beautiful ring!

Rebecca said...

I can't wait to hear all your stories the rest of my life! Grandma Andrew is smiling, I am sure!

Cherie said...

OK mija, so yesterday, after finally fixing the laptop's wireless connection issues, I posted a comment here - (or at least i thought i had) where I congratulated you! Yes, on your engagement, but ALSO on your impressive accomplishment of detailed story POST- complete with scanned in sketches!...
Only to find out this morning that my COMMENT did not even post! (You'll enjoy knowing that when I arrived at work my friends had up your blog showing your ring to the one that was gone last week- FYI, they love it too).
Nice going.

tadd&cat said...

OF COURSE I remember you! How could I not, that's just silly! We had some great times in Junior High and HS. I could go on and on about all my memories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your ring story, and I do think it's quite beautiful. I must see it in person! Definitely come on up next time you're at the Knudsen's!

olivia said...

thank you, peoples: not only for the comments, but for reading that whole long story!

Jordan said...

Olivia, it is beautiful and so unique. I love it!