Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hearts anyone?

I'm still getting over finishing my Smooth Chocolate Blues heart shaped hat. After having it on the coffee table in the living room for the last few weeks, constantly needing a few more beads, I now feel oddly adrift without having a project in process nearby. (See yesterday's post for more pictures of Smooth Chocolate Blues.)

I have to confess that I am a sucker for heart shapes. I love the shape; a geometric display of curves and straights, points and inverts.
It really is the perfect shape to say "love and romance"; for isn't love an adventure through time where a person enjoys easy "straight line" periods, times when things are changing gradually like a curve, and then there are the other times of dramatic changes, some going up and some going down before hitting a pivotal point and changing directions again.

Heart shapes are the symbol of love, yet lots of couples get married with ministerial comments about the wedding rings being the symbol of love, as they are round, and like love, have no beginning or end. The minister usually comments that so should be the love between married couples.

I try not to snicker when I hear this. I wish instead that the minister would point out the shape of wedding rings of couples who have been married for awhile. If you have been married awhile, go ahead and pull off your ring. Most likely you will find that it isn't "exactly" a circle anymore.

Depending on the thickness of your ring, probably you will find that the circle has been reshaped slightly to fit more comfortably upon your finger. You might even remember how odd your ring felt when you first wore it, just as any new ring usually feels odd until the wearer's hand gradually shapes it to become a comfortable fit.

If the truth be known, a square is actually a better shape for a ring as a square shape is a closer replication of one's finger shape. Some jewelers are now even offering square shaped "comfort" wedding bands.
Maybe that four sided ring would be a good analogy for marriage: The richer/poorer side, the better/worse side, the sickness/health side and finally the till death do you part.

I just doubt anyone wants to hear a minister say that love is like a square though. Even I'd probably start to giggle if I ever heard one try.

While I have a love for heart shape things, (I always save any heart shaped pebble that I encounter on a beach) I actually tend to shy away from the shape. It always seems just a little too iconic, and a bit too obvious. Iconic because it suggests Valentine's Day, and romantic thoughts. It's the shape a girly-girl would wear, or a woman who is a bit of ditz, naive, and gullible.

You know, the kind of girl who writes in pink ink and dots the letter "i" with a heart shape.

Just looking at such writing brings a wry smile to my lips. "Silly, silly girl" I think to myself. "What a fluff. Clueless really. All your dreams are pinned on a man being smitten by your charms."

I confess I am a bit jealous of those girls though. The Marilyn Monroes, the Betty Boops, the Gidgets in life who can barely count to six, yet everyone just adores those kinds of women. I don't know if they are dumb, or smart like a fox; I do know that I haven't a clue how they do it.

Some personalities seem to be put in place in the womb; I swear those kinds of girls slide into the world looking up at the doctor and giggling. They must get a chuck under their chin and a pinch on the cheek instead of the customary new baby spank on their backside.

Harry Winston, the famous New York diamond expert spent years observing the personalities of women as they selected the diamond to be used in their engagement rings. He found that within minutes of meeting a woman, he could predict which shape diamond they would prefer if given a choice.

ROUND: The home and family oriented woman invariably chose a round or brilliant shaped diamond. It is of course the most popular shape, and most often selected.

MARQUISE: The competitive/business minded woman chooses the points at both ends marquise shape. The more elongated the diamond, the more competitive the woman is likely to be. They also are likely to be dramatic women. I think it is interesting to note that back in the late 1960's and 1970's this was a very popular cut...right in the middle of the Women's Liberation movement.

EMERALD: The straight shooting, calls it like they see it, transparent, nothing to hide, black and white thinking and only wants the best woman chose the emerald. This was also the choice of the wealthiest women; emerald cut diamonds must be nearly flawless, and therefore are most costly per carat. (Frankly, girls with emerald shaped diamonds scare me...)

PEAR: The community minded woman. They may even put community or church service before their family's needs. I wonder if the "tear drop" shape reflects their need to make everything better in the world.

OVAL: The creative/artistic/innovative women. Rarely chosen, most jewelry stores may only carry one or two oval diamonds, if any. I have an oval diamond; the shape was my own choice. I have only met a handful of women with oval diamond rings in my lifetime.

(An aside: One of the women with an oval diamond engagement ring was my daughter.

Laura's engagement ring...shown with her permission.
She requested an oval diamond, and got three. A full carat center, and you can figure out the rest.
Three months before the wedding she gave it back.
Ouch, ouch, ouch.
Dang that was a gorgeous ring.
Now back to the regular blog....)
Then there is the HEART.
The romantic/sentimental/fantasy loving woman selects the heart shaped diamond. It is probably the least flattering of all the diamond cuts in terms of showing the diamond's fire, and yet is also the most distinctive.
If you ever saw the last Gidget movie, you will know that Moondoggie (Jeff) gave Gidget (Francine) a heart shaped diamond engagement ring. Perfect for her, don't you think?

For years I thought the heart shape diamond was just too silly for words. Then one day at a law firm I met an older woman who was a paralegal with a (gasp) heart shaped solitaire on a plain narrow band. She was tall, strong looking, no nonsense, plain, but bordering on bohemian, and she married for the first time at age 50.

I asked her about her ring. She said the choice surprised her; they had gone to look for a ring together, and the heart shape just stood out to her. It was the shape, rather than the symbol that drew her. No "hearts and flowers, ruffles and lace" type woman, the ring looked quite striking on her finger.

As to some of the other cuts:

PRINCESS: Harry Winston offered his observations before some of the modern cuts were developed and marketed. The highly popular Princess Cut, square yet brilliant cut has been cited as the choice for the Trendy Woman in this article. The Radiant cut, essentially the Princess with more facets is noted as being the choice of the Diva.
Hmmm....I've noticed how popular both these cuts are with the current crop of brides. It would be fun to find out how many "Bridezillas" have Radiant shaped diamonds!

Of course many women are "surprised" by their engagement rings, or have simple bands without diamond. And of course they love their rings just the way they are.

But...just for a minute...imagine walking into an elegant jewelry story, sent on a mission to buy yourself a diamond ring, with money being no object. Close your eyes and imagine all the shapes.
Which one would you choose?

Does it match your personality as suggested by Mr. Winston?

If you are past forty, would you chose differently today than you would have at a twenty-something?


Do you have any friends who wear diamond shapes that you've always admired, yet would have never chosen for yourself?

Today, just for fun, I'm going to imagine wearing the different shaped diamonds, just to see what it would feel like, and perhaps learn a bit more about myself. I still love my oval, but lately I have been admiring square shapes, and heart shapes as well. I still dislike marquise (competitive I am definitively NOT) and pears trouble me: I never can figure out which way they should go.

As to heart shaped hats; I think they look quite odd on me. The point of the heart makes my jawline seem massively square by contrast.
Someday I'd love to see my hat on a girl with a face in the shape of a heart.
If it would look the way that I think it would, I would probably want to see it on her forever.


Anonymous said...

I caught up on your blogs this A.M. I think your chocolate heart shaped hat is beautiful, and I really think the beading is perfect! Great creation! I'll have to do some thinking about the diamond choice. Glad Bernie's doing better. Love, Mom S

Kathy said...

Backing up with my comments as I've been catching up with your blog. The perfume blog - I must tell you that I caught myself leaning forward to smell the screen more than once. I'm serious! Funny eh?

Diamonds. I like mine small and bright. Mine is round. I might like a square one but never a pear or - whatever the points on each end one was. Mine used to be set high in a plain band next to my wedding band. Lando bought me a new ring a couple years ago. It's a wide band with a flower design and I had my small, round, bright diamond set into it. I love it and I don't miss the original one bit which surprised me. It's nice being married long enough to have worn out the first design.

I love your brown hat. I think the beading is a thing of beauty. I realize I don't know how to wear hats. I always wonder HWJWW. How would Jill wear this? Truely.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post, Jill! Your ability to take something (a shape, a scent, whatever) and run with it like this amazes me!

My diamond is round and perfectly brilliant. Doc surprised me with it such a long time ago. I've already had the setting remade and I've worn that out, too. My wedding band wore itself so thin that it has split. So, I'm now wearing just a simple band that Doc made for me out of dental gold (using a carved wax form he found at a lapidary). One of these days, I'll allow Doc to take my rings and have them remade into something new...someday.

To answer your question, as a 20-something and now as an over-forty-plus-something (heehee), I prefer the round shape. The shape and the fiery brilliance appeal to me.

When my mother remarried in '69, her ring was the marquise, which I thought was very elegant on her. Her first diamond was round.

I like Kathy's comment about making certain choices based on "WWJW" or "HWJWT!"

L&D said...

I really enjoyed this post. You are such a creative writer.

As for diamonds. I have a round cut with 23 little diamonds in 2 rows: on either side of the center diamond, and then the wedding band with diamonds in a row. My setting is very unique, it's curvy and bendy. I've never seen another like my set. But to do it over again, I'd likely go princess cut with a much larger center diamond. I'd also probably change over from yellow gold to white gold.....but that one is still up for debate.

Every girl likes to think and talk about their diamonds. Sigh. I love diamonds.

Anonymous said...

Kathy said she likes her diamonds small and bright. Sounds good to me. Really, what would you pick tomorrow if we walked into a store...no holds barred. Sure it wouldnt be an emerald cut? How big? Dream....Mr.B

PhantomMinuet said...

I feel the same way about pears that you do about hearts. There's just something so aesthetically pleasing to me in the shape of a pear. :-)

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I LOVE the idea of a heart-shaped diamond; my next choice would be oval. If I could design a ring, I'd take TWO heart-shaped diamonds and put them head to head with the points facing out, and maybe a little ruby in the center between the clefts of the two hearts...hmmmmm.

My wedding ring was a very simple narrow gold band. It's too tight to wear anymore (maybe all this walking will change that!). Now I wear a wide simple gold band of thin 21K gold from Israel, along with a narrow gold band inset along the top with ten very small round diamonds (I think they call this style an anniversary ring).

My other beautiful diamond ring (sighs and sobs)with the round diamond set in a swirl of platinum above the little square channel cut diamonds on either side inset in a gold band I left behind somewhere last summer on our driving trip up the Pacific Coast. I was sick about it and so was CT, who chose it and surprised me with it on our anniversary several years ago. After that, I don't think I want anymore expensive diamonds...

Anonymous said...

I am an agreeable, and not the least bit scary, lover of emerald cut diamonds. (Not wealthy, per Mr. Winston's suggestion, but perhaps rather black-and-white about things.)

I wore and loved the emerald cut solitare diamond in my engagement ring for 17 years -- until yesterday, actually. After a long traipse through Target and Barnes and Noble, I looked down and discovered that my diamond was GONE! Two of the prongs on the setting were broken. How that happened without my feeling it is beyond my understanding. A very long retracing search was to no avail. :-( Very, very sad.

I praised God that I had lost a thing and not a loved one, and I learned a lesson. Once I have a replacement stone (another emerald-cut), I will take it in for an annual cleaning and inspection. I recommend that anyone with a diamond ring do the same.