It's been a couple of weeks now that I've been wearing my family gold ring with the replacement diamond. Well, it's not exactly a diamond; it's a working girl's substitute -- CZ -- as in cubic zirconia, or if you really want to know, it's a synthetic compound of zirconium oxide.
But it's definitely not a diamond.
I can imagine what my mother would have thought of this substitution.
She wore this combination engagement-wedding ring with its distinctive setting for many a year just as I have, right up until, I believe, the gem fell out recently in a friend's swimming pool.
Subsequent searches with all sorts of underwater robots and vacuums have brought no success in finding my diamond. The truth is it could have dropped out anywhere from here to there.
When I took my sad story and diamond-less ring to the jeweler, the friendly sales lady put a magnifying glass to the ring and half-gasped.
"What in the world have you been doing with this ring," she asked.
"It's all scratched up and half the prongs have been worn down," she said. "Take a look."
And there it was -- assault and battery of a family heirloom. And it was only three years ago that I had had the prongs tightened. (I learned later that a once-a-year tightening is recommended.)
Well, I do lead an active life, I said, "I lift weights, I go to boot camps, I go on police patrols, I garden, I swim in friends' pools."
"No wonder," she said.
Then she recommended an overhaul of the prongs. After that, I learned the cost of replacing the diamond (gulp) -- and the term cubic zirconia entered my lexicon.
My defense for wearing such a beautiful ring in such an active life can be traced back to an Englishman who could not understand the rationale of so many Americans.
He knew us Yanks put away all our lovely jewelry and fine china, etc for only special occasions, when we could be enjoying them every day. I became a convert.
There have been other instances in my life when I have lost rings that were miraculously found.
One instance was, again, a swimming incident. In a previous abode that sat on the shore of a lake, I lost my engagement ring while swimming in said lake.
So bereft was I that I hired a police scuba diver. Making his way in frogman suit, flippers and snorkel back and forth along the edge of the lake he suddenly stood triumphant holding the ring up to my delight!
An even more miraculous tale is that of a Greenwich couple I used to know. Back in the Showboat Inn days, on Greenwich Harbor where now sits the luxurious Delamar, this couple was having a romantic evening at their harbor-side table.
The marriage proposal was made, the ring presented, and no sooner was it placed on the bride-to-be's hand when it somehow slipped off and into the water.
The chances of ever finding that ring in the mucky bottom of Greenwich Harbor were next to nil.
But the ring-giver was a passionately committed lover and proud of the ring.
He, too, hired a scuba diver who must have been paid a king's ransom to sift through that muck, but the miracle happened and that ring is no doubt still being worn by the lady in question.
I'm having a tough time getting fond of my CZ. It shines its synthetic face at me but I can't be fooled, no matter what the CZ people say. So, every day, if something sparkles along my path I lean down and look and feel expectantly.
I did ask at my gym if any loose diamonds had turned up lately but was only told another sad tale by the gym owner's wife -- she'd just lost the diamond in her engagement ring down her kitchen sink.
So, just who was it that said diamonds are forever?