When my husband proposed a while back, he used a placeholder ring. It wasn’t his fault. I had pretty much determined I didn’t want a diamond, but I hadn’t yet decided on a replacement. Needless to say, this led to a lot of scrambling to get it together after the proposal.
I have a bit of a fascination with gemstones, and I love playing around with the healing properties associated with them. At different times I’ve worn a Turquoise ring for luck, a Lapis Lazuli pendant on my neck to help open my throat chakra and let out my singing voice, and Amber in my pocket for a good mood. I’ve meditated with Quartz to get in touch with my intuition. I slept with pink Rhodochrosite under my pillow for a year because a lady in a cool hidden away shop in the Hamptons told me it helped you find your soul mate. I have Celestite by my bed for clear dreams. I bought a giant foot long hunk of Selenite for our house because the air around it felt all shimmery. I figured my wedding ring should have at least as much appeal and I really wanted a stone that resonated with my energy.
Diamonds were not originally the only stone for engagements. Back in the day sapphires, rubies, and a variety of stones all fit the bill. De Beers came along with a great marketing campaign and not only convinced people diamonds were rare (while stockpiling them in hidden locations), and the engagement stone, but that they should cost a lovely three months salary. Now I like diamonds, but I couldn’t help but feel they were a bit of an overpriced option with manufactured appeal.
So, I explored some of the more vintage stones and others. I really wanted a stone that was natural: untreated and unheated. They are much harder to find that way. In Jyotish, or Vedic Astrology, an ancient astrological tradition that uses stones for healing, the only stones that qualify are untreated by man. The stones need to be of a certain clarity, color, and weight to be used in this way. In the Jyotish tradition White Sapphire is associate with Venus, a planet named after the goddess of love. So not only is Venus associated with love, but married life, beauty and the arts, all energies I’d like to cultivate in my life. Melody’s Love is in the Earth book says White Sapphire stimulates the crown chakra, revealing the talents of the self and encouraging the pursuit of lifework. Crystal Power, Crystal Healing says Saphhire, strengthens the power of belief and the love of truth.
I could theorize about the different reasons for my alignment with the metaphysical properties of the White Sapphire, but really, I just think it was the right stone for me. I felt a burst of energy from the stone the moment I saw it. It just felt sweet and right. It made me smile. It still does.
There are technical reasons Sapphires make a good stone for everyday wear. They are strong and durable. The only thing stronger than a sapphire is a diamond. I liked the idea of white because it can go with any outfit. For me personally, I didn’t want a strongly colored stone to wear everyday. Besides, sometimes they use chemicals to change the colors of stones. Another way they change the color of stones is by irradiation. One of the methods of irradiation is putting the stone in a nuclear reactor. Hmmmm…
An untreated white sapphire is not necessarily a diamond substitute. If you are looking for the pure white of a treated diamond, an untreated sapphire is not for you. My white sapphire changes colors in different lighting, sometimes taking on a blueish tint, sometimes a greenish, sometimes a yellow, sometimes white, depending on what is around it. I like the variety. I notice it really looks whiter when I keep it very clean, which is hard to do because I refuse to take it off (best way to keep track of it) and I work in the kitchen a lot! The stone also seemed yellower after it got put into the setting. That might be because of the contrast against the cool platinum. I’m not sure what would happen with gold. My mother gave me her old wedding band, which has diamonds that tint blue next to my yellowish white sapphire. One of the reasons the industry heats diamonds is so the whites will all match. And yes, I know the diamond band is ironic after my dismissal of diamonds, but it has sentimental value and I figure I am recycling old ones, not buying new ones.
Of course, if one is following Jyoti, the diamond is a good marriage stone and it does make a decent choice in that aspect. There are companies dealing with ethical diamonds but you have to seek them out. I found a local company (see below) or an online source for ethically mined diamonds from Canada is Brilliant Earth. My experience with the regular jewelers in my area was something like this: a cheesy smile and “oh no, we don’t sell blood diamonds here,” with an attitude that secretly belied, “oh, these people and the stuff they read on the internet or see in movies.” Except I know that despite the popularity of the movie, serious ethical issues in the diamond industry still persist and are the norm. I refrained from lecturing salespeople on the failures of the Kimberly Process but maybe I should have been more clear about what I was thinking, thoughts like these… “This stone represents my commit to my loved one. I want it to be based on integrity. I care if the workers who made it received a fair wage and had a good life. I also care about whether rivers, trees, and lands were polluted during the mining process.”
Mining is typically not good for the planet. But there are low impact options and choices that are more sustainable than others. In the stores I visited, those options weren’t even on their radar.
After I bought my stone, I did find a jeweler in Philly, Bario Neale, who is eco-conscious and aware of the very issues I consider important: They had their rings on display in wine corks, and are just down to earth and nice! They were happy to place my stone in a recycled platinum band based off a vintage design. And they did a great job.
Okay, so I could get really deep and say, if we have love, why need a ring at all? We don’t. But like the energy I feel from the stone. It’s comforting. It’s sparkly. It’s a physical reminder of love. When I glance at it, it reminds me of my husband knowing he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. That is the point, after all, isn’t it?