Sunday, April 18, 2010

Number Seventy-Seven

The signet ring - number seventy-seven of The One Hundred.  Did I own one?  No.  I have always wanted one?  YES!  Around 1980, Lisa Birnbach wrote The Preppy Handbook (  It became my Bible and one of the things that every preppy should have is a signet ring.  I remember my college friend Allison had a signet right that I would covet from afar.  An employee during my retail days had one that to this day I dream about. I have often thought about having one made for me since the design is imprinted on my brain.

I've come close to having a signet rings on two different occasions in my life - when I graduated from college with my B.A. and when I finished graduate school.  Both times the dream never came true.  When I graduated from college my dad asked what I wanted and of course, I said, "A signet ring."  He said to pick out what I wanted and let him know how much it was and he would see that I got it.  Well, right before I graduated, my grandfather died.  I traveled with my brother and father to Paris, Arkansas for the funeral.  My aunt Lorene was there and she was working for a jewelry store.  My dad told her what I wanted and made a point to say, "The simpler the ring the better."  I was so excited I could hardly stand it.  Finally, the day came and my mom called and said, "Your ring is here from Lorene and boy is it pretty."  I was so excited!  I was working at Banana Republic and drove from Flagstaff, AZ to Phoenix every weekend.  I had never been so ready to take that drive.  Finally, Friday came and off I went.  I walked in the door and my dad said, "Your ring is on the table and it is something else."  I opened the box and therein lied the most garish, old-lady, cocktail ring.  UGH!  Simple!  I said, "Simple."  Of course, for a woman from Texas in her late 60's, this was simple. I faked my way through a, "Wow! That's pretty!" and then went to my room and did nothing more than shake my head. I wore the ring to the graduation ceremony and sent a cursory thank-you note to my aunt.  After that it sat in my jewelry box until I tried to sell it to off-set the cost of my husbands wedding band.  I've also contemplated sending it to one of those, "cash for gold" places.  I still own the ring and believe it or not, it will make a re-appearance in the blog.

My second brush with the signet ring was when I finished my master's degree.  Having been with the same man for more than 19 years, I knew better than to expect he would ask what I wanted for a graduation gift so I told him, "You need to buy me a signet ring for a graduation present."  Again I got, "You pick it out and we'll go get it together."  Deja vu!  I looked and looked and looked but I just could not find what I wanted so I settled for a trip to Vegas with my family.

You can imagine then my excitement when I discovered a signet ring was one of The One Hundred.  You'll come to learn that Ebay is my friend and rarely do I buy anything without checking it first.  I didn't want a new ring; I wanted a vintage ring that was simple, yet stylish. My search began and surprisingly, it didn't take long.  On the first search I found a beautiful ring - simple with a nice art deco stamped design and guess what, the initials were MM.  It was perfect!  I waited a whole two days before I made an offer on the ring.  It fits perfect and has become one of my most treasured possessions.  I feel no guilt for buying such an extravagant and unnecessary thing.  Well...sometimes I do but later you'll see how another of The One Hundred helps to overcome that guilt.

The signet ring - number seventy-seven of The One Hundred.  One down, ninety-nine to go.