Fated Opals: A Cautionary Tale & Love Story

I am an October baby and have always had a thing for my own birthstone–the enigmatic opal. I love that they are finicky and fragile, no one color but many, translucent and inviting and full of fire.

I’m not saying I personally embody those qualities, but maybe I aspire to.

I own two opal rings. The first was given to me by my father when I turned 21. Two pear-shaped stones with some diamond accents set in 14K gold. It’s very delicate, and though I love it for its symbolic meaning–he and I– (warning: this entire post is heavy with SYMBOLISM), it’s really not a style I would choose for myself. I wear it maybe once or twice a year, usually on my birthday and his (also in October).

The second ring I bought for myself for my 30th birthday, right after the man I was in love with–the one who came after my divorce, and with whom I had hoped I would share the rest of my life–dumped me. Again. It’s a big solitaire opal, bezel-set in chunky, defiant sterling. See? I don’t need you. I can buy myself this ring.

So I have it in my head now that I want to gift myself with a beautiful opal ring for each of my decades going forward. I am a romantic fool, I realize. And a writer, let’s remember. Metaphor is enormously important. AND SYMBOLISM!

Now let me skip forward to my 50’s which have obviously not happened yet. But I already have my ring picked out: it’s going to be an enormous Mexican Fire Opal set in rose gold. These suckers are glorious and rare and unique and more to the point, wow, expensive. Way too expensive to consider at this point in my life. But dammit, I will save my pennies for 50.

Today, I am 2 years into my 40’s and still no ring for this decade. I’ve been thinking about what I want, what would fit, and I decided that the ring needed to have at least four opals–one for each of my family members–and possibly even more to represent the abundance, the chaos, the plenty in my life at this age. I also knew I wanted it to be yellow gold this time, and I had a clear budget for it in mind. I have pretty specific taste in jewelry, and I admit that a lot of the opal rings out there are just too foofy for me. They tend toward the frilly and, frankly, tacky. At least in my meager price range. So it was going to be a challenge to find something just right.

Or so I thought.

Last week, I was scrolling endlessly on ebay, looking at ring after ring. Lots of beautiful options, most of them out of my league. At one point, Josephine cried, “Oh, mama! Click that one!” I humored her and clicked on a ring that I barely registered. Then I left the couch to get something in the kitchen…

When I came back, there was an odd message on the screen that seemed to indicate that a transaction had occurred, but I looked for a minute and decided, “No, it just timed out or something,” and promptly dismissed and forgot about it.

And then this morning, the email from ebay: “Don’t forget to pay for your item!” Uh oh. I knew immediately what had happened, and I vaguely recalled the ring. When I clicked the link again, there it was:

The ring my daughter bought me! Please notice the following:

* It has four opals PLUS more gems (abundance!).

* Those other gems are deep PINK rubies (my daughter bought this for me, duh).

* It is yellow gold.

* It is an Art Deco-inspired reproduction. Art Deco jewelry makes me absolutely swoon.

* It is my size.

* It was well within my budget (thank GOD because it easily could have been the $900 version she asked me to click on!).

As all of this was coming clear this morning, Rudy, who was sitting next to me on the couch, said, “Did Josie buy you that ring”

“Yes, apparently she did.”

“Well, I helped her,” he said. “I read the screen and told her where to click.”

A) My children are awesome, albeit sneaky.

B) Take a lesson, friends, and close ebay before you leave the room!

I have to say I am thoroughly bemused and charmed by this whole interaction. I wanted a ring to symbolize where I am in my 40’s–my decade of abundance, full of children and chaos and love.

I think I got it and I can’t wait to wear it!

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4 thoughts on “Fated Opals: A Cautionary Tale & Love Story

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