For the past four months, I have been sitting on some very exciting news, but I was sworn to secrecy so couldn't tell anyone about it. I say "anyone" but I think I would have not survived four months if I had told absolutely nobody. Instead I told three people, whom I trusted implicitly and I knew they would not be able to spill the news accidentally, so that it got into the wrong hands. But now I can breathe at last and publish the news........
KAY HAS GOT ENGAGED!!
I have known since the end of October, but she didn't, hence the secrecy! At that time her boyfriend (for the sake of this blog and anonymity, let's call him Darcy - for he is indeed appropriately handsome and everything you could wish for, just like Jane Austen's hero character) contacted me and asked if we could meet in secret, when Kay would be not around. Immediately bells starting ringing in my head, but I tried not to get too excited. A few weeks passed and a weekend came in early December, when Kay was up in Yorkshire visiting old uni friends.
Darcy came over to see me on the Saturday evening and looked very nervous. He told me he had been with Kay for six years now, loved Kay very much and couldn't envisage life without her. He wanted to ask me two questions. The first was whether I would be happy if he asked Kay to marry him. I was so touched by his old-fashioned approach of asking me first if I minded. Of course I said YES. The second question was whether I would help him choose the ring. Kay has often given me ideas of what she likes and doesn't like when choosing rings, as recently we had been looking in jewellery shops for me to buy her something to mark her 30th birthday last summer (six months have gone by since July and I still owe her a 30th present). We have often nonchalantly looked at engagement rings in the window as we inevitably passed by them and she had commented on exactly the kind she would like, if ever her relationship with Darcy got to that stage. So I had a pretty good idea and Darcy knew this.
In early January, Darcy and I arranged to meet one day in Hatton Garden in Central London. I had suggested this, as there are not many jewellers locally, and those that exist are often little niche boutiques and therefore the choice is pretty limited. I felt Hatton Garden would swamp us with shops and help us decide. Sure enough, there were zillions of jewellers not just in Hatton Garden street alone but in the labyrinth of backstreets too. If we so much as glanced in a window, someone would come rushing out to accost us, asking what we wanted and invite us inside so that they could show us all they had. We got very good at giving them a put-down and in the end restricted our search to four shops that had received good reviews online.
I had already done my homework beforehand and felt quite the expert, reinforced by the talk the various jewellers trotted out when we sat down. When choosing a diamond, you have to be aware of the four Cs:-
- Cut - how well the craftsman has cut it so that it reflects light to its optimum.
- Clarity - whether there are many imperfections in it - diamonds are naturally-mined stones and so will have some imperfections, but these are graded on a scale from none at all to many. These imperfections are not visible to the naked eye but will only be picked up by looking at the diamond with a spy glass.
- Colour - from pure transparent sparkle through to a yellowy colour
- Carat - the size and weight of the diamond.