By Nicole Rubio
September 28, 2016
This all started when I was having a mani pedi at the Vietnamese nail shop. The lady doing my feet had on a ring that looked like a large chunk of crystal rock salt with a minimal setting. I asked her what kind of stone it was and she said I wouldn't understand if she told me.
About a month later I got a flyer in the mail from Gabrielle Sanchez, my favorite jewelry designer, in New York. There were four rings in the picture. One of them had a stone that reminded me of the Vietnamese salt ring. Another ring had a setting like I'd never seen before but grabbed me. Instead of prongs, the band was drilled into the stone from two sides underneath. And it was textured like bamboo. It was rough, sculptural and graceful at the same time. In my head, the two rings combined.
I wrote to Gabrielle and told her. The stone held by the setting I liked was Imperial Topaz, kind of smoky amber. I wanted pale pink. I wanted pale pink because I've recently re-embraced my pink skin. I used to have a too-rosy face and wanted a Gothic, pale one, like a tortured poet. Why did I have to look so healthy? But now that I'm older, it's finally faded.
I know a lot of people hate pink, especially today’s strong woman, but it happens to suit my skin tone and more than that, my inner spirit. It’s gentle. Rose quartz seemed appropriate. Choosing a pink stone meant to me I was going to listen more to what I want for myself. Even if it makes me stand out. I was embarrassed to ask Gabrielle for a pink stone, but she understood right away, saying, yes, it had to be pink.
I love the way Gabrielle’s stones are weird, slightly off center shapes. They have soul and personality. They are cut so that they collect glowing light from the bottom inside.
I wanted character as well as femininity. I wanted a big stone, almost like a cocktail ring, without being too flashy. I wanted the surprise of the sculpted, inventive setting, just drilled into the stone, industrial, no nonsense. I wanted the textured band that added strength to refinement. I didn’t want shiny perfection.
We wrote back and forth. We’ve never met but somehow I feel she understands my aesthetic. I certainly understand hers.
It was fun. I got to call her pearl, a kind of inside joke.
I waited. And waited.
Eventually I found out Gabrielle had gone on vacation. Oh. So I waited some more. I didn’t want to nag her but sometimes I did want to ask about it.
Today I finally got the ring. I had been all set not to budge from the house until FedEx came. FedEx cooperated, ringing my doorbell shortly after 12 noon.
I don’t know how she does it. The ring was just about exactly what I’d asked for. The band fit perfectly. It was fine gold with subtle texturing. The stone glowed like pink crystal rock salt, not gaudy, but gutsy. It was big but not too big. It floated on my finger like a magic world. A happy world. The world of my creativity.
I devoted the rest of the day to getting acquainted with my ring. I looked at it from different angles. From the side it looked like a fake engagement ring, which is what had originally tickled me on the Imperial topaz on the flyer. The shape of the stone brimmed with fullness. The facets swirled like liquid in a fine wine glass. Looking into it, I could see a faint spike from the setting. Perfect! A warning that pink also has its danger and is aware. Gabrielle’s stones do not glitter from the outside, they radiate and darken from the inside. Every time I look into the stone in a different environment, it’s a different mood, a different geography. Sometimes there are small brilliant flashes on the surface. When I wear her earrings, I can’t see the shifts of light in the stones, but on my hand, it’s right there.
I love my ring.