*Or her diamond equivalent

I bought myself a diamond necklace earlier this month. And on the whole drive home, I smiled like a loon.

After considering that the 2014 holiday was my best holiday yet with Jac & Elsie, and after considering that my Jac & Elsie funds–the ones that don’t go back into the shop–go straight into savings, I decided I wanted to treat myself. The last time a friend visited, she wore a necklace I immediately decided I needed in my life: It was a white gold diamond solitaire in a bezel setting.

Now, when I think “diamonds,” my brain doesn’t go to “engagement ring.” It goes to “independent woman.” Diamonds are my birthstone, and they represent independence to me.

And this is why: When I was in grade school–young, we’re talking first or second grade–all my friends started getting birthstone rings. Tiny ruby, aquamarine, or emerald chips set into a tiny gold band on their tiny fingers. I got the jewelry bug early and immediately asked for a birthstone ring for my birthday.

What am I doing? Going straight for the pearls.

The original Jac & Elsie (my nani). What am I doing? Going straight for the pearls.

“Honey,” Mom told me, “mommies and daddies don’t by diamonds for you. You get a diamond when you get married. Your husband will buy one for you.”

My 8-year-old brain did an 8-year-old version of, “Oh, fuck that shit.” I decided on-the-spot that I would not be waiting for some guy to buy me a birthstone ring.

Fast forward 14 years: I am now a 22-year-old college graduate. I have received my bachelor’s degree after four years, and I will start my career two weeks after graduation. Those Raise Your Right Hand ring campaigns are in full swing, and I love them.

It was time, I decided, buy myself that diamond.

De Beers really nailed it with this campaign. Brilliant.

De Beers really nailed it with this campaign. Brilliant.

I looked for nearly a year and a half, determined to find what I wanted within my budget. I eventually found a twisty white gold ring with a series of diamond baguettes and chips set amidst the swirls. Two weeks later, I took it back on Black Friday and rebought it to save $50. I ended up spending about $250 on that ring, and it meant everything to me.

I don’t wear it often now, but it is still important to me. It represents a lot–the idea that I can achieve what I want, and I don’t need anyone else to get there. That if I want something now, I don’t have to wait for another person to help–I just have to wait for myself to get there. That I can love pretty things and still be strong.

A photo from my short-lived What I Wore jewelry edition off my previous blog. That's the ring off to the right.

A photo from my short-lived What I Wore jewelry edition off my previous blog. That’s the ring off to the right.

That last one is strangely important to me. I like jewelry (obvs). I like makeup. I like pretty dresses and things that sparkle. That does not make me less-than, though I suspect there are plenty of people out there who would look down their noses at someone who would get joy out of such frivolity, that it somehow makes me less smart or less worthy of being taken seriously.

Now, nearly 10 years after the ring, the circumstances were right: It was time to treat myself again.

I had a Monday off earlier in the month, and I made big plans to take myself to breakfast, wander the mall for a bit, and spend the afternoon writing.

At the mall, I stopped in Helzberg Diamonds to get my engagement ring cleaned and look at their necklaces. I told the woman that I was not looking to buy just yet, but I wanted to see what was available.

She showed me some beautiful necklaces, but I didn’t see anything with a bezel setting (where the diamond is wrapped with metal–I find the design looks more modern that way). I also didn’t see anything that would fit in my budget. While I didn’t want an Elizabeth Taylor-sized rock, I was hoping for more than a 1/4 carat. Something large enough to see without being gaudy.

Things didn’t look good, and I figured I could always resort to a department store, as I did with my right-hand ring.

I peeked at the clearance jewelry jewelry before I left, and she told me it was the last day for an additional 15 percent off clearance.

As I browsed the sparkling rings, earrings, and necklaces, a necklace caught my eye: white gold. Diamond solitaire. Stone about perfectly sized. Bezel set. Gorgeous chain. In clearance. Plus 15 percent off.

“Can I see that?” I asked.

“I didn’t even know that was in there,” she told me, getting the necklace out. “Well isn’t that perfect?”

She was right–it was. Upon closer inspection, I realized the stone wasn’t a true solitaire–it was one of those mosaic type pieces, made of a center piece surrounded by nine smaller diamonds. Unless I was right up on it, I didn’t notice that at all. In fact, all the extra facets seemed to make the pendant sparkle even more.

I tried on the necklace, but no. I couldn’t. I’d just started looking.

So I went home.

After three hours, I was kicking myself, so I went back.

And now this is mine.

When I got home, Mom asked me to send a picture (left). The next day, I sent her one of it on (right).

As I was talking myself into and out of buying it, I called Jeff at work. He knew I was looking, but I’m not one to make a big purchase so quickly. I sit on it (remember–it took a year and a half to buy the ring) and look for better deals and change my mind and can’t make a decision. I didn’t want to do this here, and Jeff said the magic words, “Treat yourself.”

If you’re not a fan of diamonds, find some other way to treat yourself. I don’t mean to advocate irresponsibility with your money, but if you have the funds, do it: Buy yourself something that most people don’t ever receive unless it’s a gift. It’ll mean more to you than if someone else buys it, I swear.