The only beauty greater than finding love itself, is the moment when we express it to our partner – and when it comes to popping that question, women have been turning tables on tradition and are taking charge of their own narrative – breathing life into love stories that sparkle.
Sure, we dream of it, even see it play out in the lives of those we hold dear – but, when it actually happens to us one fine day, it knocks the wind out of us entirely.
And that’s the beauty of it – the fact that love happens suddenly and sometimes, where you’d least expect it to. No wonder that when asked where she first met the love of her life, 22- year-old Durga laughs out loud.
“Would you believe we first met in a cemetery, of all places?”
Durga had been travelling alone across Europe for 3 weeks, on a trip to celebrate her recent graduation in Art History from a college in Delhi. She’d saved for the city of her dreams – Paris – for the very end of the trip and on her last day in the city, she’d decided to go to the fabled Pere-Lachaise Cemetery to visit the resting place of her favourite singer, Edith Piaf. Having placed a red rose at the songstress’ grave, as Durga tried to find her way out of the sprawling complex, she heard a man singing in the distance. “He was sitting under a tree, eyes closed, strumming a guitar, singing softly to Jim Morrison’s grave. I sat down in the distance silently, listening. When he finished, he opened his eyes and smiled at me. Disarmingly, without the slightest hesitation – as though we were old friends, not complete strangers”, Durga remembers.
Julien was 23, sang in a French rock band at a Montmarte café and came by Jim Morrison’s grave every Sunday without fail. It gave him peace, he explained to Durga. “We walked around together – he showed me Oscar Wilde’s tombstone, we talked about our favourite books, music and shared beliefs. He took me to meet his artist friends in Montmarte and later that night, while dropping me to the airport, he suddenly asked if I would mind terribly if he dropped everything and flew to India with me.”
Durga remembers being initially surprised, incredulous even – but something about Julien made her trust her instincts and she wanted this whirlwind adventure to go on.
She couldn’t put her finger on it, but something about Julien just felt right – worth embarking on a whirlwind adventure for. Durga stopped the taxi outside his apartment long enough for him to run up and get his passport, and then they flew back to her hometown in India – Jaipur – spending two weeks together, discovering the city – and each other, falling deeper in love.
“On his last day here, we were walking along Jaipur’s historic roads one last time, when we passed one of the city’s famed Jeweler’s stores. I’m not entirely sure what came over me, but I dragged him in on an impulse, half-laughing as I did it. Inside, when I found a men’s gold band, with a single, sparkling natural diamond embedded in it, I knew it was a sign! It was so beautifully simple, because of which it was so compelling – just like our love for each other”, she laughs.
Durga slipped it on Julien’s finger, as he looked up in surprise – “Will you please stay?”
He’d smiled in reply, she remembers – the same one that had made her fall in love the first time – and said “Yes!”
Not all love stories begin at first sight though, nor are they all fairy tales, reminisces 49-year-old Joyita about the time she first met her soulmate, Krishnan, almost 35 years ago. Growing up as neighbours – and childhood sweethearts – in two very different, equally conservative households in 80’s Chennai, Joyita and Krishnan had to keep their love secret, silently vowing to always remain true to each other when they realized that their families would oppose their marriage.
Both individuals determined to pursue their individual dream, moved to different cities after graduation. Krishnan made it big as an investment banker on Wall Street, while Joyita opened a bakery nestled on a sunny beach in Goa.
“We kept in touch with each other over the decades, infrequently and hesitant at first, but then more and more frequently and frankly as time went by. At first, when we were younger – we used to avoid talking of our feelings entirely, pretending to each other that we had forgotten – that we were just friends. But as we grew older, we both began to realise that we were still very much in love – in fact, it had only grown, mellowing with a maturity that gave our love more confidence to express itself”.
And so, it was on a monsoon night in Goa almost ten years ago, that Joyita answered her doorbell to unexpectedly find a rain-soaked Krishnan on her doorstep. He’d spent the past few months closing up his affairs in New York so that he could move back to India – and he’d had no thought except coming to see Joyita first.
“He moved in that very night”, Joyita smiles – “and it’s been a decade of togetherness since. It’s probably not the most romantic story, but to us, it was finally like our little piece of heaven. Having lived apart for so long, we now relish every moment, comfortable even in our silences together.”
It was probably about a year-and-a-half back, Joyita muses, that she started designing a ring for Krishnan, sketching her ideas in a book, as she sat on the beach most evenings – watching him read, or run around with their dogs in the sand. “I wanted the ring to represent us – and our love story – and diamonds were the most natural, romantic choice to me. The stone’s inherent resilience and sparkle reminded me of what we have been through, to finally shine together today”.
She slipped him the ring last Valentine’s day, as they both sat under the moonlight that night, their toes in the sand, the water crashing at their feet.
“What took you so long?” Krishnan said in reply, Joyita smiles as she remembers – right before he took her hands in his.
“And then,” Joyita laughs, “He said Yes!”
How does one manifest this incredible, extraordinary love into an eternal piece of diamond jewellery? The engagement ring you pick out for your man is not just a marker of your union, it’s an emotion he will wear every single day.
So, let us guide you through these five things to keep in mind when buying the ideal engagement ring for your partner.
The Metal There is no ideal metal for a men’s engagement ring. However, platinum’s soft white colour and durability, makes it a top choice. Pick a unique dual-metal gold and platinum diamond ring for a more style-forward pick or gold if he’s a man of classic sensibility.
The Design Sleek, subtle and sophisticated are the keywords for the design. Solitaire rings with a ‘flush setting’ are preferred by men who lean towards understated elegance, whereas bolder, more intricate designs suit the adventurous ones.
The Gem Don’t limit yourself to white diamonds when it comes to him. Black, champagne and yellow natural diamonds are also exciting options for men!
The Fit Make sure the band of the ring has smooth sides and fits snugly on his finger. If he picks utility over style make sure to go with metals and patterns that are designed to be light on the finger.
The Finish A ‘matte’ finish is for those who like to keep it understated with a flat, modern look. If your man is more fashion-forward, the glossy, gleaming ‘high polish’ is the finish for him. You can also choose to take a middle path with the unconventional ‘sand-blasting’ finish and give it a truly unique elegance.