Happy Friday, my lovely readers!
This is going to be a more personal post than I usually write. But that’s part of the beauty of jewelry, isn’t it? The way that certain pieces can take on meaning so much bigger than a jewel’s physical size would suggest is even possible.
I’d always assumed that if I were to marry, I would take my husband’s last name. But once I got engaged, and the question went from hypothetical to immediate, I started to feel uneasy. My name was my name and it always had been. What would it be like to wait in line at CVS and know that when it was my turn, the last name on the prescription won’t be “Cole”? Was I really prepared to surrender my serious advantage in alphabetical order situations? And wasn’t this all just the patriarchy minimizing my individual value?
After a lot of thinking, in which I imagined keeping my last name, contemplated and rejected hyphenates, and tried to picture Mr. DitL taking my last name, I decided the following things were true:
- I want my me and husband to have the same last name. I also want us to both have the same last name as any theoretical future children we may have.
- It feels appropriate for something as momentous as a marriage to effect a noticeable and permanent change visible to the outside world.
- I feel no desire to ask Mr. DitL to take my last name.
All of which adds up to: name change.
As soon as I realized I did want to change my name, I also knew something else: that the way I want to approach name change mattered to me. I didn’t want to change my name just because it’s easier to go along with tradition, I wanted to change my name because I had fully weighed my options and decided that changing my name is the choice for me. I also wanted to reach out and embrace the new name, forming my own relationship and bond with it, instead of just tacking it onto the end of my other names like an identity caboose.
The answer, of course, was jewelry.
I decided I would find the perfect signet ring, buy it for myself, and have it engraved with my soon-to-be initials, a way of honoring my new name and claiming it as my own.
I set out on an epic signet search right away; I found a lot of good options, but none that felt exactly right. Then, one day, I was browsing Circa 1700’s Instagram page for an antique jewelry fix, and I came across something incredible: a gorgeous antique signet ring with my exact future initials – RS -in perfect condition.
The signet ring is a glorious yellow 10k gold and was made by Ostby & Barton, a notable American design company established in Rhode Island in the late 1800’s. They are partly known for making beautiful pieces and partly known for the fact that Ostby lost his life on the Titanic, which is sad, obviously, but also fascinating. The publicity at the time of the disaster made their jewelry all the more popular.
I actually even think that the way that the R and the S intertwine looks like a K – which is my middle initial! It’s utterly perfect.
My signet ring has been waiting patiently in a drawer of my jewelry armoire since I found him last fall (thanks again to Susan of Circa 1700 for the find!). I’m very excited to finally be almost ready to integrate it into my regular rotation. Get ready to see this ring a LOT.
What other jewelry am I wearing at my wedding? Keep an eye on my Instagram, you might just get a peek next week!