I have two rings.
One is a lovely band of white gold, a pattern of entwined leaves all around. It was custom-made to my specifications, at significant expense. It’s a beautiful piece of art, a credit to the jeweler’s craft. It is virtually flawless, unsullied by time or wear.
The other is a banged-up piece of metal with a gleam that suggests silver but by no means promises it. It has a pattern somewhat reminiscent of a Celtic knot halfway around the band, and an uncanny tendency to twist around so the pattern is hidden and the plain band visible. It was plucked out of a display case on the cheap, and bears the scratches and scuffs of toil and play.
The golden ring hangs on a golden chain on my jewelry stand. I’d thought it lost forever until I dug it out of the shadowed recesses of a drawer a few days ago. It will hang there, unworn, an artifact of a time past.
The scruffy band of not-silver gleams against the keyboard as I type. It has rarely been taken off since it was slid onto my finger, many years ago. This ring is not an artifact, not a piece of art, not a precious twining of gold and platinum. It has been battered and bent, pounded out of shape and roughly back in, subjected to wear that would have twisted the soft gold ring beyond recognition. Yet it endures — older than it was, and showing that age, touched by time but not yielding to it.
I have two rings. One holds a memory. The other holds my heart.