Growing old and wrinkly is inevitable. It is likely that a time will come when your memory will become hazy and recollections from the past would be akin to debris scattered in the aftermath of a plane crash. I know that from experience as often enough, I can’t remember the name of my pet turtle, my loyal companion of almost twenty years.
But there are certain moments that I can recall with complete vividness, cryogenically preserved in the vaults of my memory bank. One that I remember with the utmost clarity is the day when I went down on one knee for Sarah, the woman of my dreams.
I chose a propitious day and date to ask the question. It was Friday, a sunny day with a light breeze. I went to her school at noon and waited for her outside, a nervous bumbling wreck. The kids at her school were also celebrating Valentines Day, and when she stepped out, she was carrying several bouquets and quite a few roses.
I remember the entire gamut of feelings, from trepidation to fear, exuberance and ecstasy, as she stepped down the school stairs and walked towards me, her auburn locks fluttering in the slight breeze. Even though I had rehearsed the exact moment hundreds of times in front of the mirror, I was absolutely petrified. And I am a veteran of two wars – having served with distinction.
With shaking hands, I took out the diamond ring that had belonged to my mother. Decorated with a ‘Hearts & Arrow’ diamond, the ring emitted an array of colors upon interaction with sunlight. As the stone sparkled, I realized I had lost the ability to speak.
And she stood in front of me, waiting for the magic words while I just stared at her, dumbfounded, suddenly very aware of the fact that it was readily becoming an embarrassing proposal.
“Where did you get this diamond? It’s extremely rare.” Sarah broke the silence. Still having difficulty articulating words, I quickly decided that the diamond was a safe topic for conversation; and maybe I could surreptitiously slip in the question of our marriage.
Instead, I ended up telling her about my family and my gemstone-obsessed father. My father, who was stationed in Okinawa in the eighties, had gotten the ‘Hearts & Arrows’ diamond during his time in Japan.
As a gem enthusiast, he collected a large number of precious and semi-precious stones. He even had a large number of books about them. I had browsed through a few and knew about the Belgian mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky’s ‘Diamond Design’ and the work of Kazumi Okuda.
Okuda was one of many Japanese gemologists, scientists, and researchers who were fast gaining popularity due to their work on precision diamonds. Their sophistication and techniques for cutting diamonds enhanced the beauty and brilliance of diamonds.
The pattern was discovered by accident though Kinsaku Yamashita is the man who coined the name ‘Hearts & Arrows’ in 1988. With their superior optical symmetry, H&A diamonds became all the rage.
Images of the ‘Love Cupid’ flitting around on its hummingbird-like wings popped up. Myths emerged such as the Cupid’s arrows being dipped in diamond before it struck. And then there are hearts all around.
Diamonds were already a symbol of love; the Super Ideal Cut H&A diamond quickly became the perfect manifestation of that eternal bond.
It even has a ‘Cupid Effect’, in which the pattern of eight hearts can be seen through the pavilion or the table down position, and eight arrows when the stone is viewed in the table up position.
Sarah listened to my ramblings with patience and even interest. She even tried to find the patterns only for me to tell her that one needs a specific instrument, called the ‘Firescope’, through which the pattern can be seen. I narrated to her the history of diamonds, how exactly the H&A diamonds were discovered, and the many myths associated with diamonds about cuts and color.
I think it was when I was going on about the 57 facets of the diamond when she stopped me.
“Why did you bring this Super Ideal Cut Hearts & Arrows diamond?” She asked in a deadpan voice.
I stumbled again but this time she gave me her biggest smile, the one that always warmed my heart. Straight away, I knew what I had to do. This time, I had the confidence.
In a flash, I was on one knee. “Will you marry me?”
Even today, the trip down memory lane fills me with happiness as I picture Sarah filled with joy as I slipped the Hearts & Arrow ring on her finger.
It’s been five years since she passed away but every time I look at the ring, safely ensconced inside an antique box on the mantelpiece, I am transported back in time to that exact moment when I asked her to be my companion for life. As I hold the diamond ring in the warm glow of the sun, the same colors dance in front of me like they did outside her school.
About the author: Oldtimer Mark was raised on a military base in Japan, he is a war veteran himself, having served two tours of the Middle East. Partial towards precious stones, he lives with his pet turtle in the Midwest.