Giving A Special Gift To Yourself

Katie Young
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Wednesday - August 02, 2006

Who says you can’t treat yourself to something nice? Especially if it’s for a special occasion, especially if it’s just once a year on your birthday, and if that birthday is a momentous one (like my big 3-0 this weekend.)

“Do you think it’s weird if I buy myself a birthday present?” I asked my gal pal Millie.

“Not at all!” Millie said, noting that on her 30th birthday, she splurged on her first-ever Louis Vuitton handbag.

For years, Millie had been waiting for such an extravagant gift to be given by a boyfriend. She thought, “That bag is too expensive for me to buy. It seems frivolous and selfish to spend all that money on myself.”

So instead, Millie would spend the money on other people, but always secretly hoped that someone would see fit to splurge and buy her that dream purse.

By the time Millie was about to turn 30, she had a change of heart. Who better to spend her money on than herself? After all, she had worked hard to earn it. So a week before she hit the three-decade mark, Millie took a trip to Ala Moana Center and purchased the designer bag our friends now affectionately refer to as “Louis.”

For Millie, this bag now represented her independence, her personal success, her strength and her assertiveness.

“Why was I waiting around for a man to spoil me, when I could do it myself?” Millie wondered.

The “self-gift” can be anything, as long as it’s special. Buy something you wouldn’t normally buy yourself, like a nice piece of jewelry; or buy something you’ll use, like a purse or a new set of golf clubs. Every time you use it (or wear it) you’ll remember it was bought especially for you, by you.

It was with this in mind that I set out to find my 30th birthday present to myself. I already knew what I wanted long before I hit the mall.

For years, I’ve been a jewelry lover. Of course, I’ve never really been able to afford pricey fine jewelry and always waited for my parents or significant other to gift such items on special occasions.

But after Millie’s little pep talk, I decided what I really wanted was to find a nice ring. I thought, when you’re 30 and still single (meaning no diamond ring sitting on your left hand), what better way to celebrate your independence and all you’ve accomplished thus far in your life by buying yourself a ring to wear on your other hand?

There’s actually a name for it: “The right hand ring.” And according to Macy’s director of special events, Lavina Wong, there was a campaign to launch the right hand ring in 2003.

The sentiment behind the right hand ring is this: Traditionally, diamond rings have been given as a gift from a man to his woman in engagement or marriage. Today, the new tradition is fashion diamond rings worn on the right hand, bought by the woman herself to celebrate her individuality. Furthermore, who says you have to be married or engaged to enjoy the brilliant sparkle of a ring on your finger?

The rings are not only being positioned on a different hand, but they also differ significantly in design. Since the right hand ring is typically worn on a daily basis, diamonds are the most sought-after stone, but other, more sturdy gem-stones are also popular including sapphires and rubies. Many women are also opting to have their ring set in 10k or 14k white or yellow gold, though platinum settings are not unheard of.

According to Wong, the price of a diamond right hand ring at Macy’s can run anywhere between $790 to $11,999, depending on carat weight.

Styles vary greatly from your traditional wedding ring design as well. Nicolette Williams, store manager of Kay Jewelers in Windward Mall, says that instead of the single big stone diamond, right hand ring designs follow a more modern look.

“They are very popular, ranging from 1/2 carat to 2 or 3 carats in weight. But they use many smaller stones instead of one big stone,” she says. “Right hand rings have a more vintage look and are typically chunky, not dainty.”

Kay Jewelers carries more than 70 styles of right hand rings ranging from $100 to $5,000.

Wong says at Macy’s women are looking for interesting and distinctive designs such as bamboo, bubbles, circles/swirls, bypass and crisscross, and adds that since the launch of the diamond right hand ring campaign, this category represents 12 percent of the total diamond jewelry market (and 21 percent of sales at Christmas).

Williams says the first slogan of the right hand ring campaign was “Women of the world, raise your right hand to show your independence.“And while up until this point many women felt uncomfortable purchasing themselves a diamond ring, she now notes that 85 percent of the people buying the right hand ring are women who feel they deserve to treat themselves.

Women of all walks of life are sporting the right hand ring (and if you can’t afford the real diamond options, even a sterling silver ring will do just fine.)

As for me, my shopping trip to the mall proved successful; I found just what I was looking for (and it was on sale!)

As of Aug. 6, I’ll be sporting a fun, chunky, square ruby ring surrounded by little diamonds on the ring finger ... of my right hand. It’s trendy, but with an air of elegance. And every time I look at it, I’ll be reminded of the gift I gave myself on my 30th birthday - because I was worth it.

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