I look up from my knees into her dark eyes and reach into my pocket.
Gold, with a bulging sparkly rock, is the traditional choice. Gold is the softest metal: unchanging, eternal and above all else precious. Its dull, deep, yellow lustre has always called to mankind: the ageless symbol of material wealth. But this wasn’t the kind of valuable I had in mind.
The geek generation often chooses titanium: strong, light and uncorrodible. Its incredible toughness was unthinkable to the endless generations before us: a child of our technological genius. It is a better metal: made by us and for us. The flat perfectly machined gleam is elegant and sophisticated but cold. My offer is neither modern nor cold.
Instead I chose silver: the household metal; the metal of cutlery, coins and teapots. Kept as heirlooms but never in a safe; silver is the metal of men and not just kings.
This ring was fashioned from a Victorian shilling I had been given in childhood: good white metal, according to the silversmith, pure and true. The design was from an ancient Celt who, two millennia before an archaeologist unearthed it, had drawn those twisting lines to speak of betrothal.
Silver is reflective, the metal that heals and preserves. It is easily tarnished and easily cleaned. This ring, like me, will wear in the coming decades; and perhaps age and familiarity will deepen its beauty.
I pull the ring from my pocket and hold it up between her eyes and mine.