Wednesday, August 11, 2021

That Gift to Myself

If you caught my Instagram stories on July 22, then you've already seen a spoiler about what I ultimately decided to do for that substantial gift to myself to celebrate the end of my student loan repayment journey! By coincidence, one of the rings pictured in the Mociun Instagram post I selected as an illustration for my blog post ended up being the piece I chose for myself. (As it was an older Instagram post, I think all the other pictured rings were sold long before my visit to their store.)

At present, one needs to make an appointment to shop at Mociun in person. Their online booking system doesn't seem to offer appointments sooner than two weeks out, so I actually made my appointment a little early, before I officially finished paying off my loans. I'm not sure if they'll be able to offer earlier appointments if you contact them by phone or email. 

When I made my appointment, I had a clear sense of what rings I wanted to look at: I knew I wanted a sapphire ring with at least one stone that was mostly blue or blue-green in color; I knew what my maximum budget was, up to ~$8,500 or so before tax, which excluded Mociun's larger sapphire rings; and I'd browsed their website so many times I was able to name the specific styles I wanted to look at. That meant my appointment was very straightforward and somewhat quick, they showed me the exact styles I was interested in and gave me ample time to try them on and think about which one I liked best. The sales associate was friendly, and there was definitely no pressure or pushiness. I had all the time and space I needed to figure out which of the sapphire rings in my price range I wanted, if any. 

At any rate, I'm not sure Mociun's line of mostly one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces generally allows for any realistic opportunities to upsell anyone. When I visited, they had a good number of sapphire rings available in my price range, and also a small number of rings designed around much larger stones that were, naturally, a dramatic step above my maximum price limit. This "Flying" Ring, for instance, with a ~4.5 carat kite-shaped sapphire... It looks amazing, but is very obviously not remotely in the realm of things I was considering! (Their current stock of sapphire rings in my general price range is not quite as broad, however.) 

Given my maximum budget, it was also somewhat clear I probably wasn't the right client for Mociun's custom work. Mociun make truly gorgeous and unique custom pieces, but the base price for a fully custom ring was pretty much already at the top end of my budget. So that's definitely not something I could consider at this stage of my life! But take a look at this custom ruby and diamond necklace that could be converted to bracelets they made for one of their clients, isn't that just incredible? 

The ring I ultimately chose for myself was this "Sark" ring with two sapphires - one that's a blue-purple bicolor and one that's entirely purple - and a strip of pavé-set diamonds in between. The color on both sapphires can change quite dramatically depending on the lighting. Most of my office building has somewhat anemic-looking, very yellow lighting. So when I'm indoors at work, the blue-purple bicolor stone looks very purple and the purple one starts looking very pink. But in natural light, the true colors of the sapphires shine through, and the bicolor one is blue, almost blue-green on the edges, with a purple core. The price was ~$7,200 before tax, so this was a bit under my absolute maximum budget for this celebratory gift to myself.  

I'm definitely not at all knowledgeable about sapphires or other colored gemstones, even after making this extremely fancy, one-time purchase for myself. I'd been browsing other jewelers and their sapphire rings for a few months by the time I wrote about my idea to buy myself something really fancy to celebrate my impending student loan payoff date, and I thought Mociun's designs were fairly unique. 

Other jewelers also do excellent work, of course, and could potentially have worked with me to make a custom design somewhat similar in spirit to the Mociun "Sark" ring I chose, with sapphires in the exact colors and shapes I would pick. But I didn't think anyone else in the market really had the same range of ready-made, multiple-stone sapphire ring designs like at Mociun, so I felt confident they were the best first stop for me to begin shopping for this purchase. And once I saw and tried on Mociun's ready-made sapphire rings for myself, I thought their designs were gorgeous and I felt prepared to make a purchase right away. 

From my limited online research, I understand that many types of colored gemstones - sapphires included - tend to have more visible inclusions or other flaws than, say, one might expect when shopping for diamond jewelry. 

That's also the case with my new ring, both sapphires do contain at least one more significant inclusion that's visible to the naked eye, especially if you know where to look. On the bicolor blue-purple stone there's something that looks like a ray of light cast over the surface, I think it may be a needle? On the purple stone, there's a feather inside towards the bottom of the stone, which is mostly hidden by the setting - it's more noticeable if you turn the ring over and look from the bottom - but it can also be seen from the top if you really look for it. There are also other smaller inclusions. I don't mind this because both stones still sparkle beautifully and I also love the design of this ring. But I also don't have any knowledge about how to properly value sapphires either. 

Anyway, I was very satisfied with my shopping experience and my purchase from Mociun. Though as I mentioned to Lin in the comments on my July shopping reflections post, I definitely don't think I could have brought myself to make a purchase of this size - especially given my lack of knowledge about sapphires, other colored gemstones, and how to value them - if I wasn't able to shop in person. 

K and I will be taking off tomorrow for a brief trip to Colorado for his close friend's wedding, so I think this will be my only post this week. Due to Delta variant-related news, we're maybe a little more nervous about traveling now than we were when we first booked this trip last month. But because we're fully vaccinated, only have close contact with fully vaccinated friends and family, and will be careful about masking indoors except when actively eating and drinking, we're also not too worried. 

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