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  Ask Annette: Diamonds are for Later
Ask Annette
Possessions like jewelry bear heavy symbolic messages such as, "My household income is extraordinary." Unless you prefer to broadcast your paycheck, don't wear or use anything so costly that others take turns guessing its worth.
Diamonds are for Later

Dear Annette,

My husband just gave me a beautiful large diamond ring for my birthday. I want to wear it at work, but people in my office tend not to wear expensive jewelry even though many of them could well afford to. Is it tacky to wear my ring in the office? If it is, where else can I go to get some use from my ring?

All That Glitters

Dear All That Glitters,

"A kiss on the hand may be quite continental / but diamonds are a girl's best friend." Truer words were never sung.

As a small child in a small European republic near water where everyone speaks three languages and grows flowers, I once won an English-language spelling bee with the word "accessorize." Thus your question brings back memories of my career in elementary school.

My country's version of Show-and-Tell was a fierce competition among future-arch-duchesses and fallen-arch-enemies, each modeling mummy's tiara or daddy's war medal against some lovely velvet-and-ermine wrap background while classmates held mock duels or took snapshots as training for careers as paparazzi.

I trace back to those moments my philosophy that you should always wear something that catches the light if you want to grab the attention of people with limited ability to concentrate.

That's how I met Hans. Now my People bring us champagne and canapés: it's the grown-up version of juice and cookies.

But back to your question. My stylist and I both know that few things restore the human spirit better than a bauble. It's portable, elegant, and has the added advantage that nobody will ever try to "beam" your bauble or send it messages. It won't ring either. Why not get several?

Moreover, the only accoutrement your jewelry will ever need is a tiny bottle of cleaning fluid. Hand lotion, soap, and other substances too interesting to mention reduce the adorable flash of a good diamond and cast doubt on your hand washing skills. Terrors.

Still, expensive jewelry does make its wearer conspicuous. Overstatement is not fabulous because it can cause less generous souls to think, "What did that cost?" rather than "How lovely." You know better than I do into which category your coworkers fall. But although you say your coworkers could wear such objects as yours, you also say they do not.

Perhaps it's because they recognize that possessions like jewelry, which can only be decorative, saddle their wearers with heavy symbolic messages such as, "My household income is extraordinary." Unless you prefer to circulate among your colleagues broadcasting your paycheck, you would do well not to wear or use anything so costly that they take turns guessing its worth. Computers and sportscars, of course, are exempted from this discussion, as are the special collars I get for my dog Dickie from those nice people in Switzerland.

In the workplace it is better to distinguish yourself by your achievements than by your things. If the two connect, so be it. Feel free to wear the solid-gold bracelet your company awarded you for being the top producer, but keep your special gift from your husband for later.

That time would be any company awards ceremony, testimonial dinner, or other after-six occasion you may have dreaded in your naive Pre-Ring period. Not only are these events social in nature (just the forum you need), but they also should feature the very candlelight which does such wonders for diamonds.

So get out that jewelry cleaner, practice your gestures and plan to attend each event with your ring. Don't forget your husband.

Stay fabulous,
Annette

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