"It's a beautiful little thing and she gets compliments from people all the time, because the stone really is something else - it's alive"

I knew my wife Hannah for a few years before I ever actually spoke to her. She was the trumpet player in a band with some friends of mine. I was friendly with everyone in the band but Hannah was quite reserved so I didn't get to  know her very well.

The band often played gigs in London and sometimes some of the band would stay at my flat and drive home to Birmingham the next day. On one occasion they told me that they were all heading straight back to Birmingham that same evening, but Hannah needed to get the Eurostar the next morning so they asked if she could stay at mine that night. I was very glad to oblige as I had always wanted to talk to her. Unfortunately she was going through a tough time personally and was not very talkative that night. The next morning I walked her to the bus stop and handed her the book 'Franny and Zooey' by J D Salinger and said "when I feel like you're feeling, I really find that this helps".

We didn’t really speak again for a couple of years, and then one day I read a post on her Facebook that said "Sometimes the gift of the right book at the right time can be worth more than anything else in the world" - so naturally I ‘liked’ it. From there a lengthy email conversation ensued, until we decided to meet at a point between Birmingham and London, Warwick Castle.

Years later at our wedding reception every guest received a battered old copy of 'Franny and Zooey' (I had bought over 200 copies from online second-hand bookshops) and inside every copy was a beautifully drawn bookplate by Hannah's twin sister with the quote 'this old book started something new'.

"Every guest received a copy of 'Franny and Zooey' and inside each was a beautifully drawn bookplate with the quote 'this old book started something new'"

My experience of buying the engagement ring with Ingle & Rhode was great. It was important to me that I dealt with an ethical company in what is a notoriously shady and unhappy business - the real story behind so many people's happiest moments are stories of slavery, suffering, violence and pollution. I didn't want anything to do with any of that. It wasn't straightforward as Hannah does not wear rings or jewellery, so I was unable to figure out her size, therefore initially we focused on just finding her a nice stone. In the end I decided it would be most appropriate for Hannah's small hands to get her a small but pure diamond. A few weeks later we had three perfect candidates, and I chose one. We put it into a little box with tissue paper and that was that.

I proposed to Hannah while on holiday in Oregon. The stone was in my pocket constantly and the perfect moment came on the rim of Crater Lake just as the sun was going down. I held out the box and the diamond was like a brilliant little laser as the setting sun hit it. When we were back from holiday she worked with Ingle & Rhode to get the right style of ring made for her. It's a beautiful little thing and she gets compliments from people all the time, because the stone really is something else - it's alive.

hannah & matthew
matthew's chosen diamond

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