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By now you all know about the Dear Heart ring, and the fact that I own it, and rarely take it off.

But what you don't know is that my Dear Heart ring was once desecrated beyond recognition when a shopping-mall kiosk jeweler tried to replace a stone that had fallen out and gotten lost. He botched the job so badly that my ring looked like it had been worked over by a thug with a baseball bat with orders to maim but not kill. I was crazed, and heartbroken, and totally inconsolable until a master jeweler at The Jeweler's Bench in Hershey, Pa performed the equivalent of a plastic-surgery miracle, and restored my ring to the way it looked when it was given to me.

Over the last thirty years, when the band had to be repaired and the stones replaced, I'd always go to The Jeweler's Bench because I simply did not (and do not) trust anyone else to handle my treasure. So, of course, when it came time to custom order a double-heart ring, The Jeweler's Bench was the only choice.

When I was writing Dear Heart, I knew I wanted to brand the book with double hearts and when I got tired of writing, I'd search the internet for double-heart stuff, including jewelry. I found a decent double-heart ring from China, for $1.48 -- yep, you read that right: one dollar and forty-eight cents. I ordered a couple dozen of them, which turned out to be a good thing because the band tarnished very quickly and couldn't be Tarn-Xed back to life. Plus, the garnets were more pink than red, which annoyed the hell out of me, but the size was right, as was the design, so I resigned myself to living with it until I could afford to have one custom made. And that's where Angelica comes in.

Angelica works at The Jeweler's Bench and she is a trooper. She stuck with me when I asked a million questions, requested wax mock-ups, and obsessed over the color and size of the garnets. And she didn't bat an eye when I requested additional modifications when the ring was all but finished. Angelica was as invested in the outcome as I was, especially after I told her that I was purchasing the ring to celebrate the publication of Dear Heart, the title of which, and the publication date, are engraved inside the band.

Angelica was such a joy to work with that, when I picked up the ring and settled the bill yesterday, I gave her signed copies of Dear Heart and Sweet Heart. Frankly, I just expected a polite expression of thanks, but she ran around the counter to hug me, and was so excited as she took the books from their packaging and examined all of the swag I'd included with them, that another sales woman and a customer came over to see what was going on. I felt like a celebrity at Cartier's, which was a little embarrassing, but not unpleasant.

So, here is the ring, which is now on my finger, and likely to rarely be removed:

And here are my exquisitely matched rings, set with Mozambique garnets, which are believed to be the ultimate declaration of love. Could that be any more fitting?

Heartfelt thanks to Angelica and The Jeweler's Bench, for bringing my double-heart ring to life! I delight in looking at it, and love it almost as much as the one which inspired Dear Heart.

Check them out here:

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