In the cobbled sprawl of Camden market, beyond the DayGlo circus store, past the goth shops and their velvet corsets, near enough to the street-food stalls to smell paella, Greek sausages and Japanese tempura, there’s a tiny shop. Outside, there is usually a display case or two of odd silvery treasures, and inside there are shelves of earrings, cufflinks, bracelets and rings. While there are enough treasures to captivate the more discerning magpie, there’s none of the overwhelming metallic jumble in which many of the other jewellery stalls specialise.
Roger Stone is the name above the door and the man behind the counter. He – or perhaps it was his wife, or his son, who work alongside him in this treasure chest – made mine and Nick’s wedding rings. Thick, chunky silver rings, they each have an inscription inside (I’ll not reveal those – other people’s pet names are always nauseating). I still have the carbon copy from when I ordered them tucked in my wallet, grey-edged along six-year-old folds.
I bought presents for our bridesmaids from here, too. Tiny, elongated silver hearts on impossibly fine chains for Mia, Lucy and Esme, three impossibly fine girls. The last present that I bought Nick before the accident, a bracelet for his birthday, came from here. He wore it for six days before he was hit by that car.
I mention all this because Mr Stone and Co’s work hasn’t been far from my mind this week. My darling friend Sophie is getting married and, as a fellow Camden dweller, she has just visited the shop, all glitter out front and hard-graft grime in the workshop beyond. I secretly hope that she and Ben do get their bands here, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter – there’s one or two other things that go into making a marriage – but it makes me happy to think of being bound to my friends with my wedding ring as well as to my husband. Likewise, I love the fact that our mates Mike and Tash have Roger’s rings, too.
I also visited the shop recently on a mission. Later this month, Nick and I are renewing our wedding vows, a practice I used to be a bit sniffy about. My sniffiness was cured when Nick couldn’t remember that we were married, and when he found out that we were, told me that he wanted to marry me again. The vowel renewal, as I keep accidentally calling it, has also been something for Nick to aim for, to focus on, over the past few months. On his insistence, I bought a ring for myself to mark the occasion.
But more excitingly, I also reunited the fourth finger of Nick’s left hand with his wedding ring. The ring was handed to me by the ambulance crew on the night of his accident and has been tucked out of sight, if not out of mind, in a drawer since then. Although Nick’s fourth and fifth fingers err towards the claw-like, there is now finally enough flexibility – and determination from Nick – to squidge the band back on. For the past couple of days I keep spotting him gazing at it. He tells me that it will never, ever leave his finger again. So come the vows, I think we’ll be raising a toast to the Stone family as well as to each other.