I know a guy who knows a guy. He keeps office hours in a leather booth by the back door in this local bistro just past Grand Street. My friend tells me, you need anything, go see this guy. He's connected. He can make things happen. He likes desserts.
I show up around supper with a wish list and a box of biscotti. I tell this guy I want to put together a real man's ring. The kind of ring you see on a guy who doesn't park his own car, buy off the rack or order off the menu. It should be sophisticated, with a dash of sparkle. Add some genuine stones and keep the shank thick and solid. "Got it," he says. "Come see me in a week."
When I see him again, he's working on a meatball the size of my fist. He points to a box with his fork and keeps chewing. The ring inside is a work of art, exactly as I had pictured it but somehow even better than I imagined. Its broad .925 sterling-silver band meets at a spectacular grid of natural sapphires and full-cut white diamonds. The geometric design sparkles with hundreds of light-catching facets set within gleaming frames finished in stunning gold. Even under the dim lights of the restaurant, it commands respect. I tell him I'm impressed. He asks what's in my bag. I tell him I brought some cannoli.
"You know what to do next," he said.