Merit Bonus

Several years ago, when I was a recent law-school grad, I was lucky enough to be part of a team that scored a major victory in a long-running patent infringement lawsuit, which was ultimately appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (resulting in a decision that changed patent law!). To celebrate this momentous success, I bought myself a David Yurman “Albion” Pearl Ring with Diamonds:

Whenever I wear this ring, I am reminded of my professional accomplishments, the hard work that went into winning that case, and the thrill of receiving the court’s favorable decision. This ring signifies not only a career milestone, but also my first taste of having “made it” as a lawyer. Not surprisingly then, this ring often lands on my finger when I need a boost of self-confidence for a job interview, a big presentation, a networking event, or any other anxiety-inducing situation.

I was recently talking to my friend / former colleague / fellow lawyer extraordinaire Stephanie about my David Yurman ring and what it signifies to me. She recounted a similar experience with her own first David Yurman purchase:

Growing up I had an eye for the finer things. My parents would joke that I had a knack for always liking the most expensive option. Jewelry was no different. I was never really exposed to fine jewelry until I started spending my summers at ballet camp. As one would imagine, ballet camp is predominantly attended by upper middle class white girls from city suburbs. As a very middle class girl from Iowa, I learned a lot more at ballet camp than just ballet–including all about designer jewelry. Since ballet students are limited to solid color leotards and light pink tights, most girls show some personality through accessories. Every birthday, holiday, celebration that followed I begged my parents for a Tiffany’s necklace. Despite my incessant requests, my parents never followed through. I realized if I were to ever own a piece of fine jewelry it would be on my terms and something I earned.

In college, my obsession soon turned to David Yurman.  I blame going to school in Boston. A Yurman ring seemed like the perfect accessory to elevate an outfit. It became a marker of sophistication that I wanted to achieve.

Fast forward, I graduated college and began attending law school. In my second summer, I scored a position as a summer associate at a big law firm. To me, this was the highest goal I could have achieved, and if all went well, at the end of summer I would have an offer for a full-time position after graduation. For the first time, I was making an actual salary and had the feeling of true independence. I ultimately did receive an offer. I was ecstatic and proud. I knew I was going to reward myself with something to celebrate my independence and being a career woman! Where did I head next? The Yurman counter at Nordstrom (I may have made a pit stop first at a bottomless brunch for some liquid courage to make such a big purchase…). I tried on a few options and ultimately settled on a ring with the classic cable band and a black orchid gemstone surrounded by pave diamonds. After I purchased the ring (finally a piece of fine jewelry to call my own!) I wore it almost everyday. To me it was a sign of independence, and I felt like a badass feminist knowing I could work and earn my own pieces of fine jewelry.

Stephanie’s new ring on the day she bought it in 2014.
Stephanie and me at Bravocon, 2019

Do lots of young lawyers starting their careers feel compelled to buy themselves David Yurman rings, or is it just a coincidence that Stephanie and I both have similar stories??

Have you ever treated yourself to a piece of jewelry for accomplishing something big? I want to hear about it!


One thought on “Merit Bonus

  1. Haha! These stories are great! When I accomplish something “grand,” I go for something special in clothes – purse, shoes – some extravagance. I reward myself a lot!



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