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A story of love, Washington Post deadlines, commodities prices and Whole Foods [famousDC Love]

Last week, while reporting a story about high gold prices, Washington Post staff writer Ylan Q. Mui asked District resident Noah Cuttler what effect the rising costs would have on his plans to surprise his girlfriend, Garen Singer, with an engagement ring. That put him in a quandary: Should he reveal his intentions in the article? The interview sent Cuttler, urged by two friends, on a romantic adventure. Here is Cuttler’s account of what happened when the demands of journalism collided with a volatile commodities market.

On Thursday, Jen Zuccarelli, my ex-roommate and hard-nosed press person for the Department of Treasury, e-mailed me. “Wash Post wants to talk to you about something. DO NOT FWD this e-mail to Garen.”

I’ve known Jen for three years, mostly in the context of someone who loves “The Wire,” a healthy dose of trash television like “The Girls Next Door” and, of course, pillaging our other roommate’s mint chocolate chip ice cream. I snapped to attention.

“They want to interview you about your choice in metals for the ring. But you’d be speaking strictly on background so you aren’t unmasked,” she instructed in firm press speak. I was happy to do that, but in a follow-up e-mail Jen copied my other ex-roommate, Jaci Barrett, bound for Harvard Business School. Jaci, late to the conversation, added, “This is great. Is this how he’s going to purpose?” [read it all here]

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the original article that ran Saturday. Well played Noah Cuttler, you’re a modern day Casanova!

For some people, however, no compromise is acceptable. Take Noah Cuttler, 29, of the District. He met his true love, Garen Singer, 28, about a year and a half ago during Yom Kippur service at Washington Hebrew Congregation in Cleveland Park. They have dated ever since, and Cuttler decided two months ago he was ready to pop the question.

Through his friends, he found an independent dealer in Maryland who helped school him in the four C’s of diamond buying — cut, clarity, color and, of course, carat. But Cuttler had little idea that the band would be just as important.

He knew platinum was the metal of choice, but there were white gold and yellow gold to consider. His dealer urged him not to go down that road.

“He wouldn’t even show me gold because of the pricing on it now,” Cuttler said.

He thought about buying a loose diamond and getting the band elsewhere to save money. He even walked into Tiny Jewel Box, but walked out after seeing the prices.

The bands “were so small, I couldn’t imagine what would sit on it,” Cuttler said. “And they were more than I ever wanted to spend.”

Finally, he pulled out his credit card and charged $1,000 for a platinum band from his dealer and several thousand dollars more for a 1.3-carat diamond. He plans to propose after she reads this article.

“I know she’ll be happy with whatever, but at the same time . . . it’s supposed to be for a lifetime,” he said.