I've been on my spiritual journey for over twenty years, but I've never been in a coven. My lessons are from life, from nature, from socializing with other people, and from a lot of reading and work.
My first Athame (ritual knife typically used by those inspired by Wicca and by Wiccans) was a cheap kris dagger given me by a friend. It was missing the pommel and part of the wood was damaged on the hilt, but I loved that thing to bits. I still have it tucked in my ritual gear. It is such a piece of crap! :)
My second was a letter opener designed to look like a medieval hand-and-a-half sword.
I've been through a succession. Some were gifts, others were bought online.
Last year, I commissioned a dagger from Lupa and she is so beautiful. I've been half afraid to mess her up with further personalization.
I tried stringing beads on her but that didn't mesh and were that same night rejected by the blade.
Patience is important in any spiritual life, but some things take that to new levels. It took relationships with a series of Gods and Goddesses (both called by them and simply groping in hopes of their response) and almost twenty years for me to find my Patron Goddess, Hekate.
I had to live with my new Athame for a smidge over a year to get to know her well enough to know how to fully work with her. Tonight I add my personal touches. It feels right and well and awesome. Each stroke is gliding on.
Patience pays off, whether that's in learning to sit for meditation and breathing, or in listening for what will belong upon your athame. Cultivate it, and the rewards can be massive.