When I was in my 40's my grandmother told me she wanted me to have her engagement ring when she left this world for the next one. I didn't really want her to talk about giving up her ring because it meant that I would have to think about her dying which I wasn't ready to think about. She was in her mid 60's I believe when she told me this. She had a daughter who already had several diamonds and had ask her if it would be okay for her to give it to me, since I was the oldest granddaughter. This ring was her most prized possession, the only thing that she felt had any real value. She had rhinestones and other pieces of costume jewelry but her engagement ring was one of the few things she held close to her heart.
|My Grandmother's Ring|
There is also a bit of history surrounding this ring and a story to tell about how my grandmother received it. When she and my grandfather were married, he gave her a wedding band but no engagement ring. There wasn't enough money for him to purchase her a proper engagement ring at the time so years later when my aunt, her daughter, was stationed in Germany (my uncle was in the military and they lived there) she came home for a visit and my grandfather gave her $500.00 and ask her to purchase her a proper engagement ring as a surprise. So, my aunt found a lovely 1/4 carat blue diamond in a white gold setting. It was so beautiful and sparkled so brightly that my aunt purchased one for herself as well.
My grandmother was so surprised and happy when she received it that she never took it off. When I look back and think about all that she and her sweet hands did for us over the years I can feel the love in that very ring that she never removed except for the occasional prong tightening and cleaning. Some years later, she noticed that one of the prongs seemed loose and asked my grandfather to take it to a jeweler to have it checked. Growing up in the depression, he developed a habit of being very conservative with his money and was always looking for the most inexpensive ways to do things so instead of taking it to a reputable jeweler he chose instead a cheaper jeweler, one not so trustworthy. When he brought the ring back to my grandmother she noticed that the ring didn't sparkle like it used to, something she would mention many times over her remaining years.
It then came to light that this jeweler, who my grandfather trusted my grandmother's ring with, had gotten into trouble by removing expensive diamonds from the settings and replacing them with cheap stones that were chipped and not worth anything. He was prosecuted, convicted and sent to jail but not before the many people he scammed found out about it. My grandmother's ring was one of them. She didn't know about this but my aunt did and she told me the story. My heart ached for my grandmother and how she would feel knowing that the only thing in her entire life that she felt was worth something, something she thought should be handed down to future generations was worth nothing. I'm so very glad she never knew. (At least I don't believe she knew...she never mentioned it if she did) After she passed away and I had the ring, I took it to a reputable jeweler who confirmed that the diamond in the setting was worth less than the setting itself. He told me that they didn't make a setting like this anymore and that it was very old. I kept the ring in the box that my grandmother gave me for several years trying to decide if I should replace the diamond with a good one thus restoring it to what she had before the incident.
Then one day I decided I would do that for her...give her back the ring she thought she had. I went to a jeweler that my dad recommended knowing that I was leaving it in good hands. I didn't want to make the diamond any larger or do anything that would compromise the ring from its original look. I knew the band needed to be re-shanked because it was very thin and so worn I was afraid it would break into. So, I had this done and a very good diamond put in place of the old one. I kept the old diamond and gave it to my sister so that she could have a necklace made out of it, giving her something of my grandmother, too. It took about a month before the ring was finished.
When I walked out of the jewelry store that day with her ring on my finger I had the most amazing feeling, a tingling sensation. I could see my grandmother's face in my mind's eye beaming with light all around it, the sweet smile she always had on her face and I knew then that I had brought back to life the ring that sparkled so brightly in the sunlight, the ring that she held as the most important earthly possession she had ever had and the love that came with the ring that she bequeathed to me. No other piece of jewelry would ever come to mean as much to me as her ring and the love that it represented.