“I have many great memories as a little girl on our farm in Iowa in the 1970’s. I spent a lot of time outside, and one of my favorite places to be was on the tire swing under a big Mulberry tree – enjoying the clean air, the summer breeze, and the warm sunshine. I did a lot of swinging and daydreaming, spending every moment of daylight outside like every other kid back then. I remember my bare feet on the soft green grass, stained from the Mulberries that had fallen on the ground beneath me.
One day near that old tire swing, I was playing in the dirt (we did that back then!) and I saw something that made me curious. It was a small, round piece of metal and as I cleared some soil around it, I realized it was a ring. What a find! I ran inside and gave it to mom, and while she thought it was interesting I’m sure she assumed it was just another gumball machine prize that some little girl before me had lost along the way. She tucked it in her purse and forgot about it.
A year or so later she came across the ring and decided to have it looked at. What a surprise to learn it was an old European cut diamond, estimated to be from the early 1900s! She had it reset into a ring and wore it on her right hand for many years. I’ll always remember seeing it on her hand and feeling there was something special about it; she treasured it, which made it seem even more important in my eyes. My mom was not a high-maintenance lady. She didn’t wear fancy clothes, she didn’t wear makeup, and she didn’t paint her nails. She worked hard and she didn’t ask for a lot in life; the love for her family was fierce, and she always did for others before herself. The ring was special to her, and she promised me that one day it would be mine.
That ‘one day’ came when I was a young, married mom. She gave it to me and said she wanted to make sure it made its way back to me — that it was time for me to have it. By then I had my own little ones and had shared my story of the ring with them. I told them how I found it and how the history behind it had unfolded in my imagination in many ways over the years. Was she out there somewhere, a bride still sad from losing it all those years ago? Was it a girl who never made it to the altar because of some tragic event in her life – and possibly she couldn’t bear to live with it so she threw the ring as far as she could so that she’d never have to see it again? Or, did a man lose it, and what was his story? Who lost out on their opportunity to hand it down? I would never know, but I played the story out many times in my mind, down to what the characters looked like, how they were dressed, how they felt. Sometimes I felt a little sad for the loss I knew someone had experienced, but then again, I felt that maybe this was just meant to happen.
I wore the ring for many years – and I wore it every day. After mom passed away in 2010 I thought about all those years of life that diamond lived on her finger. The ring became even more special — how thankful I was to be carrying that piece of her with me!
My daughter has always been fascinated by the ring and the story, and I made the same promise to her as my mom did to me many years ago: I knew someday I’d give it to her and the legacy would continue. That eventually happened when she and her boyfriend were getting serious and talking about marriage. He already knew the story of the ring all too well and said all she talked about was how she hoped to someday wear grandma’s ring as her wedding ring. I knew it was time for it to begin the next chapter in its long life. It had traveled as far as Australia with me, but it was time to move on.
It was emotional – I was happy for her and I knew my mom would be so proud of the smart, beautiful, successful, and kind person my daughter is. I knew if mom could be here to give it to her herself, she would love to do that. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me felt a little sad. This was a piece of mom that I carried with me, closely with me – and I was about to give it up. How did mom feel when she gave it to me? Was there a little piece of her that was sad to part with it?
The twinge of sadness I felt was short-lived. While I miss wearing the ring myself, my daughter was very close to my mom, and it brings me joy to know she carries a special piece of history and of my mom with her every day.
Some girls would insist on a new, large diamond; they wouldn’t want a ‘hand-me-down.’ Not my daughter. That is loving what matters!
And so, the ring started its journey to begin a new life. Our jeweler at Revell Jewelers in Bettendorf, Iowa, took the best care of my daughter, her fiancé, and the diamond. They worked with them to custom design a setting to give the diamond a beautiful new home. They even found two European cut diamonds to add with it, and they created a stunning ring that any girl would be proud to wear.
I’m excited for the ring to live on through my daughter, and I hope someday she has a daughter to share the story with – and someone to pass it on to. God willing, I’ll be there for that special moment.”
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