My grandmother on my dad’s side left me her wedding ring. For years I have just kept it in a box, it was too small for me to wear and I didn’t know what to do with it. I loved the vintage design of it and wanted to somehow recreate the ring. My original plan was to use her ring as my engagement ring (letting Brad off the hook) and update the center stone…or use the stones in another setting. Colin, the jeweler Brad and I went to, at Shah Shah (an incredibly hidden, family run, word-of-mouth jeweler in DC), was tremendously patient, creative, and a delight to work with. Her ring was handmade, unique for the 1930s (as even now most rings are made as a cast) and was made incredibly well. Go grandpa! I then didn’t want to destroy the setting, as the setting itself was more of a keepsake than the stones they held. He could expand the head of the ring to accommodate a bigger center diamond but when I tried on wedding bands it just didn’t look quite right. This was a ring designed more as an engagement and a wedding band all in one. I’m not even sure if my grandmother had a second band. If the engagement ring was more from my grandmother, I knew I wanted a separate wedding band so the idea didn’t quite pan out as I had imagined. Colin, being the great jeweler that he is, suggested setting a stunning sapphire in the center to balance and accent the diamonds and gold band. Hovering a blue sapphire above the center stone in our design process made the ring just ‘pop’. I preferred an oblong shaped center stone, it seemed to balance out the wider band. We sent it off for Colin to recreate and I was patiently waiting at home. It was in the midst of finals week and so it wasn’t until near my birthday that I asked my mom is she had heard anything..she had her wedding ring and engagement ring resized at the same time. She said they would be ready after the holidays, even adding that she told Colin there was no rush.
I had been very adamant that I, not Brad, was to pay for the design. He tends to spoil me and usually wins…but if it wasn’t going to be my engagement ring I wanted it to be wholly separate and mine. I wanted to honor my grandmother and make it a piece of jewelry that I could and would wear daily.
On my birthday I had a small box from my parents. I opened it up to see my ring, my grandmother’s ring, my link to her life of love and her past and her joy and her longing to share it with me.
It is stunning.
I had not forgotten about the center diamond that I replaced, but had no idea what to do with it. I figured that in a few years down the line I could find some piece of jewelry to incorporate it into.
I opened another present in a small box, this time from Brad. I was surprised to see a beautiful pendant necklace. He had used her center diamond and designed a white gold pendant for the stone to be set in. The back was open to capture the light and make the diamond sparkle even more. I was touched.
Now I have two beautiful pieces to wear. I hope my grandmother knows how special of a gift her ring is to me. I hope she knows that I will cherish and wear both pieces with the love she had in her life.
What special pieces of jewelry do you have?