Storied Collections: My Great-Grandmother’s Ring

April 16, 2010

JEWELRY, STORIES, STYLE, WOMEN

Ellie's Ring

Today’s WhoreStory is full of history comes from the lovely Ellie who is smart, witty and exceedingly fashionable – and Tim Gunn agrees!

This ring stayed on my mother’s right hand ring finger for at least 20 years. I remember growing up looking at this ring. I played with my mom’s rings (this one and her wedding ring) during long church services, while sitting next to her. I loved the deep blue of this ring and the delicate setting. The ring is from my great grandmother, given to my grandmother when she was a child, then handed down to my mother.

This ring has quite a history. Mom estimates that the ring is at least 110 years old. My grandmother’s family hid it in an urn to protect it when the Nazis blazed through Belgium during the war. Thankfully this ring survived (I guess the Nazis weren’t smart enough to steal from the urns). Very few of the family heirlooms survived the war. My grandmother and great-grandmother had exquisite taste. Both were Belgian and everything passed down from these women is spectacular. Since very few pieces survived the war, this ring is sentimentally valuable.

I love that my mom wore a family heirloom on a daily basis. What good is an awesome piece of jewelry if you are not going to wear it? (A side note- one other piece that survived, a pair of gold and black earrings are in my regular rotation.)

I love this ring and desperately wanted to use it for my own engagement ring. Around the time I left for college, the ring disappeared. My father was in the military, so we moved quite often. It was not unusual for something to disappear into a box during one move and not reappear for several years (or several moves). After a few years, I assumed that the ring must have been lost.

The time came for me to select my engagement ring. After a long summer in Europe, I was determined to have a simple Sapphire ring. The current style at that time in America was a big solitaire diamond while Europe favored a band of stones. My then boyfriend (now husband) exclaimed, “I just don’t know why you’d ever want a red ring!” Um, because I don’t. Can you imagine? Gee honey, real sweet proposal and all, but, I hate that ring. Anyhow, we shopped, selected, and he later designed my engagement ring. Pretty, vintage looking, very me.

I still wondered about my great grandmother’s ring.

Fast forward several years to my first daughter’s birth. Our daughter is a September baby, whose birthstone is a Sapphire. Shortly after my daughter’s birth, my mom brought me a package. My mom told me that the package contained something for the baby, “I hope she’ll wear it when she is older. I want her to have it, from her namesake.” My daughter is named for my grandmother. Inside the package was a pink heart box and inside the box was my great grandmother’s ring! I told my mother that I really wanted that ring, but thought it was lost. “Oh, no.” she said, “I just put it away for safe keeping.” Bummer. I was so upset. I would have worn that ring every day, but it looks weird having a Sapphire, platinum and diamond set on one hand and a Sapphire gold and diamond set on the other. Oh well, at least it is now safely tucked in our fire safe for our daughter.

I hope my daughter will love this ring as much as I do.

Lesson learned. I now tell my mom exactly what pieces I admire and would like to have-she usually brings me the items to wear now!

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One Response to “Storied Collections: My Great-Grandmother’s Ring”

  1. Jody Gentles Says:

    One time when I has been bored and away from place in my seat, I came and stumbled upon here, and also boy the bored and out of place feeling was gone instantly, your post is that good.

    Reply

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