I remember two things vividly from my Grandmother’s house when I was young. The first was a gorgeous blown glass paperweight in the shape of a sparrow.  The whole thing was clear glass but for its center, which was made of tiny flecks of color that lent movement, vibrancy and life to a tiny piece of art.  I marveled at it every time I visited, along with her beautiful wedding rings.

She never wore them, which was strange to me then, but which makes sense to me now.  She always wore her mother’s engagement ring and wedding band instead.  Now that I’m older, I completely understand the desire to wear a piece of jewelry that was so meaningful to someone you were so close to.  My grandmother helped raise me since I was very young and my parents divorced, so I was often at her house. She was always a mother to me.

I remember the feel of those platinum rings on my fingers – so big when I was young – and fitting perfectly as I grew up. She always told me to “be careful with them, they’re fragile”, so I was always gentle when I picked them up and slid them over my fingertip.  There were three old european cut diamonds on the engagement ring, with the center one slightly bigger, and all of them were in a gorgeous, almost floral setting which seems to be extremely rare. It looks similar to the buttercup or belcher setting, but only has four prongs. On the wedding band, there were four stones across, and they were all in the same petal shaped prongs.

The stones in the wedding band kind of had a little wiggle to them, though. If you shook the ring (which I wasn’t supposed to), you could hear the tiniest whisper of a clink when the diamond met the setting. It was difficult to convince her that we needed to find someone who really loved and took genuine care of antique jewelry.  They deserved to be fixed and worn, but she didn’t want to let them out of her sight. I ended up finding a really amazing jeweler in South Carolina, an older gentleman whose family had been in the jewelry repair and sales business for over one hundred years.  Being of my grandmother’s age, he understood her unwillingness to let a stranger hold them for several days, and he ended up coming to our house to fix the rings.  Unheard of, but still one of the most gracious things I’ve ever witnessed. (I ended up using the same site, by the way, when I broke the clasp on my husband’s watch while we were on vacation in Nashville.  That place had me in and out in less than an hour and my husband never knew a thing had happened!)

I rarely get to see my grandmother anymore, but I talk to her as often as possible.  She still lets me try on the rings when I visit, and then we sit at the kitchen table and have tea. I smile when I catch the sparkle out of the corner of my eye while we talk. It makes me feel close to her, as if I’m wearing my mother’s rings just as she wears her mother’s rings.  I am so blessed to have such a strong, amazing woman in my life.  Just like we had to find someone to repair her jewelry, I always go to her when I need some repair done on my heart.

The rings are meant to come to me when she passes, and I will take such good care of them in her memory. She’s always been the brightest shining star in my life, and I will think of her every day whether I wear them or not.

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