This blog is the result of my Writing Practice topic: A Jewel that I completed on February 16, 2013.

It was love at first sight. The most beautiful ring I had ever seen. There it was nestled among other lovely rings, but this one stood out…was in a class all its own. Believe me when I tell you that I am a lover of fine jewelry. My paternal grandmother started the love affair when I was about three years old when she sent me a ring for my birthday. A lovely square-cut garnet set in a simple band with delicate scrolls on each side and I was hooked for life. I wore it as a pinky ring when I was a teen and it no longer fit my ring finger. When I was in grad school, it was stolen along with several beautiful topaz rings that were bought during a trip to Mexico. I always stored it in the original round plastic container it came to me from my Grandmother…alas, now gone forever. Over the years, my parents purchased several rings for Christmas and birthday gifts. I took care of my jewelry and treasured each piece even as a small child.

Back to the ring…this beauty was a fiery milk-white opal, oval-shaped, somewhere between a dime and a nickel in size. This amazing stone was set in the most delicate, intricate braided scroll-work I had ever seen.

I begged my Mom for the ring. Being the wise parent she always was in my life, she told me if I wanted that ring, I would need to work for it. We had been down this road many times in my childhood — working for some coveted thing that I thought I just had to have. This was the most expensive ‘covet’ of my life.

We were regulars at this particular jewelry store and the owner knew my Mother well. The two of them worked out a plan that was acceptable to everyone. At my young age, I already had my own personal checking and savings accounts. Also, a credit card from Sanger-Harris (I am telling my age here), an esteemed department store home based in Dallas. (How I acquired that card is another story!) So, I had a proven credit history even as a teen of 14 or 15 years old. I really don’t remember how old I was when I fell in love with the Opal.

Anyway, the manager, with my Mom’s permission, set up a monthly revolving credit account for me that was separate from the family account. I had a regular babysitting job, so money would be coming into my checking account on a weekly basis. The deal was made, the ring purchased, fitted for sizing, paperwork signed and the ring was mine. Not so fast! The deal my Mom and the manager made was this…Mom took the ring, but it was not mine just yet. It would be placed in the family safe deposit box where all important things lived. There the Opal would remain until I made the final payment…then, it would be mine.

My Mom was a wise woman, and taught me the value of a dollar and that good things came to those who had to wait!

Month by month, payments were made and I was getting closer to having my dream ring on my finger.

That year at Christmas, my Sunday School teacher had a dress-up dinner party for the class she taught. Yes, it was all girls…we were kept apart from the boys at our church in those days.

As I was putting the finishing touches on my ever bedeviling hair, my Mom handed me a tiny white box. Carefully opening it and the gray velvet box inside, I found my beautiful Opal ring.

“Just for tonight,’ she said. She knew the ring was the perfect accessory for my white Christmas dress and this very important dinner party.

Like Cinderella at the end of the ball, my Opal had to go back to the safe deposit box the next day. I don’t remember how much was on the remaining balance of my payment plan that December, not much, but still at least a couple of payments. To my surprise, on Christmas morning when presents were passed out I had a huge present that had not been under the tree until that morning. I began opening the present carefully. Inside were several boxes, each smaller than the one before. Finally, I got to the box in the center of the last box…there was my ring and a card…Merry Christmas! Santa. I had no clue until the very last box was opened and the card read!

I still have that ring to this day and it is one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry. Just for fun about ten years ago, I priced the same ring at the same store as a replacement should the impossible happen. To my surprise, the original price was about $400.00 more than the original price. Don’t you just love inflation!

Always, I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you LOVE.

As Ever, Annie

First Posted 2/21/13

UPDATE: The house where this party was held is now mine. My first property purchase August, 2002, with the intention of creating a tea room and perhaps a small bed and breakfast at the location. That dream is still in the works and a bit of remodeling to get the kitchen and butler’s pantry of my dreams!