Rings are easy to lose. Even though the human finger is quite long with two lumpy joints, a ring can come off by itself, or worse shed a stone undetected. Sometimes the wearer finds the ring restrictive or in danger and takes it off. At such a moment the ring is in peril as it is about to be placed in a supposedly temporarily “safe” place but not the box where it is normally kept.

We lived in our home on Riverview in Houston Texas for twenty-six years and never found the emerald ring that the seller’s wife told us she had lost somewhere in the house. Now, fifty years later I search my Austin, Texas home for a lost antique Persian cabochon turquoise stone which fell out of a ring that I gave my daughter. I assume that the stone will be slightly smaller than an M&M candy. I go to extremes; after looking under the cushions in all our easy chairs, and going under every piece of furniture, I transition into phase two search. I go through the dirt in the vacuum cleaner. We pull out the refrigerator, broken glass here, no precious stone. I search clothing and gloves.

Eventually I accept that the Persian turquoise stone is lost and take the ring to a repair shop in the Mall. The ring is part of a Victorian set which I inherited from my English mother. She inherited it from her mother who inherited it from my aristocratic great-grandmother. This lady is reputed to have served as a Lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria. I speculate that this jewelry was no doubt worn in the Queen’s presence. The set consists of three screw-on receptors, one on a gold ring, one on a gold and diamond broach, and one on a gold band bracelet. There are two screw-on pieces; one is a large pearl surrounded by mine-cut diamonds and the other was the Persian cabochon turquoise stone also surrounded by mine-cut diamonds. The repair shop will find a replacement turquoise stone and reset the pearl to ensure that it does not go the same way as the Persian stone.

When the jeweler calls to discuss a replacement. I learn that the Persian stone was an extremely hard turquoise stone only found in Iran. Because of its high quality and place of origin, the Persian turquoise of today is expensive. I agree that $1,000 is too much and we settle on a Rio Grande “Sleeping Beauty” turquoise stone as a replacement. When I see “Sleeping Beauty” I am astonished at how small she looks. I have been searching for something the size of an M&M but this stone looks more like half an M&M. I speculate that something this small could go down a drain. When we return home, I have my husband dismantle the sink P-traps – nothing.

I tell everyone of the loss even after we have picked up the reset ring from the jewelers – it looks fabulous. The diamond setting makes the “Sleeping Beauty” stone look as large and beautiful as the original Persian stone. Although I have replaced the missing stone, I continue to long to find the original.  It is still on my mind and I talk about it a lot in the hope for a revelation and that someone will have an idea. My friend Martha obliges and tells me her lost and found story.

One of Martha’s many aunts lived in New York and was quite a society lady. She had beautiful jewelry and frequently wore it to the opera, theater, and formal dinners. She had a closet full of formal dresses matched by a large collection of designer shoes all of which she stored in their original boxes. One of her favorite treasured pieces was a tri-colored S setting ring featuring diamonds, rubies and sapphires. It was custom made for her by her husband using stones which he bought loose during a business trip abroad. When this aunt died, she left a complex will in which she described each piece of jewelry and carefully designated to whom she wished to bequeath it.

Martha tells me that the named recipients got together after the wake before the funeral to sort out their inheritances. Everything went smoothly except, to everyone’s dismay, the tricolored diamond, ruby, sapphire ring was missing. They looked everywhere from dressing table to safe, under beds and bureau, a dozen cousins thoroughly turning everything topsy-turvey. During the following night, my friend Martha had a revelation. For some inexplicable reason she came to believe that the ring was in one of her Aunt’s designer shoe boxes. When she got together with her relatives after the funeral Martha spoke of her strong feeling. She was so sure that they went to the shoe closet. Here Martha took down a box and opened it. The shoes lay in a bed of tissue paper. There was no ring there. Martha examined the shoes and put her hand inside. In the very toe of the right shoe her hand encountered the missing ring.

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February 3, 2021