Professional Jeweler Archive: The Last Thing We'll Do

April 2004

Adventures in Professionalism


The Last Thing We'll Do

It took a jeweler with heart to help this customer


It was not that the metal was so precious or the diamonds so rare that made the ring special. The ring mattered to her because it mattered to her mother before her, and her mother’s mother before that.

Laura’s grandmother had been very particular. She rarely took off her ring, and if she took it off, it didn’t go back on her finger unless her husband put it there. She insisted.

For Laura’s mother, it was a clear choice. When Laura’s grandmother died, her mother told the funeral home, “The last thing we’ll do before we close the casket is to take off my mother’s ring, and you’ll put it on my finger.”

And so it was that Laura’s mother wore Laura’s grandmother’s ring. It wasn’t that the metal was so precious or the diamonds so rare. It was that it mattered to her own mother. When Laura’s mother died, Laura told the funeral home, “The last thing we’ll do before we close the casket is to take off my mother’s ring, and you’ll put it on my finger.”

Her grandmother’s ring became her own right-hand ring. Laura wore it where it would fit, on her little finger. It was not that the metal was so precious or the diamonds so rare. It was that it mattered to her mother and her grandmother. She was devastated when, a few short months later, a prong was caught and needed repair.

She took it to a jeweler who saw a chance to make a sale, because he thought it mattered that the diamonds were not so rare. He didn’t see how rare it is to have a symbol of three generations of love carried from husband to wife, from mother to daughter, from mother to daughter yet again. He thought this ring, brilliant with love, was replaceable. Laura fled that store in tears.

Yet she had to deal with the broken prong. Friends she trusted suggested another jeweler. Reluctantly, she went there and talked with the first person she encountered. She explained the prong was broken. When the jeweler started to speak, she stopped him, saying, “You’re not going to tell me about the diamonds, are you?”

“No,” he said. “I’d like you to tell me about the ring.”

The story of the ring is not that the metal is so precious or the diamonds so rare. It is the story of the ones who have given it, the ones who have worn it, three generations.

“We’ll make this ring ready for your daughter to wear one day,” he said. And they did.

It is only a footnote that within a few years the second jeweler sold Laura and her husband new 15th anniversary rings. This family has built its life on sharing enduring love, and the second jeweler offered symbols to express it.

– by Charlotte Preston

Charlotte Preston, owner of Charlotte Preston Catalysts, White Bear Lake, MN, plans educational conferences at many events in the jewelry industry, including the JCK Shows, the AGTA GemFair, the AGS Conclaves and the RJO Buying Shows.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications