Last week, I had the unfortunate duty of going through my father’s jewelry box. He won’t need it anymore.
In addition to the expected stuff, like his class rings, a silver ID bracelet, and some remarkably hideous monogrammed tie tacks, we found a ring of mysterious origin. It seems to be some sort of class ring. It’s gorgeous, and I love it, and I’m wearing it right now. But I’m quite curious about it. I might never know how it came to be in my father’s jewelry box, but I hope I can at least learn where it originally came from.
I assume that there are databases of information to help identify this type of jewelry. (If I’ve seen it on CSI, it must be real, right?) But I don’t know how to find the information. Googling didn’t help.
Hopefully, some kind Doper will be able to point me in the right direction.
Here is some specific information about the ring, in case it’s relevant:
–It’s a men’s ring. I’d say the style of the ring is art deco.
–It has a blue stone. On the stone is a gold shield-shaped insignia with the letter L on it.
–On one side, “50” is molded in. “RL” is on the other side.
–The inside is marked “10K” and over that is stamped “NRDCO.” (My jeweler looked up NRDCO in some sort of a trademark reference book from 1984 and didn’t find it.)
–It is most likely from Queens or Brooklyn, as my father grew up there. But who knows?
I have no easy way to post a picture of it, but I can figure out a way if it will help.
I’m sure that if you go to a few good jewelers, you could probably get a lot more information about the ring.
If there’s a 50 on it, maybe it’s a class ring? Did he graduate from anywhere in 1950? Maybe it’s a 50-year anniversary ring of some sort? Was he involved with any sort of club or organization for 50 years? Maybe a present for his 50th birthday?
It definitely appears to be a class ring from 1950.
It is not his own ring. His initials aren’t R.L., and he didn’t graduate from anywhere in 1950. (Born in 1938) His high school and college rings were present and accounted for, so we know it’s not from either one of those places.
He probably acquired the ring prior to my parent’s marriage in 1963. My mom hadn’t seen the ring before. My father didn’t wear any jewelry, so it’s not like she saw what was in the jewelry box on any kind of regular basis, so it could have sat there for 40+ years without her seeing it. There was more recent stuff in the jewelry box, like some commemorative pins, so we know that he was putting stuff into the box. But this ring is remarkable enough that I think pop would have showed it to ma before he put it in the box. So I think he probably came into possession of it over 40 years ago, and kept it ever since.
I actually do have a hunch about who R.L. might be but it’s kind of a long shot, and I have no way of tracing it from that direction.
My aunt (pop’s sister) hasn’t actually seen the ring yet. I described it to her on the phone, and she can’t think of anything, but maybe she’ll recognize it.
Do you know if that is the case for more recent rings, only, or if it has always been that way? But you make a great point–the insignia on the stone is an L, and the initials on the side are “RL.” Could the L refer to the same thing? But if initials were ever molded into the ring itself, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it was done for this ring. The construction and detailing suggest that this was an expensive ring.
Johnny Bravo: I’m not entirely sure it’s a class ring. But it sure seems like one. The jeweler did seem pretty certain that the NRDCO did refer to the manufacturer, however. It does look like it was stamped with the same stamp as the 10K. My father was a CPA, as was his father.
Another detail–this ring looks like was worn pretty regularly, at least for a while. There is some visible wear and tear…
My hunch about who RL might be–back when my father was a little kid, he idolized an older boy named Richard. As I heard the story, Richard was the son or the local auto mechanic and had a really terrific train set. My father decided that Richard was so great that he wanted to change his name to Richard. So he asked his parents about it. They said no to that, but suggested that since he didn’t have a middle name, that he should take on Richard as a middle name. Which he did. And for the rest of his life, he always used the middle initial of R. It’s on all official documents and such. (It also made his initials NRG which is cool. NRG=energy!) So that’s who RL might be, but doesn’t explain how pop got his ring. I thought the connection was too tenuous, but when I was telling my aunt about the ring, it’s the first thing she thought of, so maybe it’s not so farfetched.
I’m also holding out hope that my mom will remember something about it. She’s obviously a little preoccupied at the moment.
About the “10K” - you probably already know this, but on I’ll go anyway - that refers to the purity of the gold in the ring. AFAIK, pure gold isn’t used for jewellry because it’s too ductile and bends too easily, meaning you’d lose the structure of the ring. It’s usually mixed with another metal that’s stronger and will better hold the shape of the object.
I believe 24K is the purest that’s generally used in jewellry, while 10K, 14K, and (sometimes) 18K being the most common.
Green Bean. If it’s not too personal, what town/State did your dad graduate from HS? What school? That might give a clue for searching for a school with those letters, assuming that’s what it is rather than molded initials of a persons name.
I don’t think there is anything you can say “it’s always been that way about” – you’ll find an exception to anything. But I’ll offer a data point: I have my grandfather’s high school ring in front of me right now – it has the year (42) on one side, the initials DHS (for Davenport High School) on the other, both of those items being built into the mold. Inside, rather worn but still discernable, are FCI – his initials.
Actually, what bothers me is that there apparently aren’t initials engraved inside the band of your ring. Could they have been there and worn away?
Have you looked into what schools, clubs, organizations your father belonged to around the time mentioned? Schools are most likely, but my father has a masonic ring, and I’ve seen ones worn by officials in the Elks and Lion’s clubs, so you couldn’t rule them out.
I was in high school in the early 70s. We could have our initials flanking the stone then. For some reason those shields were popular with the girls in my class. The school name was generally on the bezel around the stone.
If your dad idolized Richard it’s possible he swiped the ring.
This not exactly being a nice thing to say about a man who has recently passed…
May I offer a plausible alternative: If you father idolized this man as a child, perhaps the ring was given to him by “Richard” as a token of friendship to a young kid, or perhaps “Richard” died and had the ring given to your father as a memento of said friendship?