I was given my grandmother's engagement ring

My paternal grandmother died last year. Recently, we had to send Pappap into a group home, so my dad was in charge of selling the house. And we had to split up their stuff.
It was hard, going through everything-especially going to the house. Even though it was the same-it wasn’t. Gramma wasn’t there, the place no longer smelled of cigarette smoke, and Pap wasn’t snoring in his lounge. One of the things my mother had to take was Gramma’s jewelry box. We held onto it, until such time me and my cousins were allowed to each take something to remember her by. I took an opal ring and a rhinestone pin.

But my dad had her engagement ring, until such time it was agreed upon what to do with it. My aunts, apparently, were arguing over it, and I didn’t think anything of it, until my cousin Amanda told me she thought I had it. And my dad said I was the oldest granddaughter, and since my aunt, the oldest daughter, was dead, I should probably get it.
Well, my dad passed it to me after dinner this evening. sniff When I started to get up from the table, Mom told me to sit down, that Dad had something to give me. Then I saw the jewelry box.

It’s beautiful, but it’s also so touching and important to have. I don’t think this is really MPSIMS, but it’s the only fitting forum.

That’s sweet. I have my great-grandmother’s original wedding ring (she got an upgrade at their 50th anniversary) and it’s this simple little gold ring. She was 21, and it was obviously an inexpensive ring, but it’s really pretty. To think of her at that age is almost impossible! I’d rather have it than the other rings, which other family members have.

After my mom’s mom died, Mom ended up with the bulk of Grandma Ruth’s stuff – jewelry, photographs, furniture, etc. The jewelry is pretty awesome: Costume jewelry from the 1940s really has no equivalent in the modern-day. There’s this one peacock brooch Grandma Ruth made that’s heavily beaded with seed beads and sequins and about the size of my hand; you just won’t find something so simultaneously gaudy and wonderful today. But by far the wonder of wonders was her collection of Big Band and swing records cassettes, with a little Elvis thrown in for flavor. Second to that was the enormous trunk full of photos and crayon drawings and the paper trail of over 100 years of family in America.

I listened those records half to death when I was little. My grandma died when I was about seven, and I was still playing the recoards and cassettes when my parents “upgraded” the stereo in the living to one that played CDs, and not records or tapes. Whenever I played an Elvis record, which is what Grandma Ruth listened to when my mom was little, Mom would tell me what she thought of a particular song – my grandmother was not, if I remember correctly, a fan of “In the Ghetto.”

So now, whenever I hear Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller or “Love Me Tender,” I see my grandma dancing, all clever eyes and black hair, like those pictures of her in the trunk. I was so young when she died I didn’t get to know her past the “have a cookie and let me read you a story” stage. I feel like the records and pictures and old valentines let me know my grandma in a way that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise.

My sister got Grandma Ruth’s Cubs foam finger and pennants. She seems just as satisfied with those as I am with “Tuxedo Junction.”

[sub]This isn’t an attempt to compare an engagement ring to a box of old paper and make one more valuable than the other. Guin’s post just made me think of Grandma Ruth’s garnet ring which made me think of the peacock which made me think of the music.[/sub]

Of course I don’t think you’re trying to up me one! I think it’s really great hearing about family heirlooms-where they’re expensive items, or just ones that have only sentimental value.

What a nice memento.

Grandma gave me the ring Grandad gave her for their 60th anniversary. It’s a simple ring with a few tiny sapphires and diamonds. It’s very unlike the rest of her jewelry, which tended to be rather flamboyant. (It sort of freaked me out that it was not only my style, but also my size.)

She’s been gone now for more than 10 years, but her ring keeps her close to me.


A few years ago, my dad gave me some family heirlooms…I have his grandmother’s wedding ring, just a simple embossed gold band from when she married at the turn of the twentieth century…it’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. I also have her quilting thimble and my great grandfather’s pocket watch (with my uncle’s watchmaker’s mark inside where he repaired it for my grandad). As my parents have downsized to an apartment recently, a few more pieces and pictures have come my way too. I treasure them!

Guinastasia, you’re so lucky!

My grandmother told me that her mother was preparing a will and asking what she’d like to inherit. My grandmother thought it a little morbid and creepy and didn’t want to participate, but when pushed she told her mom that she admired a particular amethyst ring. A month or so later Great-Grandma showed up at her daughter’s house and said “I had such fun imagining you wearing it I decided not to wait to give it to you.” Right after she told me the story Grandma gave me the ring.

I have my grandmother’s engagement ring too, Guin. I’m not really a diamond sort of girl, but I always wear it and whenever the sun catches it I think of her.

I also have a silver hand mirror that belonged to her grandmother, that she gave me when I was little. It’s very heavy, and in an art nouveau design. I also have a little geisha girl doll that my Uncle Joe (her baby brother), brought her back from Korea when he served over there.

My other grandmother, who is still living, didn’t have her original engagment ring-the stone fell out. So for one of her’s and my Pappap’s anniversaries, my mom and her brother and sister chipped in and bought her a new one. Years ago, she gave it to my mom, who recently gave it to my sister.

I did have a huge stuffed rooster that my paternal grandfather-the aforementioned one-won for me at a carnival, that I adored as a child. However, he fell apart and had to be thrown out a few years ago. :frowning:

As my grandmother got to her nineties she started giving away things in her house that daughters and grandchildren had expressed a desire to have.

There was nothing especially valuable, no jewelry or such. But I have a simple orange glass candy dish, with a cover. It sat on my grandparent’s back porch, with peppermints, lemon drops, and pillow mints. During family events we kids would sneak candy, trying to be careful not to rattle the lid. Of course grandma and grandpa knew what we were doing, but let us think we were getting away with it. Grandma got the dish as a gift in 1924, from the board of the country school system, for organizing the annual school program.

That candy dish brings back years of memories and is my most treasured possession. When people play the game “What would you grab if you have to get out of the house right now?” , well, after my cats it would be the candy dish. That’s ahead of pictures and books and important papers. I can replace those!

My grandmother gave me a ring from my late uncle’s estate–it’s a sterling silver ring, with an onyx face set with the Army Air Corps aviation wings in gold. “Uncle Ed” had it for years, but I think it was really from Uncle Charles. I ought to ask her, but I’m not sure she knows the full story behind this ring.

Being that I’m in the Air Force, I wear it on special occasions. There’s an old story behind it, but it died with both of my uncles. I’m gonna at least write my chapters with it.

Which reminds me–I gotta get the thing resized. It looks like it had an ad hoc resizing once already.

Guin how cool that you have your granma’s engagement ring! I cannot imagine a greater treasure. I fully understand your sniff moment when your father gave it to you.

I am of the belief that family heirlooms are not things that are necessarily “valuable” in the monetary sense but those things that are valuable in that they are what we remember as treasures. Not unlike the candy dish Baker so beautifully described. It may not be worth a lot of money but in sentimental family value, it’s priceless.

May you treasure granma’s engagement ring always.

Thank you. One question-my mother said I should have it cleaned, I thought you were supposed to leave a patina on it. It’s silver, but she said silver doesn’t tarnish*. (Huh?)

What should I do?

*The afore-mentioned handmirror is probably silver, and is badly tarnished, to the point of having a horrid film, rather than a patina. Now THAT needs polished, I just haven’t had a chance.

How lucky for you, Guin! Last year I got my grandmother’s engagement ring and it’s such a treasure to me. She never took it off for 60+ years so the fine filigree work on the platinum has worn nearly off but the gorgeous, old world cut diamond is as beautiful as ever.

The ring had to be cut off her finger when she passed and that was a problem for me at first, but I had it repaired and it fits pretty darned well.


I’m sure you’re treasure it. My niece has my mother’s engagement ring. I have all her other jewelry. Most of it is “good” costume from the 50s & 60s, so it’s retro and fun to wear. Full suites for some of it - earrings, pin, necklace, bracelet. My favorite is a forget-me-not set. I think of her every time I wear one of the pieces.


I have my Dad’s 1930’s Lionel train on my mantle. Hearing stories about how tough it was growing up then I really wonder how my Grandfather managed to afford it for Christmas when Dad was a little boy.

In one year it was my Mom’s 50th birthday, their 25th anniversary and Dad spent a few months in the hospital after a terriable work accident. That Christmas he bought her a great big diamond with 10 small diamonds on either side.

My parents died a few years apart when I was in my 20’s. The ring is in my safe deposit box and about once a year my brother and I have the same conversation, what do you want to do with the ring? I dunno, what do you want to do? I dunno…

It was special a few years ago when my neice turned 21. Brother and I gave her Mom’s ruby earrings for Christmas. She cried, it was nice I just wished it would have been Mom to pass them on directly.

I wanted to clarify – my ring is little and inexpensive because they were young and broke (I assume), it’s not that I care about any monetary worth, in fact I like it better because of that. I’m not afraid to wear it, though I haven’t lately. The thought of them as a young married couple without much money is weird but cool, since when I was born she was 75!

I’m also supposed to get my remaining grandma’s (maternal grandmother) wedding and engagement rings, but I’m in no hurry to get them. She’s almost 87 and doing fine, so I have no need to worry about it either.

I have my husband’s Grandma’s wedding ring. It’s filigreed silver and quite beautiful. Too bad Grandma R’s fingers were about half the size of mine. I’ll be handing it down to my oldest daughter.

Congratulations on being the recipient of a family heirloom.

I don’t know what kind of monetary value the ring has, and really I don’t care. It was my maternal grandmother’s engagement ring, and in my childhood it was a simple gold band. It had one small diamond with a smaller one on either side. One of the side stones came out of my great-grandmother’s watch, and the other one was added to match it. For several years it sat in my mother’s jewelry box with cellophane tape around it to keep the center stone from falling out completely. She kept talking about having it reset, but never got around to it. Then the year I was a senior in high school, she broke her hip a couple weeks before Christmas and spent ten days in the hospital. Came home on Christmas Eve day. Christmas Day Dad gave her the little box last of all the presents. We all watched her open it and start crying. He’d had it reset in white gold, updated, and in her current size.

It came to me after Mom died, and it’s just the most important piece of jewelry I have, next to my own wedding ring. It has so many layers of family history built in.

All these pieces are so special, layered with memory the way they are. It’s good to hear the stories that go with them.

You can take it to a jeweler and have it cleaned. In my experience, what they do removes the gunk but not the deep oxidation (i.e., tarnish or patina, depending on whether it diminishes or enhances the beauty of the silver).

What a wonderful, meaningful gift, Guinastasia!

One of my most cherished pieces of jewelry is my dad’s high school class ring. We graduated from the same high school, 50 years apart – he in 1926, I in 1976. This was well before Jostens and the like began hawking huge rings with gaudy, synthetic stones. It looks more like a simple signet ring.

I’m the youngest daughter. I was surprised at how small the ring is. It fits my middle finger. I have no particular memories of my dad’s hands, but I’m guessing my 12-y-o gets his long, slender musician’s fingers from my banjo-playing dad.