Evolution of an Antique Dealer - Miracles DO Happen!

At some point after my mother passed away I had a diamond from her engagement ring reset into a more modern, chanel-set style for myself. I wore it daily.

One day, on a Tuesday after doing a show, I stopped into an antique shop that was on my normal "route" for buying. Robyn, the saleswoman said to me, "Barbara, what happened to your stone?". I looked down at my ring and the diamond was gone!! I was in disbelief. I didn't think it was possible for the stone to come loose the way the jeweler had set it. But on very close inspection the framework that held the diamond from underneath had split and apparently there was just enough "give" for the stone to fall out. I was panicked. I carefully went over every step I had taken in the shop and around my vehicle and then in and out of my house. No stone. I cried and cried. I felt like I had lost my mother all over again.

Weeks passed and it occurred to me that the my last hope was that the setting had split while I was packing out of my last show and that the stone was in one of the dozens of boxes. Or, maybe it was still in the back of my van which was fully loaded and would remain so until the next show. So, when I unpacked for that next show I took extra special care to look through the vehicle and the ground around it as we unloaded. Then, once everything was in the booth I unwrapped each and every object slowly and deliberately. I reserved one of my tables that I would normally set up immediately with my "smalls" cases, so that when I unpacked I could flatten out the paper or chucks that were used to pack the items. I ran my hand over each piece of paper and examined each item carefully and no luck. I went home that night exhausted (the unpack took 2-3 times longer than usual) and deflated. At least I had tried.

The next morning I got there early to "shop the show" before the doors opened to the general public. About 30 minutes before opening I started setting up my "smalls" cases on the front tables. While standing there I realized that there was something that felt like a pebble in my shoe. I was wearing sneakers. When I bent down to take the sneaker off, I looked at the sole and stuck in a groove was the diamond!!!!! How in the world did I feel it through the thick sole of the sneaker? Here's what had to have happened for that to occur: the diamond would have had to fall out from the wrapping, fallen onto the floor and about 4-5 inches under the tablecloth. When I was standing by that table fixing the "smalls" cases I must have stepped on it. How could that be anything but a miracle? And a very happy ending. I am wearing that ring as I write this and it brings tears to my eyes to think that that diamond might have been lost forever. When I had the setting repaired and the stone replaced, I took it to a different jeweler and it is now done in such a manner that it would be virtually impossible for the stone to come out.

And here's another "miracle" with a lost stone that happened a few years before then - with a little twist:

In an earlier career situation I was working in a laboratory setting and had taken apart a printer - nuts and bolts and all. Later that day or the next I found that an opal from an antique, 3 stone and diamond old English setting had fallen out. I assumed it had to have come out when working on that printer. So back to the lab I went and dismantled the printer - to no avail. It was gone.

I had acquired that ring before leaving New York City from an antique shop and knew that replacing that color opal might be difficult in North Carolina where I was living at the time. I put the ring in my jewelry box and left it there.

Years later, I was walking down the corridor at work and something caught my eye. It was just a flash of glitter that caught my attention. I took a look and wedged between the carpet and the rubber riser was my opal!! After all those years the stone had been stuck there. In spite of weekly vacuuming! Can you imagine how lucky that is that it didn't get vacuumed up and that I saw that teensy stone shining right at me years later? I must have lost it on the way to the printer lab and didn't notice it missing until after working on the printer. When I examined the stone I saw why it had come loose. There was a tiny chip along the edge - just enough for the prong next to it to have lost its hold.

I tried getting it repaired but several jewelers turned me down saying that any application of heat could pop or damage the other opals. I had to resort to gluing it in myself. A couple of years later when the ring no longer fit, I sold the ring to an elderly lady at a show. Of course I showed her the chip and told her the stone was glued in so about a year or two later I was surprised to see the ring for sale in a local shop - I knew it was the same ring when I looked with my loupe and saw the chip in the center stone! It made me wonder how it got there - what had happened to the lady who bought it from me? I asked the storeowner who I knew pretty well whether she had bought it or if it was on consignment. She said she had bought it from an "estate". And so...life goes on and so does our jewelry!

Barbara Jokel
Visit: That Was Then Antiques


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