Josie’s Ring

The object I am choosing to analyze and describe is a ring that once belonged to my late grandmother, Josephine.

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Front View of Ring

This ring measures approximately one inch across, and fits a ring size of 7 & ½. The ring band is 18k white gold, set with 24 square cut sapphires and further set with 5 baguette cut and 32 full cut diamonds. The word “LEVIAN” is inscribed on the inner band (this is the brand) as well as “18k”

When struck by sunlight the diamonds sparkle and the sapphires glow with an ominous deep blue undertone. The “top” half of the ring is where most of its weight exists, because of all the stones it is set with. The outer part of the bottom of the band is etched with multiple scratches that you can feel like grooves when you run your finger over them. These I’m sure could be buffed out with a cleaning but I like them the way they are.


LEVIAN inscription in the top left of this image, also featuring the inside of the stone settings

While this ring is stunning, it has one slight imperfection (other than some scratches due to wear). On the fourth set of sapphires from the left, the bottom right sapphire stone is cracked in its upper right hand corner. I’m sure this probably diminishes the worth of the ring slightly, however that does not concern me. Normally, if a piece of expensive jewelry that I owned was in some way tarnished, I would be upset and feel discouraged. But in this case, I embrace the imperfection for a few reasons. First, on the most basic level, it reminds me that not everything in life is perfect, even the shiny seemingly perfect things. Secondly, it makes me yearn to know what caused the stone to crack. I wonder how my grandmother cracked it, what she was wearing that day, if she noticed immediately there had been damage, if she continued to wear it after it had been damaged, and so on. It makes me wonder about a past that I was not at all a part of. I think this is the reason my attachment to objects of great sentimental value is so strong, because they make me wonder so many different things about what occurred around them before my time.

Losing my grandmother was one of the most difficult events for my family. When a person no longer is a living, breathing being on this earth most often what we have left of them are their possessions, photographs, perhaps some video if we are lucky– and lastly our memories of them. After sustaining two serious head injuries, my difficulty recalling memories sometimes gets the best of me, so I rely heavily on more tangible mementos. I have a few objects that belonged to my grandmother, perhaps even a few that hold more sentimental value, such as a silver heart necklace my grandfather gave my grandmother on their 25th wedding anniversary with a very special inscription on the back– but ultimately this ring is what brings me the most joy.

Years after my grandmother passed away my grandfather passed this ring down to me as what I believe was a mark of my maturation in his eyes. It was a ring I do not remember seeing her wear, she often wore yellow gold (which you can see in the image below, which includes the other ring my grandfather passed down to me which is yellow gold that he had custom made for her in Italy)


Both rings on my finger. The chipped stone is visible on the right side of the band.

I believe the fact that I do not remember seeing her wear this ring is part of what makes it feel very special to me. It makes me wonder about a lifetime of hers that I was not a part of and that I cannot fully understand because I was not there. It reminds me whenever I look at it on my finger that she had a history that did not involve me. I find that to be an immensely special and sometimes complex part of being human. I have only ever known the life that I have lived, but the people in my life, (mostly referencing my family members), have lived a lot of life before my existence. My grandfather giving me this ring also reminds me to dig deeper into his history. When I look at it on my finger I feel highly inclined to sit with him and take the time to ask questions– about his life, about my grandmothers, about theirs together. This method is the only way left I have access to my grandparent’s history and I cherish it.

While the ring is simply a ring, it has immense sentimental value to me. I often wear a ring on nearly every finger, but I refuse to pair this ring with any others, if I am wearing it I let it stand alone as I feel it should. It’s great monetary value also reminds me in an interesting way of my family’s history. My grandfather dropped out of school in 8th grade to provide for his family. In his adult life, he worked everyday doing manual labor as a cement mason. He did not come from nor have a lot of money. My grandma was a bit more fortunate than my grandfather growing up, but still not well off by any means. I know from asking that my grandparents did not live beyond their means, and they certainly did not buy luxury items. However, this ring is valued around $3000, which years ago was even more money than it is today. My grandfather buying my grandmother this ring signifies to me the true value of their relationships. Although it definitely cannot be quantified by price, just the sentiment of spending such an enormous sum of money (for a ring that was not a wedding ring) shows to me the eternal nature of their relationship. Ultimately, wearing it reminds me how I fortunate I am to be surrounded by the most loving and endearing family, and you can never put a price tag on that.



4 thoughts on “Josie’s Ring

  1. I really love the meaning behind this ring. The connection it had between your grandparents and now you is so strong. First, looking at the pictures of the ring I thought it was pretty. Then after reading your description and the meaning behind it, I was given a totally new perspective. My grandmother gave me her engagement ring from my grandfather and I have always been so appreciative of this because of the sentimental value of it.

  2. I simultaneously love rings but rarely wear them; I have a penchant for losing things, and while I do have a couple of nice ones from my grandmother and mother, I’m too afraid that I would inevitably drop one or leave it in a bathroom somewhere. I love how you explored your grandmother’s ring, though, and I agree that it is objects such as these which remind us of our family and the priceless quality of their nurturing and love. While I haven’t had any serious head injuries, I also struggle to recall certain events or people, which I think is one of the primary reasons that I love mementos, whether they are of sentimental value to my family as a whole or they are just small trophies or ribbons from soccer tournaments I competed in when I was little. Having physical reminders of the people who are no longer with us, the people who still are, and of the moments we had all created together is truly something that could never, as you said, have a “price tag” on it.

  3. Marisa,
    This was a beautiful blog post! I, too, have a large collection of jewelry that I was either handed down or gifted from family members. Personally, I think this makes them more valuable than finding a piece of jewelry in a store, especially since family heirlooms are often one of a kind. I found the story of losing your grandma to be especially beautiful. I have recently lost my grandpa, and after his death family members were given many of the objects that held meaning to him as reminders of the life he lived. I think this is the amazing thing about objects: the meaning they carry with them. Past family members live on in the objects they leave behind, making them irreplaceable.

  4. This is such a beautiful reflection on your grandmother’s ring and what it means to you. After reading your description I feel as if I know what the ring would feel like on my own finger. I also really love your statement about the lives that our family members have lived before us. I think about this often, the life that my parents and grandparents lived before children were in the picture. I think about my life and wonder if there are any parallels between mine and theirs. Certain objects can bring about this sort of reflection, and serve as a visual reminder of those we love and have lost. While I don’t know your grandma or even you all too well, I can tell by the way you write about her that she means a lot to you and that she would be proud to see you wearing her ring.

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