As you've probably gathered from us by now, Alex and I are suckers for all things old. Not only do we have an intense appreciation for things that have withstood the test of time (like our 125 year old house), but we like to honor and preserve their history. The same can be said for our feeling toward family heirlooms, and this weekend I lost the heirloom most precious to me -- Alex's grandmother's diamond that was given to me on my wedding day. Unfortunately, unlike yesterday's post, this is not an April Fool's Day joke.

Here's the backstory. Alex's maternal grandmother passed away in 2000 while we were in college. In her passing, she left a small five stone gold mother's ring to my mother-in-law as one of the few items in her estate. My mother-in-law has no real interest in or attachment to jewelry (crazy!), and despite inheriting this piece knew she would never wear it. At one point she actually suggested to Alex that he try to sell it on eBay. Alex knew we were unlikely to get anything substantial for the ring, and anyone purchasing it would probably just buy it for the single diamond that was set as one of the five stones. 

If you're not familiar with this sort of ring, each stone in the setting represents the birth stone of each child in the family. Alex's mother is one of five, and I believe the sixth stone represents his grandmother's birth stone.

Around the time we began looking at engagement rings back in 2001, Alex's mom generously offered Alex his grandmother's "mother's ring". Back when I learned she might sell it on eBay, I was shocked, so the fact it was given to Alex was a huge relief to me, although it wasn't my style in the least bit. Rather than simply let it sit, I suggested that maybe we could have the diamond in the mother's ring reset as part of my future engagement ring.

Alex loved the idea, and built my engagement ring around this .40 carat stone. He carefully researched and purchased a new center stone and a matching sidetone (based on the mother's ring appraisal information) to create a beautiful, three stone engagement ring. The only problem? When he took the three stones to a jeweler to have them set in a ring, the jeweler took one look at the heirloom stone and pointed out that the appraisal on Alex's grandmother's diamond was incorrect in both the size and color of the stone. He showed Alex that setting this lower quality stone in the new engagement ring with two nicer stones would only highlight the "poor" stone, and would throw the whole ring off. Although he was rather dejected, Alex decided to instead purchase a new third stone for my engagement ring. Undeterred from making his grandmother's stone into something more special, he decided to have his grandmother's stone made into a necklace which was his gift to me on our wedding day. 

The day of our wedding Alex presented me with this lovely bezel set diamond necklace, passed down from his grandmother. To say I loved this necklace does not do it justice. I've worn it nearly every day for the last ten years, and each time I looked at it in the mirror, or touched it while it was hanging around my neck, I was reminded of the memories of our beautiful wedding and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful man in my life. Over the years, this necklace has become a part of me, and I routinely check it to ensure it's still around my neck, that the clasp hasn't shifted forward, and that the diamond is in place.

Here I am, wearing my necklace, on the day we rescued Oliver. Yes, he was trying to bite me. :-)

This past weekend we were invited to spend two nights with our friend and neighbor at her home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We had a wonderful homemade dinner on Friday night of fresh local crab cakes, great wine, and the fantastic company of she and her boyfriend. Saturday we ate a leisurely breakfast and decided that the three of us would spend the day antique shopping in and around St. Michael's, MD, and other quaint local towns. As I prepared to leave, I gave one final glance in the bathroom mirror, straightened my diamond necklace, and I was on my way. 

We had a great day, to say the least. We hit more than 10 antique stores, went to lunch, explored several towns, traipsed along country roads to check out local sites, and more. Tired from the busy day, I came home and took a fantastic weekend nap and woke to get ready for dinner. The problem was, this time when I looked into the mirror, my necklace was there but was vacant and no longer sparking. The diamond that had been part of Alex's grandmother's ring, the stone he had specially turned into a wedding day gift, the one true connection I had to Alex's grandmother who I never had the chance to meet was absent from its permanent setting. I noticed it immediately as it's something I always check...but the problem was that it had been hours and multiple towns since I had last seen it. 

I yelled for Alex to come upstairs and immediately burst into tears. We spent hours looking for it -- in the car, in my purse, in the house, in the gravel driveway. I crawled around the house like an infant, on all fours, crying and combing the rugs as I hoped for the necessary stroke of luck that would allow one of us to find the missing bauble. Despite stumbling on a few pieces of glitter that falsely elevated my hopes, I came up empty handed.

When I posted the news on Facebook this weekend, a college friend asked if it was insured, and pointed out I could use the money to get something new. True, perhaps, but I'm not interested in something new, I'm interesting in this small and somewhat insignificant jewel that I've attached a tremendous amount of personal importance to. Yes, the necklace is insured under our homeowner's policy, but given the quality and size of the stone, it's probably not worth paying the deductible to "replace" it. But that is certainly not the point. 

I'm angry at myself for not having the setting checked more regularly. To say I'm devastated would be an understatement. I feel a profound sense of loss. I feel like I'm mourning a part of our family history that I can never regain. I can't one day pass this family heirloom down to someone else in our family that would love and appreciate it the way I have. 

Here I am -- with a friend, an Australian dessert, and my necklace -- on my 28th birthday.

And so here I am -- slowly having to come to terms with the fact that it's gone forever. I suppose I would rather have enjoyed it everyday for ten years, than to keep it stashed away in a safe deposit box somewhere, never to see the light of day or to be a part of my life. I will have the memories I created while I was wearing it forever, but this bare feeling around my neck is sure is going to take some getting used to. I find myself, out of habit, reaching up to ensure its safety, only to be reminded of its tragic fate.  

On vacation in Napa Valley with the one and only necklace I packed for the trip.

We've called around to the various places we stopped on the fateful day, leaving pleading and probably downright odd messages on the answering machines in the off chance the stone is found. I highly doubt we'll ever see it again, but I'd really love to be surprised. If it's meant to be, the stone will somehow make its way back into my life.

Update (4/12/2012): Our friend was kind enough to vacuum her home the day we left, and then painfully sifted through the debris in her vacuum bag. We were deliriously cautiously optimistic when she called to let us know she found what appeared to be my diamond in her vacuum! We studied the photo she sent to us and held our breath for nearly a week until she returned to Alexandria. Sadly, upon closer inspection the diamond appeared to be more of a crystal, and was too small for the setting. :-(

Have you had to deal with the loss of a family heirloom or treasure, whether by theft, fire, natural disaster, or just plain bad luck? Or, on a happier note, did you find something that you were sure was lost forever? I'd love to hear all about it, if only to make me feel like I'm not alone or like I have a little bit of hope. 

Comments 51

Comments

Heather
4/2/2012 at 10:54 AM
I am so sorry to hear you lost something so valuable to you. Tim gave me diamond earrings for my 30th birthday and up until he gave me my engagement ring they were one of the nicest pieces of jewelry I had ever received. After a day of traveling on the metro all around DC, I discovered one of the earrings had fallen out. I can totally relate to crying and crawling around on the floor searching. I will send good wishes to you that you find it.
Wendy
4/2/2012
Oh no, Heather. I'm so sorry to hear about your lost earring!! I'm sure you felt sick about it, just like I did. Thanks for sending good wishes my way.
chloe
5/13/2014 at 10:24 PM

Don't feel bad. I lost my great great great grandmothers ring at the beach.I'm so angry at myself.

Ann Eberly Wetherbee
4/2/2012 at 10:55 AM
I am soooo sorry! Praying that you find it in your next post!!
Rosemary
6/19/2012 at 2:16 PM
I am so very sorry about your lost necklace. I am frantic about losing my mother in diamond ring. I cannot find it anywhere.
Old Town Home
4/2/2012 at 11:10 AM
Thanks Ann Eberly Wetherbee. I would love nothing more to find it, but know my chances are slim to none. :-(
4/2/2012 at 11:11 AM
Oh no.... it's just so awful when you lose something like that. Rodney brought me back a camel necklace from a trip to Egypt when we first started dating and I wore it every day when I was away from him travelling, then after a full moon party in Thailand I noticed it was missing. As the party was on a beach I had no hope finding it :-( Not as valuable or as special as your diamond but still horrible to lose. Really hope it turns up for you, every so often you get lucky!! xox
Wendy
4/2/2012
I'm so sorry to hear about your camel necklace, Ashleigh. Like you, I lost it in an "unfortunate" location which leaves little to no chance of finding it. Sand, gravel, grass, etc. aren't our allies when trying to locate small, lost items. Just sucks, doesn't it?
Laura Smith-Thompson
4/2/2012 at 11:20 AM
I'm so sorry, Wendy! I found a loose diamond a couple of years ago in a parking lot. I notified the store and posted on Craigslist. In the 90 days the ad ran on CL, no one responded. It's a long shot, but keep an eye on the various CL cities whereit may have been lost. I loaded Craigslist Pro app and you can have it watch for keywords... It notifies me if anyone posts something that matches the qualifiers. Sorry again :(
Old Town Home
4/2/2012 at 11:25 AM
Great tip, thanks Laura Smith-Thompson! I'll have to get this set up tonight.
Kelly
4/2/2012 at 11:41 AM
That's so unfortunate, so sorry. Maybe a kind soul or shopkeeper will find it in one of the stores you were at this weekend? Here's to hoping.

I've lost so many precious items that I've come to terms with not wearing jewelry anymore. One includes a Virgin Mary necklace that was my great grandmother's. Dropped down the sink drain in college while getting ready for a shower. Checked the trap and it wasn't there :(

Another incident I'm still not over was upon moving out of the apartment mentioned above, the landlord came and threw out the rest of our stuff a few days before the end of the month because he "assumed" we left it for trash. Some of the "assumed trash" was actually very delicate items were wanted to move last, which included top of our wedding cake and a crystal vase wedding gift. I'm still furious about that one!
Wendy
4/2/2012
Oh my gosh. You had me at the necklace going down the drain, but your wedding topper and wedding gift too?? Unbelievable. Those are tough ones to ever get over. :-(
Karin K
4/2/2012 at 12:51 PM
Aww.... I am so sorry! I lost something that has haunted me ever since...when my Mom took me to Germany when I was 12 to see her father (I only saw her father three times in his lifetime, and her mother only once) he gave me the most interesting gold ring that he just happened to find in a field while he was taking a walk. It was a gold band engraved with the astrological symbols. I loved that ring – wore it all the time – until one day while pumping gas, I looked down at my hand and it was gone. It certainly wasn’t a family heirloom that had belonged to someone in the family, but it had a ton of sentimental value. I’ve tried to make myself feel better by thinking that it was meant to belong to many different people.
Wendy
4/2/2012
I'm so sorry to hear about your ring, Karin. Sounds like it was absolutely irreplaceable. But maybe you're right -- if it was found in a field, maybe it's purpose was to live with you for a time and then move on to its next owner? (Not sure that will make you feel better though.)
4/2/2012 at 12:59 PM
Maybe you'll get lucky? I hope so! Here's a little story of hope.....

I was at work one day and I spotted a necklace in our public parking area and I picked it up and carried it around with me for a few days. It looked like a cheap piece of costume jewelry and I nearly threw it out about a dozen times. After about three days a woman came into my work and asked if anyone had found a very expensive, very sentimental necklace. Thank heavens I didn't throw it out!

To this day I think about it and wonder why I didn't throw it away.
Wendy
4/2/2012
Wow! Thank goodness you didn't throw it out! Your comment actually made me remember a short story I read in high school called "The Necklace" where a poor woman borrows a diamond necklace for an evening and loses it. After working tirelessly for years to pay off the bill for the replacement necklace, she finds out the necklace was fake!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Necklace

In your case though, you thought the necklace was fake when it was real. That would have been an unfortunate turn of events as well!
4/2/2012 at 1:06 PM
We really hate to hear this. It's always bad when you lose anything, but especially when it was something that belonged to a family member who has since passed. We've been there too and the sad thing is, we can almost see the person asking us why we are making such a fuss over it.

It's a long shot, but have your friend check the vacuum cleaner bag the next time she runs it. You never know - little things like stones have a way of hiding in carpets and rugs. Do the same the next time you clean your car out as well just for a sanity check. We really hope you find it!
Wendy
4/2/2012
You hit on a point I never thought of! Maybe Alex's grandmother never liked this ring in the first place, and would wonder why I'm sobbing and crawling all over someone's home in earnest search? ;-)

The vacuum bag plan has been executed, thanks to my incredibly patient neighbor. She did indeed find a stone in the bag!!...but we won't know for sure until next Sunday if it's my stone. Please keep your fingers crossed!!
Wendy
4/12/2012
Hi Tom and Jada - I just added an update to the post. Sadly, the stone in the vacuum wasn't mine. :-(
Brooklyn Limestone Blog
4/2/2012 at 4:05 PM
Oh I'm so sorry! I know just how you feel. Heart wrenched for you.
Jill PP
4/2/2012 at 4:23 PM
Oh no - I'm so sorry to hear that Wendy! I hope it turns up!

When I was little my mom lost the diamond out of her engagement ring while we were at a water park - we searched and searched for it, but it never turned up :(

On a positive note though, a year and a half or so ago Thad was on the front porch of the house we were renting brushing Phoenix. His wedding band slipped off his finger and landed somewhere in the front yard. We were both frantic and it was getting dark soon - we were worried if we didn't find it right away it would never turn up. Luckily we were able to find a neighbor who let us borrow her metal detector and found it just before the sun went down. Longest two hours of my life!
Wendy
4/3/2012
Oh, wow! That's an amazing story about Thad's wedding ring. It gives me hope that we might be able to find it!

(Sorry to hear about your mom's diamond though.)
JC
4/2/2012 at 8:54 PM
Awwwww. This is just sad. I totally know what you mean, though I haven't had the same kind of loss. Your story reminds me of a ruby glass vase that I accidentally broke. It was my mother's, and she had sentimental attachment to it since it belonged to her mother. I felt awful, and offered to replace it (since the vase is a fairly popular one that pops up at antiques stores), but she wasn't interested since it wasn't THAT particular vase.

The only piece of jewelry I've lost was a sterling silver bracelet (only worth a few dollars). I still miss having it.

The only real piece of jewelry that I'd be devastated to lose is the one I never take off, which is a Celtic knot (also in sterling). I have many fond memories from the time when I bought it. See here:

img.photobucket.com/albums/v473/sooth15/LiveJournal/Pendant.jpg

I really hope that the stone turns up. You just really never know. One of the stores you visited might find it in a few weeks from now. I remember losing an ear-cuff at work MANY years ago (which was a frequently swept woodworking place) and it turned up a few weeks later. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

<3
Wendy
4/3/2012
Thanks JC! That's a total bummer about your mom's vase. Accidents happen unfortunately, but I know how she feels about a replacement just not being the same.

In amazing news, our neighbor has discovered a stone in her vacuum bag!! So we'll know this weekend if I've won the karma lottery and the diamond is coming back. Fingers crossed!
Wendy
4/12/2012
Hi JC - I just added an update to the post about my necklace. Sadly, the stone in the vacuum wasn't mine. :-(
JC
4/23/2012 at 8:24 PM
Awww poop. :(
sue
4/2/2012 at 9:59 PM
Oh, I hope that the stone is yours, it has to be, how many diamonds are in your neighbor's vacuum bag?
I know it really isn't much consolation, but you wore it and enjoyed it for all those years and it brought you joy. If you had kept it locked up, it wouldn't have brought you such pleasure. That doesn't take the hurt away, but those years have to be worth something.
Oh, and I had totally forgotten that story, until you jogged my memory. Thank you!
Wendy
4/12/2012
Hi Sue - I just added an update to the necklace post. Sadly, the stone in the vacuum wasn't mine. :-(
Kelsey
4/3/2012 at 9:36 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about this! I know how devastating it can be to lose a sentimental item. When I was 9 my dad bought me an emerald birthstone ring. I wore it for years (even lost it once in a public pool and recovered it thanks to an intrepid diver), but one day in college I looked down to find that the stone was missing. I couldn't even begin to look for it--it could have been anywhere around campus. Like you, I wished that I had checked the setting, but that's a lesson learned for next time.

I sincerely hope that the stone your friend found in her vacuum bag is yours! That would be amazing!
Wendy
4/12/2012
I'm so sorry to hear about your emerald ring, Kelsey! I have an emerald birthstone ring too that my parents gave me when I was 14. I would be so sad to lose it as well.

I just posted an update on the necklace too. Unfortunately the stone in my neighbor's vacuum wasn't mine. :-(
laura
4/3/2012 at 2:36 PM
I am so sorry. I lost my mothers favorite bracelet a few months after her death - it didn't help that I had been carousing around a bachelorette party at the time - what a stupid way to lose something so precious. I still think about it every once in a while.

On a brighter note, a few weeks ago I lost a diamond pendant necklace that was really the only nice jewelry I owned. Like you, I wore it daily, often touching it throughout the day. I noticed it was gone, retraced my steps - including diving to the bottom of the pool where I had swam laps that day, drank a bottle of wine, and shed a few tears. No dice. Three weeks later, I was swimming in that same pool, and holy crap! What is that? My necklace, sitting in 8 feet of water in a pool hundreds of people had swam in and that had been vacuumed that day! I had given up hope, and somehow it found me again. It's a long shot, but maybe yours will find its way back to you as well. And, if not, as you said, you gave it a lot of good years and good times and you still have the memories.
Wendy
4/12/2012
Oh gosh, that's terrible about your mom's bracelet but what an amazing story about your necklace! Wow!
Whitney
4/3/2012 at 4:37 PM
Maybe this story will give you hope...
When my cousin was young, his father gave him a gold and onyx ring with a K on it (father was Ken, son Kevin). Being a young boy, the ring got lost while playing outside at my mothers house, on the waterfront. We assumed it was lost forever in the lake, as the waves quickly bury small objects.
Over ten years later, my mother was gardening, digging a new bed close to the shoreline, and digs up something shiney... The ring!!! We have no idea how it got into the dirt in an undug bed, but there it was...
Maybe your stone will turn up in the unlikeliest of place...
Chaz
4/4/2012 at 5:33 AM
With any luck- the one in the nieghbour's vacuum is the missing stone, but in case it isn't, if you still had the rest of the stones, what about putting another of them in that setting? It isn't the ideal situation, but you could still have a family stone.
threadbndr (Karla)
4/4/2012 at 9:32 AM
Wendy, how awful. I know you must be heartbroken.

I've had a couple of those moments; one with a good outcome. When I was in junior high, my dad went on a business trip to DC and brought me back a little sterling silver cross from the National Cathedral. I wore it constantly all through 8th and 9th grade, then one day, it was gone; evidently the chain had snapped. Five years later, my dad was running some new duct work in my old bedroom (I was in college by this time) in anticipation of us hosting an exchange student and he found my cross stuck behind a loose piece of baseboard by my closet when he was cleaning up from the initial demo. He said he saw a glint just before the vacumn hit it and for some reason, he stopped to investigate.

As far as we could figure out at the time, I must have snapped the chain while taking a shirt or sweater off, the cross fell down the wall and wedged into the baseboard. I bought a new (sturdier) chain and still have my cross today. Wore it yesterday, in fact.

BTW, I have the jeweler always do sodered links between my necklace and charm, and put on the heavier clasps. Those are really the more vulnerable parts of a necklace.
sam
6/28/2012 at 7:05 PM
This is so weird, my first blog post ever and it's about a stolen family heirloom. When my mother was 16 she dropped out of school to take care of her sick mother and young brothers and sisters. Things were tight, but by the time she was 22 she had saved enough to buy something nice for herself for the first time. She bought a very substancial gold ring with her initials, which many yeras later she gave to her mother, my grandmother!
My grandmother died when I was a teen and away at boarding school. When I came home my family had said that she left me the gold ring right before her passing. I've had that peice of jewelery for over 12 years and it has been with my family for 47 years. Two months ago it was stolen from under my nose by a family 'friend'. I had just gotten married and so I was not wearing the ring anymore. It took 7 weeks for me to realize that it had been stolen. The only opportunity for it to be taken out of the house had been when this family friend was at my house, who by the way has a long history of theft. I don't know why I didnt lock up my valuables when she was around, but there you go. I am totally heart broken that this pricelss ring has been robbed off me and probably sold for a some measly dollars. I have no proof she took it, just her own background and the fact that barely anyone else has been in my house near my bedroom since we moved in (except her).
Does anyone have any ideas about what i should do? Much like the story at the top, this feels like the loss of a family member and a piece of history. Also, two months is too long to even walk around pawn shops by her house trying to see if it ended up there. Any ideas? How can a person get over a loss like that?
Wendy
7/1/2012
Oh gosh Sam, my heart breaks over the loss of your family heirloom. I know exactly how you feel to lose it, but can't imagine how much more frustrating it must because it was stolen, and not lost. I'm so sorry.

I agree that it's probably too late to find it in a pawn shop, but I suppose it never hurts to try. Have you talked to you "friend" about the situation? I know someone who had a family heirloom stolen from a hotel room. She actually went to the employee cafeteria and appealed to all the workers to return it, no questions asked, because it was something so special to her and represented such a sense of family history. Amazingly enough, it was returned. Maybe if you talk to your friend about the history, how devastated you are, and all you care about is the return of the item not the motives, maybe, just maybe you might get it back?

I don't know that you ever get over the loss, but what I try to tell myself is that I appreciated it every day for ten years, and that kind of love and appreciation is better than a lifetime of it sitting in a jewelry box or safe deposit box.

Good luck!

Other than that,
sam
7/1/2012 at 7:01 PM
Thanks for the reply!
Actually, my husnad and I went over there to talk to her and her partner, and they totally flipped out on us. There was no reasoning with anyone. I had had the same thinking as you, but it backfired! Now there's a huge problem where that is concerned, and they acted very indignant when in fact they have a reputation for taking things from people's homes.

I appreciate the support though. I look at pictures with the ring on and it breaks my heart. I know to be a lot more careful with who I trust around my things from now on. I am a magnet for people who take things and usually I get over it! But this ring was like a part of my family history.

Thanks again though!

Sam
Lyndsy
7/5/2012 at 1:04 PM
Wendy, I can totally feel your pain. Your story and details has brought tears to my eyes because I am in a similar situation so I know exactly you how you feel and it breaks my heart. Let me share my story - sorry in advance for its length!

Several years ago (probably 10 years ago), my mother lost the diamond out of her wedding ring while we were visiting the Mall of America. As you can guess, we never found the diamond. For years, she wore the ring with no diamond because she didn't want to give up the ring, and also because she couldn't get it off her finger! :) It was a simple ring - engagement and wedding band were the same size and style. Just two beautifully simple white gold rings soldered together with a solitary diamond. She wore that with the empty prongs for years, untial about 3 years ago when she decided it was time for a new ring. She decided to first have her original wedding ring cut off of her finger before buying a new beautiful ring, which she did. After that, we all thought she just got rid of the old ring or stashed it away somewhere in a box.

However, on Christmas Eve 2009 when we were all home for Christmas (I have a sister and a brother), my sister and I received the most memorable Christmas gift ever. We each received a beautiful necklace with a poem and handwritten note from my mom about the necklace. Long story short, after my mom had her ring cut off, she had it made into 2 beautiful necklaces. She had the original ring (the engagement band and wedding band) split in half and each half put onto a silver chain. So, one necklace had the wedding band and the other had the engagement band. But, since they were both the same, the necklaces were identical. Inside each of the rings on the necklace was my sister and my respective birthstones. Ruby in mine and Aquamarine in my sister's. Wow - it was the most thoughtful and most heartfelt gift I have her received.

Like you, I wore that necklace everyday. Every single day. And, also like you, I was constantly checking it and feeling for it to make sure it was still around my neck. I loved telling people the story around my necklace. It meant the world to me. And, I was so excited to hopefully one day pass it on to a daughter of my own.

Fast forward to this past January. I was out of town at a business conference. On the day we checked out, I had packed up my things, double and triple checked the room for anything left behind, and left and checked out for good. We had a full day of meetings before leaving the hotel where we were staying. After the meetings were over, I was changing into more casual clothes for the long plane ride home and that's when I realized I didn't have my necklace around my neck. I was mystified because I always wear it, but retraced my steps and realized I never put it on that day. Not sure why I didn't, but I didn't panic because I thought that just meant I was tired, forgot to put it on and that was it. So, I was briefly relieved thinking it was just tucked away in my jewelry pouch that I keep close by me at all times when I travel (inside my purse in a very 'secret' pocket that is inside another pocket). So, anyway, I reached for the pouch and NOTHING. No pouch in my purse. I retraced my steps again and came to the conclusion that it must not have gotten packed when I left my room. That's when panic started to settle. It had been 8 hours since I checked out, but I thought even if the room had been cleaned, my jewelry HAD to be somewhere. Well, it wasn't. We didn't have much time to look either because we had to leave in a hurry to catch our plane so I couldn't even stick around the hotel to search. I was in tears the whole way home. I had an ounce of hope that I would get home and find that it was here in my jewelry box and that I hadn't taken it with me at all. But, that also proved to be false. I kept holding out hope thinking it would (and SHOULD) show up at some point at the hotel. But, after several dealings with the hotel security, police, etc. etc. it has never shown up to this day. So, whether it was lost or stolen or thrown away by someone, I will never ever know. That's what hurts so much - not knowing what even happened to it or where it is.

I cried for days and had many sleepless nights when I first lost the necklace. It has now been 6 months from the time I lost it and I still lose sleep over it sometimes....hence how I stumbled upon your story because I had a dream about it last night and couldn't sleep. So, this morning, I just googled "how to deal with losing a precious family heirloom" and stumbled upon your story. It comforts me to know that I'm not the only one dealing with something so difficult. I have blamed myself so much - why did I even take it with me on that business trip? How could I have been so careless with it? And on and on.

A few months ago, in talking with my mom, my brother, and my husband, I decided to have another necklace made to look just like it. The jeweler in my hometown still had all the details from when she helped my mom create the original necklace, so we had a new one made. Since the original ring that was the root of the necklace was so simple, it was easy for the jeweler to make something that looks just like the one I lost. After it was made I had my mother wear it for a few months and told her to just give it to me at a time when she thought was appropriate - i.e. so that it would be a surprise for me. Well, a few weeks ago, we were all in MN celebrating my grandmother's 90th birthday. On the morning of my grandma's party, I woke up to find a necklace box with a note from my mom saying "thought you might like to have this for this special weekend". I cried. It was a perfect time for me to receive it back. My next step is to have it blessed by a close family friend who is a priest.

So, while I will forever be sad about losing something so precious and nothing can ever truly replace what was lost, I now have a new necklace that is going to be and can be very sentimental to me as well. And, losing the original necklace has actually made me realize even more WHY it was so important to me in the first place. It was meaningful because it was from my mom, and it symbolized the beautiful strong marriage she and my dad still share to this day (they are going on 33 years!). So, while the necklace meant so much to me, it really was just a symbol. Does it change anything about my parents? No. I am lucky that my mother is still here with us and that she and my dad are still happy. I'm lucky that I had the chance to wear the original necklace for 3 years and lucky now to have been able to receive another beautiful piece of jewelry from my mom.

I hope this helps and again, I'm so sorry for the length of this post. I just wanted to reach out to you to let you know that you are not alone. I hope that you find comfort in my story as I have found comfort in yours.

Sincerely,
Lyndsy
Wendy
7/5/2012
Hi Lyndsy,

Thank you so much for sharing your touching story with me. I am so sorry for the loss of such an important, sentimental piece, but I absolutely love how you've moved on. Having another necklace made, and then giving it back to your mom for a time, was such a wonderful idea. I love your outlook on the situation, and how you've found the best solution out there.

Alex and I have talked about it and we're leaning towards having one of the other stones from his grandmother's ring set in the necklace. That way I'll still have something of his grandmother's in the setting he gave me on our wedding day. It's not the same, but seems like the closest thing to it.

Thanks again for sharing your story. I really appreciate it!

-Wendy
Alex Heriford
10/13/2012 at 6:34 PM
A long time ago my mother gave me a necklace that my grandmother made herself, it was an open silver heart with a floating opal marble suspended by the heart, it was only about 30 years old as it was the first of her jewelry she made so it wasn't an antique but it was very important to me because not only did she make one for my mother but she made another for her self and when she died in the car accident she was wearing hers. I lost it quite awhile ago and I have no idea where it went, I wore it to bed on accident one night and, poof it was gone the next morning. Where ever it is I have no idea. I hope I can find it someday but in the mean time I have my memories of it and my grandmother!
Cathy D.
12/2/2012 at 4:03 PM
Your post here is a fantastic memorial to your husband's grandmother complete with pictures, your sentiments around it, etc. That will live forever in Alex's and your hearts and hopefully, your mother-in-law is aware in heaven too. That said, I wonder if getting another diamond (or Swarovski chrystal) for it would be your gift to yourself, to Alex and her. Being able to wear it again, remember what it stood for and that Alex lovingly reset it for you, is the greater good. Mourning it, praying for its return, and not moving on may potentially make anyone wonder if they should have given you something that had the potential to cause you pain. I've lost a husband/soulmate and both parents now. Beautiful things connected to them are ..... beautiful, nostalgic symbols that help you remember the moment and the love. You could have lost both the setting and the gem, or your could have lost your husband or the love of your husband. "Don't worry, be happy."
Jessica
2/18/2013 at 8:39 PM
I just stumbled upon this site and read your story. My heart aches for you. I do know what it feels to lose an heirloom. I lost one myself years ago. Though you may never find it (I pray some miracle happens and you do.) No one can take take your memories. It won't be the same but what about getting a replica? You can still tell your story...
Annie
4/1/2013 at 9:22 AM
Oh, Wendy, I stumbled upon your story today for the same reason you wrote it - I was looking for others stories and how they coped so I wouldn't feel so alone.

I was vacationing in Charleston this weekend - my first vacation with my boyfriend, and we were so excited. The second day, I was trying on some dresses at a little shop in the historic district, and took off the chain I wear around my neck that holds my grandmothers engagement ring, my mother's graduation opal, and the ring that my grandmother was wearing when she passed away. I remember when I set them down on my sweater telling myself mentally "do NOT forget to put these back on!". The shop was crowded and I was in a hurry to get out, and wouldn't you just know, I did indeed forget to put them back on. I walked right out of there, and the rings likely fell on the floor when I grabbed my sweater off the chair. I retraced all of my steps, called all of the shops we went to from that one forward, and posted a lost and found ad on Craigslist. I have yet to get any responses other than "sorry, but we haven't had found anything like that", but I continue to pray for a miracle.

Thank you so much for sharing your story and I'm deeply sorry for you having to go through that. It is a devastating loss that only time can heal.
Brittany
4/25/2013 at 10:55 PM
Thank you for sharing this story. I have recently gone through something extremely similar. My grandfather proposed to my grandmother by cutting an amethyst stone (her birthstone) into an emerald cut necklace and ring. This was the 1920s and he paid $1,000 to have the necklace and ring cut for her.

After their wedding, she gave the necklace and ring to my mother, who put it in my hope chest (since amethyst is also my birthstone, she hoped I would wear the family jewelry on my wedding day).

When I entered my 20s, my mother let me keep the jewelry. I wore it once to a friend's wedding, and otherwise kept it safe and sound in a jewelry box in my room. I dreamed of one day wearing those stones in my wedding. Unfortunately, I lost the jewels during a move in my mid-twenties.

My grandmother has since passed away, but my mother and her siblings have not forgiven me for losing the family jewels. I have also not forgiven myself, and sometimes find myself looking at vintage jewelry sites online in hopes that I will find those jewels for sale somewhere, or at least find something similar on Etsy so I can have a replica. It is heartbreaking.
Tiara
1/13/2014 at 7:15 PM

When I was 14, my parents gave me a gold chain ankle bracelet with a little diamond pendant at the end for my birthday. I wore that bracelet all the time (on my wrist). A while ago, I noticed it was missing, so I assumed it was around the house somewhere and that I just wasn't looking hard enough for it because that's what usually happens to my things. Usually if I notice a piece of jewelry is missing, I'll just glance around because it always turns up somewhere.

So a few days ago, while I was at church, this girl I know came up to me and said "I had something of yours, but I don't have it anymore". So I asked her what it was. And she said it was a gold chain bracelet. And I asked her if it had the diamond pendant at the end and she said no. But that is the only gold chain bracelet that I have. When I told he how important it was to me all she said was oops.

In case your wandering why she had it, sometimes I take my jewelry off if it's irritating me. I probably took it off to do something and set it down next to me. She probably picked it up and put it on. This always happens so I didn't think much of it. So we probably both forgot about it and she never took it off.

Anyway she said she pulled it out of her pocket while she was walking from Grand Central Station and was staring at it trying to figure out who it belonged to. Then when she finally figured it out she got a little excited and the bracelet slipped from her fingers into the sewer. She told me she looked at it and said Oh well and walked away because there was nothing she could do. I asked her why she didn't tell me right when it happened and she said she wasn't going to tell me, but later on she decided to.

It was the last valuable thing I had. My grandmother has given me 2 dolls as a child that somehow ended up destroyed and I lost my class ring when I took it off to go to the bathroom at school. So now I have nothing.

I went to the bathroom and cried for a long time. My mother happened to walk in and asked me what was wrong and I told her. The way she reacted, I don't think she even remembered giving me the bracelet. But she told me that if I value something, I can't let other people hold it because they won't take care of my stuff like I would.

I'm so desperate to get it back. I searched google to find answers. I had found news articles about people who lost things in the sewers of NYC. All they had to do was call 311 and the city had a team just for retrieving lost items from sewers. Well, when I called, I found out they didn't have the team anymore.

Since she said it didn't have the diamond pendant, I'm hoping that maybe it wasn't that one. But I've been searching everywhere and I can't find itAlt frowning

I found your story and it made me feel better. I'm still in the process of trying to accept that it's gone. I'm trying not to be mad at the girl because she's only 13.

I was thinking maybe I can get a replica of the bracelet and then act like none of this happened. Maybe I can do that thing where people block out unhappy memories.

Dani
2/11/2014 at 1:14 PM

My husband felt he had to pawn a rifle his grandfather gave him as a boy. It had some worth to it besides the sentimental value, but I don't know much about guns, only that the amount he received for it was less than what it was worth. Anyway, he fell behind one month on the payment, and when he finally went to pay it, they had already sold it. He is disappointed but he didn't whine. He didn't want to talk at length about it. I feel so deeply for him that I don't know what to do. I told him the last time not to pawn it anymore, but he did anyway. He knew the risk, but still. A man has to sacrifice for his family, and there are things more important, but sometimes I wish he didn't have to suffer so much over earning too low of an income. It seems like poor people can't have anything, and even what they have gets lost to them eventually. I really wish that we hadn't been in a situation where he had to do that. My heart breaks that I can't do anything about it, too. I have already promised myself to find out exactly what kind and how old it is, and if I ever find one like it I will try to purchase it to make it up to him. It won't be the same, but I will if I can.

Negrecia D'Souza
3/14/2014 at 6:09 AM

Here's a good story for you about loosing an heirloom that might make you feel better about your situation. My father had a massive coin collection that was worth well over $100,000 when it went missing from our home my parents blamed me for taking it and have since disowned me. I didn't take it and have no way of proving this to my parents. I was looking on the internet to find a solution on how to get over the loss of an heirloom when I found your link. I have to be at work in 4 hours and am up worrying and crying about my loss. This was over 10 years ago and it still bothers me. At least it was just a diamond that you lost.

Kelsey
4/26/2014 at 10:47 PM

Recently lost the most precious thing ever given to me. My boyfriends mom passed when he was a baby and as he grew he received a necklace that his dad had given his mom back in their high school days. My boyfriend gave it to me our sophomore year in high school and I am now a freshman in college.while shopping at a nike outlet store my friend and I were checking each others sports bra sizes and the cheap chain I had put the necklace pendant on while the real chain was being repair snapped, sending the pendant who knows where. I went to the bathroom after searching the floor in hopes of finding it in my shirt. I lifted my shirt and that damn pendant pinged across the floor and down the floor drain... My friend and I spend hours fishing for this priceless heirloom and left without any luck we had to return home.... Sorry about your loss I have certainly been there!!

Valerie
8/24/2014 at 1:56 AM

I just came across your story as I was searching for comfort myself. I just lost the diamond from my wedding ring. Just gone. It must have came loose from the setting. I'm devastated. Mostly for sentimental reasons. You see, I've had it for 13 years but prior to that it was my grandmother's from France. It was her diamond from her wedding ring of 75 years. She has since passed away. I feel like I lost her all over again. I don't even know what to do. There's nothing I can do. It could be anywhere. In the sand at the beach where we were just the day before? At the grocery store? In one of the many parking lots I was at while running errands. Sigh. So helpless. So hopeless. I also can't help but think of the value ... it was an "old miners cut" and from what I was told a very good quality. Regardless, insurance will only cover up to a measly $1000 - if that. I too had a similar thought that perhaps I will come across it one day. Thank you for sharing your story. It did help meAlt smile

al jameson
9/15/2014 at 9:15 PM

What a heartbreaking story, I am so sorry for your loss. My father passed 2 months ago and I got his watch. It was a cheap, old, gold Seiko that he had worn for several years...but it was one of the few connections I had with my father and I had planned to pass on down to my boys later on down the road. Found it missing today after going to a pro football game and have looked everywhere....nothing! It's almost like losing my dad all over again. I know it is a longshot, but I hope one day your stone turns up! That would be awesome, things like this have happened.

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