Creating a Marriage Legacy Ring

Marriage Legacy Ring

Of all my mother’s possessions, the one I cared the most about keeping was her wedding ring. Her baby book, quilts, high school mementos, favorite antiques, cookbooks, photos, and moose stuffies went home with various family members after her funeral, but the ring stayed with me. I had no idea what to do with it. I only knew it symbolized an against-the-odds faithfulness, a marriage legacy precious for all the ways it shaped me.

But what do you do with someone else’s wedding ring? It felt odd to wear it, and truth be told, I didn’t even wear my own wedding ring, so that would be really weird. Mom’s ring stayed tucked away next to mine in my jewelry box for two years until I finally pulled them out one day. Side by side, I studied the rings and thought through the options.

Two wedding rings

Both rings reflected our humble means. The main stones were small, surrounded with several tiny stones for extra sparkle. Mom’s ring was white gold; mine was yellow gold. Mom hadn’t worn her ring since a stroke in 2008 crippled her left hand. Mine had been in the jewelry box for years, after it would no longer fit over my arthritic knuckle. Still, even in their simplicity, the rings shone with the hope and longing of young love, reminders of our earlier selves.

My sentimental side did not want to change the original form of either ring, but I knew they would stay in the jewelry box if I didn’t. My desire to see and feel and enjoy these symbols of love every day meant I had to create something new with them. I came to peace with the idea that the enduring symbolism could be maintained, even without the original settings.

I went to see Chris Keller at Comeau Jewelry Company to explore design options for merging the two rings. Fortunately, the two main stones were almost identical in size, and my first thought was to add a new larger gemstone in the center, with our wedding diamonds on either side. We played with some designs and I left with a tentative plan. I still had misgivings, so decided to sleep on the decision. Weeks later, I returned to Chris with new clarity.

It didn’t feel right to add any stones, I had decided. Instead, I wanted the new ring to contain only stones from the original rings. I liked the idea of having the largest stones side by side, flanked by the smaller diamonds to resemble an art deco design. My husband Roger and our kids had given me a beautiful art deco vintage ring for my 60th birthday, and I wanted something that would complement that ring. I came in with a few photos and Chris went to work.

I loved the design he created, and it left us with enough small diamonds to create a stacker band for my sister. She’s even more of a sentimental soul than I am, and this design allowed us both to enjoy Mom’s diamonds. The stacker band was perfect for Elaine, since she wears more rings than a gypsy! She didn’t have a bare finger, but she could easily make room for a band.

I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I love the daily reminder of my parents’ faithfulness, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer. And I also love wearing my own diamonds again. Roger and I, too, have an against-the-odds love story. Honestly, isn’t that true for any marriage that lasts? Marriage is hard. That’s why celebrating faithfulness gives me such hope and joy.

Someday, one of my daughters will wear this marriage legacy ring, a reminder of the faithful marriages that shaped her. I hope she loves it as much as I do.


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  1. What a great idea, Aileen! I love the design you came up with. Bob and I had stopped wearing our rings for several years, so on our 40th anniversary, we decided to get new ones. I think I’ll take a look in my jewelry box and see if I could do something with our old rings…

    1. Julie,

      I’ll bet LOTS of people have rings in their jewelry box! It’s really fun to brainstorm with a designer and see all the possibilities on a computer screen. And, of course, you don’t have to choose another ring. You could go with earrings or a necklace or a bracelet. I don’t wear much jewelry, so the ring made the most sense for me. If you have a new piece made, send me a photo!

      Miss you, Girl!

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