Do you remember shopping for your high school class ring? I spent hours deciding on the perfect images, stone and engraving. I had a cross placed under the stone so you could see it through the garnet – my birthstone. I debated between yellow 10k gold and 14k gold and ultimately decided on the first due to costs. As typical of my friends and I, my Father paid for the ring.
My Father also paid for my class ring when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 1999 (10k yellow gold, flat blue lapis stone) and master’s degree in 2002 (10k white gold insignia ring, no stone). Fast forward 11 years later and my last class ring has been the most difficult to obtain.
I’ve begun to realize that handmade items are precious. The importance of craftsmanship and a real person making something that I will cherish has become important. I wrote about this when I purchased a leather cuff from an artisan, Kate Reisterer, on Etsy.
Last October, after many months of research and several dozen emails, I found a silversmith online in Arizona with great feedback and a perfect ring. A wide, silver, hammered band with a square cabochon garnet and gold accents. I ordered some custom stamping on the outside to reflect the degree, school and year.
I takes from 6 to 10 weeks for a handmade ring, I’ve learned. Before Christmas I received the shipping notice. I waited. And waited. It never came. The tracking ended somewhere in Phoenix, so the vendor filed for insurance reimbursement for the lost package and proceeded to remake the ring.
The stone broke, irreplaceable.
We redesigned something similar and added a spinner band with the stamping because it was a smaller stone.
I never got the ring.
When I contacted the seller, I received a refund in reply. I guess our business was over. Nearly six months and no ring. Graduation was in May and I wanted it before I walked. Back to square one.
I found a silver jewelry artisan on Etsy and ordered a triple spinner ring. The top spinner had five garnet stones, the bottom five citrine stones. This signified the University of Minnesota maroon and gold colors. In the middle ring, stamped: PhD UMN 2013. It arrived a week before graduation, right at the 6 week window. Exactly what I ordered. Finally.
And then two stones fell out.
I contacted the seller and she promised to replace it before we left for graduation. She completely kept the promise and I had it the morning before we left. I walked with it and thought all was well.
And then two stones fell out.
So, I sent it back. I received my refund today and my replacement ring from a different Etsy seller.
And it’s perfect.
I don’t know why Marie at 11th House was the final seller who was able to fulfill my order. I don’t know why it took nearly 9 months to get one single piece of jewelry. Here’s what I do know…
Things I wear on my body are precious.
I did not want a mass-marketed ring. This was a special degree, a hard won fight for both myself and my family. A rare achievement and a one-of-a-kind memento.
I guess nine months is nothing.