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Recently a client showed us a platinum and Old European-cut Diamond ring with a possibly unique family history. Our challenge was to create a wedding band to compliment the style of a ring that is almost 100 years old.
The diamond ring originally belonged to our client’s great-great-aunt, hereafter “Mrs. L ”. At the outbreak of World War II, she was living in the Philippines with her husband, one of the founders of the Manila Stock Exchange. An illness that prevented them from being evacuated with other U.S. citizens had a frightening consequence: when the Japanese invaded the Philippines they were sent to an internment camp.
At the outset of their imprisonment, Mrs. L. realized that she and her husband would be stripped of all possessions. Fearful of losing the diamond ring that her husband had proposed with in the 1920’s, she hid the cherished ring inside the drain pipe of a building within the camp, in the hope that it would not fall into enemy hands and be lost forever.
Although in poor health, both Mrs. L. and her husband managed to survive their ordeal in the Japanese internment camp. When finally liberated in 1945, Mrs. L. retrieved her diamond ring, untouched in its astutely chosen hiding place.
Some years later, the ring passed from Mrs. L. to her sister, our client’s great-grandmother and in time, down through the generations to the present day when the much-loved ring has just become an engagement ring once again.
After almost a century of wear, this noteworthy diamond ring is in good but not robust condition. Since the need for restoration work would inevitably arise in the near future, we felt it preferable to preserve the integrity of the ring as it is now. Placing a single wedding band alongside would create friction, further wearing the sides of the ring. To prevent this, we designed a pair of wedding bands, contoured for a snug “glove fit” on either side. The antique ring nestles, perfectly aligned, between the connected bands that will fend off much of the normal wear and tear of daily use.
We wanted to ensure that the antique diamond ring and the new bands looked as if they had always belonged together. To complete the impression, the bands were hand-engraved with “bright-cut” decoration in a style appropriate to the date of the diamond ring.
We are honored to have been chosen for such a sensitive and meaningful project, and proud of the trust placed in Villarreal Fine Jewelers by the great-great-grand-niece of Mrs. L. If the late Mrs. L. is looking down from above, we do hope that she is pleased with the finished results!