I slip my grandmother’s ring onto the middle finger of my right hand. It’s looser than I remember it. My cheeks have lost their fullness, too. I look in the mirror and think that this is what I look like as a woman.

“He gave it to her for their ruby wedding anniversary”, Auntie Joan told me after the funeral, sharing out the jewelry between my sister and me. The flamboyant opal pendant went to my sister, because concerts are more flamboyant than research. I was given the rings. The engagement ring: a lowset, elegant band of diamonds. He was a bank clerk and she, who was she when they met? The silver ring that he made her himself, along with rings and bracelets for their daughters and grandchildren. I remember running into her open arms and the smell of her campher chest. I remember sitting on his lap and playing in his garden. The ruby ring, for forty years of love. It encircles my finger. I keep it on when I shower, when I sleep, because I don’t want to stop believing in the love it promises is possible. I don’t wear the zirconium. It catches in clothes and tears stockings and is not for everyday. The wedding ring is likewise untouched in my jewelry box. It seems not to be mine, though it was given to me.

Ruby, diamond, ruby, diamond, ruby: held close to each other by slightly uneven golden claws. It is imperfect, one diamond smaller than the other. The golden band tapers to almost nothing at the back of my finger. A jeweller told me that the diamonds are cut in an old-fashioned manner. Once, I imagine, it belonged to another beloved woman. Perhaps she died without granddaughters to leave her jewellery to, and so my grandfather bought it for the woman he loved. Generations of love: he loved her, they loved me. The ring is a bond to remind me of this.

One day, perhaps not till after my death, but one day, I’ll give the ring away. With love.

8 thoughts on “ruby

  1. mcloon

    A lovely post. Rings have such personal connection, don’t they? Once a jeweller friend made me a ring. It had a blue stone, gold-speckled, and she explained to me what it was: lapis lazuli. The words themselves seemed magical. Every now and then, years later, I put it on. It brings back such memories, as if something goes surging through the blood.

  2. Lisa

    There’s that new voice again. I like hearing it.

  3. Auntie Joan

    I think your grandmother is talking to you Jill.
    The ring is a channel to her great legacy of wisdom. What is she saying? The love you have enjoyed from both your grandparents is always there to tap into. You never know, as your blog goes through cyber space THEY may be tapping in to IT ! ! They would be so proud of you I know.

  4. connie

    oh, beautiful ruby ring, beautiful love!
    It recalled me my last trip in Prague. I was so excited to find so many beautiful jewelries there and wanted to buy myself one. But at last I changed my mind and bought one bracelet for my mother, with my tight budget. A small but elegant bracelet made of Czech Granet and old silver. When I told my mother about this on telephone, she was so touched and told me she liked this bracelet very very much, though she hadn’t seen it at that time.
    Love is more beautiful than ruby, than granet, isn’t it?

  5. meredith

    That’s beautiful, Jill. I like these new experiments with voice!

  6. Jill

    Thanks, everyone 🙂

  7. torill

    Remember the bear-ring I wore for a year? I still feel it missing from the right thumb after it made its escape. When I mention that and grieve for it he tells me that I lost the ring because I am no longer lost and in need of the protection and direction. I am starting to believe him. Now, the memory of the bears hugging my thumb is enough, and that cannot be lost. Yes, I think rings have significance beyond looking good on your finger.


  8. Jill

    I lost the ring because I am no longer lost and in need of the protection and direction…that’s beautiful…

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