What I love most about my job is that I get to share in the amazing stories that happen to people who commission jewellery.
Stevie and her family have bought several items of jewellery from me since we opened in 1999 and I was really touched when she took the time to visit me and let me know she was going to Africa. She had taken a very brave decision to go and become a missionary nurse and she wrote a blog to share some of the experiences she had working in Benin. https://stevieinafrica.wordpress.com/
She went to help others but hadn't realised that this journey would teach her so much about love. She wrote in her blog;
"Red and pink hearts, flowers or chocolates do not define love. True love isn’t the love of romantic walks along the beach or a candle lit dinners or anything else my favourite romcoms like to portray it as. It’s dirty, smelly and often unpleasant. It’s not turning your face away from a tuberculosis patient who is dying a painful death, even though they are coughing all over you. It’s examining and resuscitation a patient going into shock because of chronic diarrhoea that has yet to be cleared up. It’s calming down a psychosis patient who is panicking in her unfamiliar surroundings despite that fact the she spat all over you only seconds before hand. It’s putting an IV catheter back in for a patient who desperately needs IV fluids even though they just pulled out that last one. It’s speaking loving to a dying elderly patient who is refusing to eat instead of shouting in frustration. It’s following a ‘garde-malade’ for the 30th time that morning to see his patient, even though you know there is nothing imminently wrong with him, just to easy his anxiety"
When someone gives up so much of their own time for other people, it's extra special when good things happen to them and so it was wonderful to get a Facebook message from Stevie telling me that she would like to commission an engagement ring because she was getting married later this year. Stevie met Esaïe in Benin. She wanted the engagement ring to be inspired by a bible passage.
"Hi Christine, my boyfriend (soon to be fiancé) and I are looking for an engagement ring with a difference. I'm not sure if this is something you can help us with. We would like to ring to be designed around the proverbs 31 bible passage which I'll attach at the end of this message. Therefore I would like the main stone to be a delicate ruby. That is the only requirement. We're open to suggestions on materials for the ring etc.
Thank you Stevie
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honour her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverb 31v10-31"
I suggested to Stevie that we make ring for her based on our "Stay Together" collection of jewellery. The Stay Together collection is inspired by the millions of chance encounters that bring us together and the desire to keep those connections strong. I felt the wrapped wire in this design referenced the distaff and the spindle in the passage and was like a thread around her finger to remind her of the words in the Proverb. Stevie loved this idea and so we made the ring.
She sent me this lovely photograph of her and Esaïe when they got engaged.
It's an honour to share a small part in such a very special event.