Mind you, I can't figure out why! Nor indeed why people in general seem to take me to their hearts, when really I'd say that I'm no more than pleasant, helpful and supportive - perhaps a good listener too. Broadly-speaking, I'd characterise myself as a 'good value' person to spend time with. But then surely most other people strive to be like this, and surely most succeed - as well as, or better, than I do. I'd certainly claim to be inoffensive, and always upbeat and ready to chat in a cheerful way; but otherwise nothing very remarkable, or different from most others. I was certainly not much valued in my past life. Not much going for me then, to be sure.
So, it was a surprise when, late last February, Jo said to me that she wanted to enhance the right on my right hand with a little diamond, as a gift. A gift for what, I wondered. I mean, a diamond. However small, that would cost. I demurred, hoping she'd drop the idea. But she didn't.
Jo reminded me that she had an account with a local jeweller we both knew - Pruden & Smith in Ditchling - and regularly recycled her own jewellery, getting the workshop people there to make new things for her from old pieces. They were holding several little diamonds from old rings. She wanted to put one of these in my silver ring, to add a nice bit of glitter.
So it was to be only a very small diamond then. The fitting-work would cost more than the value of the stone itself. Even so, I was still inclined to say no, not being able to see how a good but not outstanding friendship could merit such signal generosity. Be it a mere speck, a diamond is still very valuable. Or at least very, very special.
But I was not allowed to resist - I got a metaphoric kick-under-the-table from Jackie. I handed over the ring for its upgrade. It seemed to me that those two - Jo and Jackie - had been discussing the gift, and weren't going to let me refuse. OK, I didn't want to thwart Jo's wish!
The hand-over was on 16th March. I departed on holiday. Jo then decided that she'd make it two diamonds, not just one. Two? Crikey! Oh well, I was determined to enjoy her generosity like any normal person would, and not spoil it for her.
So no quibbling! It seemed out of my hands anyway.
Easter was early in 2018, and Pruden & Smith developed a backlog of work to be done. So I went off on holiday again without the ring. I missed it. I'd worn it 24/7 since buying it from Hi Ho Silver in Lyme Regis on 18th September 2009. For only £12.
The next development occurred on 23rd April. Jo texted me with a photo of the ring now fitted with the two little diamonds in her gift:
Presumably she took the picture, and that was Anton Pruden's finger! Jo said this in the text:
Check out your ring. Was thinking that two extra smaller stones either side might work what do you think? Hope u r enjoying your trip away. Lol Jo x
The following rapid exchange then took place (I've excluded any non-ring or non-holiday stuff):
Lucy: Is that a real image of the ring as it now is? Gosh. It looks fabulous! I've been missing my ring, and eagerly look forward to being reunited. You are SO generous. Trip half-over today: I'm now at Cheddar. The fine weather keeps on coming. Luby XX
Jo: Yes its yours for sure. Do envisage smaller diamonds either side of ones there already nearer the middle bit, would that be too much !! might just finish it off what do you think. Happy for you to have them sweetie. It would just be £25 per stone to fit them. The first two already in are on me. Hugs Jo x
Lucy: I took a screenshot of the picture in your first text today about the ring, and have been considering it carefully. In its original state the ring was a beautifully simple piece of design. Now some sophistication has been added, greatly enhancing its appearance (and status) as jewellery. But the design remains clean and uncomplicated. There's a definite risk that the ring could begin to look fussy if more gems were added. That said, I do see what you mean about finishing it off properly! Yes, a small diamond on either side, just inward of the existing larger gemstone, would look very good indeed. Is that £50 I'd have to pay? No problem. Please go ahead. Luby XX
Back from holiday, and with that £50 in Jo's hands, I waited with excitement for news of the ring. Yesterday, after several phone calls in the previous couple of weeks to chivvy them along, Jo got a phone call to say that it was finally ready. So was another ring that she had had remade for herself. After an après-pilates lunch, helping her choose plants from Lidl for planting, and a visit to her Mum, we drove out to Ditchling - and at last I was reunited with my very-much-missed ring.
Gosh, it did look good. Here I am in the shop.
My thanks to Jo were heartfelt. What a nice job they'd made. The ring looked new again! I quickly stepped outside while she paid up - I didn't want to learn what her gift to me had cost her. A lot more than the £12 the ring had originally cost me in 2009, I'm thinking. I took her off to the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft for tea and cake, dropped her off with her plants, and went home.
Back indoors, I could study the ring rebooted.
It was subtly done. The ring's original character and appeal hadn't been compromised, only improved. For the first time in my life I had diamonds to wear! Thanks to Jo.
Reluctantly, I soon decided that the turquoise ring had to be taken off and put away. My diamond-laden ring needed a hand all to itself. It was the right decision. Less is more.