I had an unusual experience last night. My colleague of over 10 years had me over for supper last night to help her finish the last of the Memorial Day dinner. We mostly talked business...the master's thesis she is about to finish, my paper for the ALA meeting in Chicago..and then she asked me if I wanted any of her mother's rings.

She had lost her mother a few months ago. I had been with her through the decision almost four years ago, after a hospital crisis, to have her move in with her, and then got to know her mother well. A feisty Jewish lady, from Chicago, a second generation American. She and her husband had raised two daughters, and enjoyed an active social life, and her jewlery, the long white gloves, evening bags, were certainly very much a part of the experience.

We looked at the rings, ornate, costume jewelry, probably made in the US, ornate a lot of detail.. except for one. It was an elaborately carved ring with no stones. My friend had assured me that if I did not take the rings they were going to charity, but when asked about this one, she admitted her mother had brought it back from Israel on the trip she had sent them to, surely with the insurance money after her husband was was killed in a car wreck. Keep it, keep it, I insisted. She did.

Reluctantly I did take the 19 rings, saying it was just to borrow, to keep them for her. When I got home I was on the Net and looking for information about costume jewelry. Suddenly an entire new subject was thrown upon to me. I had not realized so much of the jewelry was actually signed, those pieces we would see in department stores through the years, modestly priced, and so many rhinestones and colored glass. I think that I will wear a piece of my friend's mother's ring collection each day for awhile and see what happens. They are not really beautiful to me, but would be conversation pieces. My, how I have gone on. I wonder if you have a favorite jewelry story to share. Are you wearing a ring right now ? Have a good one, Elizabeth -------------------------------------------