“The farther you can look back, the further you can look ahead.” Winston Churchill
We don’t know how or when but during our first term in Brazil a pearl was lost from Doris’s heirloom ring. What could we do to repair the ring? Certainly something had to be done–the history of that ring demanded action. You see, that ring came into the family when Doris’ great-grandfather McEwen gave it to his wife back in the 1870s—no doubt at their wedding. Now and aside from Doris, “My great-grandmother was born in the USA but since she was loyal to the English crown—a U.E.L—arrangements were made for her to flee to Canada into the arms of John McEwen. He met her in Cornwall, Ontario after she crossed the St. Lawrence River during the winter travelling on the ice with a horse and cutter.”
The ring was then passed down to their daughter Harriet who married Samuel Craig. But since the ring was small he had it cut and refitted into a larger band that would fit the finger of his wife—she was known as Hattie. Then since Doris was the oldest of her granddaughters, Hattie walked the long lane on Doris’ parent’s farm to place it on her finger just days before our wedding. The timing was significant for Doris had graduated that Monday and we were being married on the following Saturday. Now our daughter Monica has the ring—but that was not on our minds there in Brazil—all we wanted was the ring be repaired.
We were not long in Brazil till we came to know that the majority of the world’s semi-precious stones were mined in Brazil. I smile when I think back that we were looking for a pearl—why? Well Brazil is not noted for pearls. But in our search for repairs we ended up in a Sao Paulo skyscraper where each door we passed through on that floor was locked behind us. Then a kindly gentleman placed a small leather bag on a counter and poured out handfuls of beautiful cut stones. But no pearls of course. No matter; we chose two sapphires to replace what had been matching pearls.
Those sapphires are a real treasure for they remind us not only of Brazil but of the vast industry in such stones. For us it is important to remember that the sapphire is the next hardest stone after the diamond. Then comes the topaz and then I know little of the hardness of the hundred and more of other stones that are mined, cut and polished in Brazil.
The diamond given as an engagement ring testifies to the security of love in that relationship. And I suppose many other stones given along life’s way say something similar. What a choice is available in these mysterious children of Mother Nature! All those colours of spring flowers are arranged by Brazilians into combinations of incredible jewels that only an artist can imagine. Brazil has been famous in the past for its aquamarine stones for they come in 35 shades of blue though many prefer the blue topaz. Back in 1910 there was found in Minas Gerais—that is where most of those stones come from—an aquamarine weighing in at 244 pounds. Now that would make quite a ring wouldn’t it?
If you should wish to buy unmounted stones, the best place to buy them is in the city of Cristalina in Minas Gerais. Translated the State’s name is “General Mines” and that tells you about not only the mines but the cutting and polishing—often work done in home workshops. A few years ago I brought home some lovely stones but the gold here and the labour involved in mounting them made it more sensible to buy them finished in Brazil.
You might be enthralled with those Brazilians stones and wish to bring a handful home. Ah but there is a discovery that we made over the years both in Brazil and Canada. It is this–every person has more value than the best of Brazil’s jewelry. The summary of that great value is in the words of Jesus, “For God so love the world…” I believe God was not thinking of continents and oceans or even Brazilian jewels. He was talking about you and me. The lost pearl in the heirloom ring may say something about our own sense of lostness. But remember this; the Master Jeweller has the ability to not only to make repairs but as well to make changes that dramatically increase our value.