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My grandmother Kitty used to let my twin sister Lo and I play with her jewellery which she kept in a tortoiseshell trinket box. It overflowed with brooches, earrings, necklaces and, mysteriously, two engagement rings - one with rubies and one with sapphires. Even with all this beautiful jewellery I only ever saw her wear plain gold ring earrings and her gold wedding band.
When my grandmother was younger she met Bill and romance blossomed, although the relationship was met with disapproval from Ma and Pa Griffin who my grandmother lived with after her Mum had died. There was some relief when the war intervened and Bill headed off to Gallipoli, but was soon sent home and the romance was rekindled, some people happier than others.
One day Bill disappeared. With the help of Fred, Kitty's brother, who was a station-hand at the local railway station in Hukanui, he had arranged for Kitty and Bill to be on the same train journey to Wellington, Bill was waiting on the platform at Eketahuna.
With some help from an obliging boarding house proprietor in Wellington they were married in a registry office and able to stay hidden from Pa Griffin, who had set off to find Kitty, and then set off to Nelson. My grandparents remained happily married celebrating their golden wedding anniversary fifty years after they eloped.
Now all these years later my twin sister and I have one of these rings each - I have the sapphires. Both rings were gold, but I am a silver girl so I had mine remodelled by a a talented young Dalgleish Jeweller. My ring is now an elegantly bold, rounded silver band featuring the two sapphires and two small diamonds from Kitty's ring and the diamond from my own engagement ring. My three children gave it to me for my 70th birthday, almost a hundred years after my Nana owned it. I love it and wear it all the time. The gold from both rings were fashioned into ear studs for my daughter, so now we each own a piece of Kitty's one hundred year old sapphire ring.
We'll always wonder why two engagement rings? Bill was always the love of Kitty's life and I believe as there was no time for an official engagement in their hectic elopement, over the years 'our' rings were tokens of his love
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