By Margaret Mather

I loved to play with my mother’s jewellery. It held a fascination for me as a child. One piece in particular was of special interest. It was a ring with a deep blue stone set into an extraordinary mount. I tried year after year to convince her to part with it, but she never would. It became a joke between us.

“Maybe one day I might let you have it,” she would say.

“You never wear it, Mum. If you were to let me have it, I promise I would look after it, cherish it, and wear it with pride.”

“Oh would you now, just like the way you cherished my gold signet ring? Remember, when you took it to school and lost it during a cookery lesson? Mum would raise her eyebrows and my face would turn bright red.

I knew the story of the ring inside out. Every time I looked in her jewellery box, I’d pester her to tell me again. She would dutifully oblige but still no amount of persuasion would make her part with it. My mother, who would give me her last penny, cocked a deaf ear to all of my whinging and pleading.

The ring was a gift from a friend of my grandfather’s.

At least that’s what she told me.

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