The diamond Jerome placed on my left hand in August 1967 was less than a half-carat, but I would have been no prouder if I’d been sporting 20. On April 9, 1968, we stood before the altar and Jerome slipped the matching yellow-gold wedding band onto my ring finger.

The diamond remained on my hand as we served God together in churches in Texas, Tennessee and Alabama, reared our three children and began sending them off to college. 

Lost and Found

I was in my mid 40s when the diamond disappeared. Early one December Sunday, I was startled by the beep of a car’s horn in our driveway. I jolted out of my chair and raced to the kitchen door. Our neighbour, Bob, had come to transport Jerome to a men’s church breakfast. After going inside to relay the message, I discovered the diamond missing from its setting.

Uncertain of when or where I had lost the diamond, I upturned every cushion, scoured under every piece of furniture, scanned the carport repeatedly and refused to vacuum the carpets for weeks. No diamond—anywhere.

If you’ve never lost a precious possession, you can’t imagine the emptiness that kind of loss evokes. My diamond was my “pearl of great price,” a symbol of Jerome’s promise of marriage and of our mutual commitment. 

Months passed. The following July, we attended an out-of-town family gathering. As we pulled into our carport that evening, a glistening object drew my attention to the crevice where the concrete slab and panelled wall connected. Torrents of rain had washed the lost diamond to the surface, almost seven months after my Sunday morning dash to the kitchen door. At once, I remembered bumping my left hand against the doorjamb that December morning. 

Grateful to God for the diamond’s reappearance, I guarded it carefully. The next day, the jeweller secured it in a new four-pronged setting.

Lost and Found … Again?

End of story? Not yet.

Two weeks after the diamond’s reappearance, I removed my engagement ring and wedding band and placed both on the side of the bathtub—the first time I had ever removed my rings for a bath. One clink and now both rings were—you guessed it—down the drain. 

Jerome was on a church trip, so I had time alone to think before crying myself to sleep. I went to our church and asked for prayer. After pouring out my heart to a friend, I was stunned by her response: “When Jerome gets home, he’s going to KILL you.” 

He didn’t kill me. Instead, Jerome replied, “If you ever find your rings, we’ll just place them through your nose.”

Another search ensued. A plumber removed a panel from our den wall to reach the bathtub pipes and, hopefully, retrieve the rings. 

No rings.

If you’ve never lost a precious possession, you can’t imagine the emptiness that kind of loss evokes. FRANCES ROLLINS KING

I indulged in guilt and self-denigration: How could I have removed my rings so carelessly? How can Jerome forgive me? How can I forgive myself? How can God forgive such carelessness? 

Gradually, I worked through the guilt, God healed my heart, and Jerome forgave me. Still, I missed my rings. 

Two weeks later, I spoke with a city utility department employee, who commented, “You’d be surprised to see what the city workers find in manholes around town. If you like, we can send someone to search the nearest one.”

“Sure. What harm can it do?” 

Two city workers opened the manhole cover in front of our house. Nothing there. “Sorry we couldn’t bring you good news,” one said. “Do you want us to check the manhole down the street?” 

“Go ahead.” I knew the search would be futile. 

Minutes later, I opened the front door to a city worker holding up a small muddy object. “Is this yours? It was lodged between two bricks inside the manhole down the street.” 

I recognized my engagement ring, the diamond intact. My wedding band was gone forever, but, once again, God had preserved my diamond. I thanked the man profusely, carefully washed the ring and placed it on my finger. Like the woman in Jesus’ parable of the lost coin (see Luke 15:8-10), I proclaimed my joy to friends.

In April, just as our anniversary came around, Jerome and I attended a going-out-of-business sale. Scanning the jewelry case for a bargain, I spotted a yellow-gold wedding band, identical to my missing ring. Jerome purchased the band as my anniversary gift—and didn’t have it placed through my nose! 

Symbols of Love

As I think of the things I treasure most, I’m reminded that diamond rings and wedding bands are only symbols of lasting treasure, such as the love Jerome and I shared. Jerome understood this truth long before I did. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t rush to buy me a new diamond after the losses.

After Jerome’s death, my rings took on new meaning as symbols of the 41 years of marriage we’d shared, reminders of our enduring bond. Today, my greatest treasures are in heaven with Jesus. 

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven …. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

I’m so thankful to have known Jerome and to have shared life, children and ministry with him. I pray that my children and grandchildren can learn from my diamond’s journey, that while some of our most precious possessions may be lost by carelessness, we can be intentional about what we treasure most.

Photo: Levon/

Leave a Comment