She not only got back her priceless piece of family jewelry, she gained a friend and one heck of a story.
When I was in sixth grade, my great grandmother gave me something very special — a gold ring that held in the center a 19th century 24-carat gold U.S. minted dime. She gave it to me as an early Jr. High graduation present in case she wasn’t around to see my graduation day.
My grandma must have saved for weeks, if not months, in order to afford that ring. It wasn’t worth a fortune. But it was worth something. It was priceless to me.
That same year I wore it to school and lost it at recess. I was devastated.
Some of us know what it’s like to lose something priceless and never get it back. Fortunately my friend, Hayley Smart, had better luck. She not only got back her priceless piece of family jewelry, she gained a friend and one heck of a story.
This is Hayley below. In fact, I was once her church camp counselor. Now I’m proud to see that she’s grown into a successful college graduate who works in Washington D.C. for a non-profit called the Middle East Institute.
Hayley recently went on her first trip to the Middle East, an area of the world in which her family immigrated from. And when she got back she shared an incredible story with me.
The entire story revolved around a silver puzzle ring that Hayley’s dad had given to her and hersister. He explained to them that his father had bought them in Tehran decades earlier.
If you are curious, this is what a puzzle ring looks like.
Hayley never took the ring off, wearing it for years until one of the bands corroded and broke. However, even after it fell apart she kept it on her nightstand.
She is even wearing it in this old family photo. You can see Hayley in the lower right.
It was in 2012 that Hayley’s ring gained even more sentimental significance. That was the year the Academy Award-winning film Argo came out. The film was based on the conflict that happened between Iranian activists who took American Embassy personnel hostage in Tehran in 1979. The resulting mission to save those hostages is what inspired the movie.
Hayley learned shortly after the movie’s release that her family had moved to Tehran in 1978 where her grandfather worked for an American defense contractor. Her dad was only a teenager when the Iranian Revolution erupted that next November and the family had to flee the country.
But soon after learning this significant news about her family’s heritage, something devastating happened.
“About a year after I learned this context, the broken ring disappeared. I was devastated,” said Hayley.
So this year, Hayley took her first trip to the Middle East. One thing she was really hoping to find — a new puzzle ring.
She made several stops on her trip to no avail. Not until she wandered into a jeweler’s “cozy” store in Jerusalem did she find exactly what she was looking for. His name was Joseph.
“I was overjoyed. We bought a ring. While the jeweler made sure I could put the ring back together, I told him I once had one that my grandfather purchased in Tehran. He said HE was from Iran, actually, and asked why my grandfather was there. I explained that he had been a civilian contractor, and he replied:
“I probably met him. I owned the jeweler’s shop in the Pars American Club. You should ask him if he remembers—it was called Joseph and Bros.”
Hayley thought “there’s no way” it could be the same jeweler. After all, she was on the opposite side of the world, 40 years after her family resided there.
But Hayley had what she called one of those “COINCIDENCE TINGLES.” So she asked her parents about the ring and where it came from.
“I wasn’t positive until my mom found the original instructional booklet in my grandfather’s apartment, but truth is stranger than fiction:
The Jerusalem jeweler from whom I bought a ring to replace the one I’d lost turned out to be the very same man who sold my grandfather my ring in Tehran nearly 40 years ago,” said Hayley.
That’s right, Joseph was the same jeweler that sold her previous ring to her grandfather in the 70s.
Hayley was so thrilled by the coincidence she took a picture with Joseph before she left. It’s a moment she’ll always treasure.
And Hayley still has Joseph’s contact info and plans on writing him, thanking him for the friendly service he’s provided to not only her, but her grandfather nearly 40 years ago.
It makes you want to go through old documents to see if you can have a “coincidence tingle” of your own.
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