Juan and Gino,
Thank you SO much for restoring my Uncle Vito's ring for me. I'm so glad you were able to rebuild the band. As promised when I left yesterday, here's a story about the ring that explains how important it is to me and to my family. I also posted this to Facebook and tagged your Facebook page in the post. I'll be singing your praises to anyone I know that needs jewelry to purchase or to have repaired. Thank you again for this! It means so much!
My Uncle Vito's Ring
When my sister, Kathy, and I were little, we can remember going over to my Uncle Vito's house for family gatherings. Now we're talking about somewhere near 20 Italians sitting around a table talking to each other at the top of their lungs even though they were mere feet away. In the midst of the loud symphony of voices, Kathy and I would be sitting quietly at the end of the table across from Uncle Vito sitting at the head. Eventually, somewhere in the loud chaos, one of us would meet eyes with Uncle Vito.
"Look at Uncle Vito", Kathy would say. So I'd look and, to my surprise, Uncle Vito was oddly staring at us with his eyes. He didn't want us to see his eyes though. As we looked lower, we'd notice that Uncle Vito had this crazy ring on his finger. A silver ring with an eyeball in it. His hand would be in a fist with his pointer finger extended already pointing directly at the eye on the ring. When he finally would see that Kathy and I were looking at him, he'd start in.
He'd move his finger from pointing at the eyeball on the ring to pointing at us. He'd point back to the eyeball ring. Again, he'd point back at us. It was as if to say "the eye is watching you". He was the ultimate prankster and troll for this. To think he was just sitting down there waiting for us to look so he could pull this creepy prank blows my mind and he did it on multiple occasions when we had big family gatherings.
As we grew, we came less creeped out by it and, I think I speak for Kathy too when I say, we looked forward to it so we could have a good laugh. It was probably between 1989 and 1990 that I would start to tell Uncle Vito "Uncle Vito, you're so funny. When you die, I want that ring."
And then 1993 rolled around. I graduated high school and Uncle Vito died shortly thereafter. I can remember being outside on my driveway doing something when my Aunt Pat walked over (they lived next door to us back then) with a box of things for my dad. He met her on the lawn between the houses and she was saying things to Dad that I can't remember. What I do remember is what she said to me. She said "Uncle Vito knew you loved this and you should have it". She handed me the ring. To my surprise, the entire band had been broken off and all that remained was the top portion of the ring and the eyeball.
For a while, dad held on to it. Some time in the early 2000s, he came across it again and gave it to me. This ring has sat in my nightstand, broken, for the better part of 15 years. Once, dad took it to a jeweler and they refused to work on it. I took it to another jeweler some time around 2010 and the same thing happened. They said they wouldn't remove the eye and set it in a new ring for me. They also weren't capable of working on rebuilding the band. I have no idea why.
Going through my nightstand a few weeks ago, I saw it there. I went to Le Jean's Jewelers in Altamonte. These are some of the nicest people I've ever met and I told them what I was hoping to have done. They were confident they could rebuild the band so I left the ring in their care. This ring was old and tarnised to the point that it now looked like brass. As it turns out, it was silver. They cleaned it up beautifully and rebuilt the band.
Last night I went to pick it up and got pretty emotional when I put it on my right ring finger for the first time since 1993 when it was given to me. I loved Uncle Vito very much and he is the reason I wound up being the kind of prankster I am. Having this ring back makes me feel like I have a part of him with me and that now I can pull the same prank on my daughter. I hope to be able to pull the prank on my grandkids one day too.
Big thanks to Le Jean's Jewelers for making this possible. The finished result is beautiful and I couldn't be happier! I'm proudly wearing it at the office today and it's a perfect fit. Happy nephew here. I miss you, Uncle Vito!