A devastated 89-year-old man who lost his one-of-a-kind wedding ring that was given to him by his deceased wife has been given a helping hand from a local police department and jeweler.
When David W. Eaton, of Irvine, California married his wife Babette in 1987, he commissioned several custom pieces from Gabriela Hebin, a local jeweler, and settled on a design with a “detailed gold castle like something you would see in the hills of Bavaria, with a diamond on top of the tower,” according to the Irvine Police Department.
Even though his wife passed away 13 years ago after suffering from dementia and a series of other health battles, he had not once ever taken it off in that entire time.
But in June 2019, when David was running some errands, he looked down at his hand to see that his ring had disappeared. He assumed it must have slipped off due to his rapid weight loss after being treated for cancer.
“He retraced his steps and left his information with the businesses he visited, hoping someone would find it and turn it in,” the Irvine Police Department said. “When that did not happen, he refused to give up. He called several local police agencies asking for help locating the woman who created his ring, and eventually he called the Irvine Police Department.”
Officer Brian Smith took the call and, even though this situation fell outside of his usual responsibilities, he knew he had to help.
Smith was able to trace down a woman named Gabriela Hebin in Florida who he thought could be the woman who made David’s wedding ring.
Luckily for him, it was.
Smith explained the situation to Hebin, who remembered the ring instantly due to its unusual design, and she informed Smith that she might still have the original mold in storage because of how unique it was.
A few days later Hebin contacted Smith and told him that not only did she have the mold for the ring, but that she had a trip to Southern California already planned. They agreed to meet in person so she could give Officer Smith the mold.
Officer Smith then took the mold to Harry Mardirossian and his daughter Careen, owners of MacTavish Jewelers, in Irvine who loved the story so much that they said they would be happy to recreate the ring as a gift for Eaton.
“Officer Smith told David to come to MacTavish Jewelers on Tuesday, Feb. 4, to see if he could possibly re-design his ring, keeping the surprise a secret,” said the Irvine Police Department. “David came in to MacTavish Jewelers and met Officer Smith for the first time in person, and introduced himself to Harry. He brought his big book of castles with him for reference, and told the story of how Gabriela designed the ring for him over 30 years ago.”
It was then that Harry Mardirossian pulled out a small box from behind the counter.
“Did your ring look something like this?” Harry asked.
David stood there speechless.
“He said it looked exactly like his ring, but was a little surprised at how it all happened,” said Irvine Police.
All that is left to do now is for David to choose the right stone which will be placed at the top of the tower on the ring so he can light up that window once again.
Said David: “When you marry someone and you have a house, they turn on the light for you so you know where home is. I put that stone in the castle’s window to shine like a light so that I can always find my way home.”