The ring, set with a blue sapphire diamond like the famous engagement ring of Diana, the late Princess of Wales, was accidentally sold to a West Vancouver antique dealer.
The ring was a dark blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds in the style of the famous engagement ring of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.
For decades, it held a special place in Linda Paquette’s family. It was given to her by her mother’s father, an RCMP officer, and was part of her mother’s jewelry collection while they lived in North Vancouver.
It was passed down to Linda’s sister Anne and then to her daughter Emma, who planned to wear it on her wedding day.
But in a devastating mix-up, after the family’s matriarch died this summer in North Vancouver, the ring was accidentally taken to a local antique shop and sold.
Now the family is hoping that the person who bought it might be willing to return it.
Linda Paquette said that when she was alive, her mother had long promised the sapphire ring to her sister Anne, one of her four surviving siblings. But more than a decade ago, in 2009, Anne fell seriously ill while living in Victoria and rushed to be with her family. Paquette said her mother brought the ring and placed it on Anne’s finger while Anne was dying in the hospital. Anne told her daughter Emma, then only 17, that she would one day inherit the ring.
Emma promised her mother that she would wear it on her wedding day. Anne died the next day.
After Anne died, Paquette said her mother took the ring back to North Vancouver.
Years passed, and her mother, who had lived at Amica Nursing Home in Edgemont Village, also died in June.
Three of the four Paquette children and Emma Phillips’ granddaughter gathered at the matriarch’s apartment to go through her possessions, and they all took away some items of sentimental value. Paquette said her brother Paul thought their niece had already taken the ring. But he didn’t – in the belief that he would get it after the estate was settled.
Paul Paquette, who lives closest to their mother’s former home in North Vancouver, was accused of getting rid of the rest of their mother’s possessions.
In mid-August, he took the remaining jewelry to an antique store on the North Shore without examining it too closely.
“I can’t tell a diamond from a Coke bottle,” he admits.
It was only last month that the family discovered to their horror that the sapphire ring promised to Emma was missing.
Realizing his mistake, Paul Paquette said he went back to the antique store, only to be told the ring was gone — it was sold relatively quickly.
“I could have just thrown up. My heart was in my stomach,” he said.
Now that there’s no way to track down the new owner, the family is hoping someone on the North Shore might recognize the ring they bought — and be willing to return it to the family.
“It’s a family heirloom,” Linda said, though she added the family knows they have no legal claim to the ring. “It’s up to them if they want to give it back.”
It would be especially special if the ring was returned in time for Emma’s wedding next June, he added.
Anyone who believes they may have purchased or received the ring and is willing to part with it can contact the family through Linda Paquette at [email protected].
“We looked at your replacement,” Linda Paquette said. “But it’s not the same.”