Love, commitment, hope for the future. A diamond ring can mean all of these things.
But thanks to a mystery couple in Oxfordshire, a diamond ring can also mean food, shelter and medical care for people caught up in the conflict in Syria.
The couple, who are originally from Syria, visited the British Red Cross shop in Kidlington in September.
While giving a bag of donations to shop manager Helen Bianchini and volunteer Ann Prior, they mentioned that it included a diamond ring.
Helen explained: “The lady told me that in among the donated goods was a diamond ring.
“She said that, as a Syrian herself, she was very grateful for the help the Red Cross was giving to the people of her country.
“At first we didn’t think the ring was particularly valuable, but we asked a local jeweller to get their expert opinion and they confirmed it was indeed gold and diamond.”
As usual with valuable donations, the shop team took the ring to a nearby auctioneer to sell.
It fetched an astonishing £400 at auction in November.
Then the auction house made the gift even more valuable by waiving their usual commission fee.
“Whenever we auction an item on behalf of a charity we waive the commission fee – it just seems the right thing to do,” said Joe Smith, owner of the auctioneers.
“We have valued and sold a number of items on behalf of the Red Cross but I think that the diamond ring has raised the highest amount. It must have come as a very nice surprise.”
Please come back so we can say thank you
The shop team have been on the lookout for the generous donors, but the couple have never returned to the Kidlington store.
Helen said: “It’s a shame the couple haven’t come back into the shop as I would love to let them know just how much money their donation has made.
“We are grateful to everyone who donates items for us to sell in our shop, but this ring is extra special because the reason behind the donation is so personal.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the couple for their generosity.”
Every day the Red Cross and Red Crescent deliver essential emergency supplies and medical care to thousands of people in desperate need in Syria.
The £400 raised by the couple’s donation could cover the cost of five mattresses and 13 blankets for Syrian families forced to flee their homes.
Or it could buy food parcels containing rice, tea, oil, lentils, tinned fish and other staples that would feed four families for around a month.