That Engagement Ring, part 2

Some of you might have read a post of mine from a couple of years ago where I mentioned a very slight obsession I have with Laura’s engagement ring. For years I thought I was the only one but something tells me there are others out there harboring a secret desire for a garnet and pearl ring of your very own. You’re in luck! The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove has heard your pleas and commissioned a reproduction garnet and pearl ring based on a 1884 design and Laura’s own description in These Happy Golden Years. I’ve always wondered why none of the homesites have done this before so it’s great to see Walnut Grove taking the initiative.

Of course I wanted this ring the minute I saw it advertised so I called Walnut Grove to get more information. The ring is based on a drawing from a 1884 Montgomery Ward’s catalog that resembles Laura’s written descriptions. 1884 is the year Laura and Almanzo got engaged. Now we don’t know whether Manly got Laura’s ring from a catalog, he could have gone to one of the local jewelry stores in De Smet, but we do know they ordered other things from the Ward’s catalog (such as their first Christmas gift to each other, the glassware set that included the famous oval bread plate) so it’s not a stretch to assume he ordered Laura’s ring from Montgomery Wards as well, especially if he didn’t want gossip spreading all over town that he was buying a ring.

The museum is taking orders for the initial batch of rings for just a few more days, the order will be sent to the jeweler on October 3.  Since the rings take 4 weeks to make, this is probably your only chance to get the ring in time for Christmas. The museum will continue taking orders after October 3 but the jeweler needs a minimum of six orders for each production run. The initial prices ($299/10k gold, $199/sterling silver) are good through December 31, 2011.

The museum will be taking prepaid orders at Laurapalooza next year but wouldn’t you rather have your ring by then? I know I would. Luckily I have a birthday coming up in November so the timing couldn’t be better. What’s your excuse reason?

Here’s the ordering information for you one more time – go make that phone call so that you can show me your ring at Laurapalooza 2012!

Posted in Cultural Impact, Homesites, Museums and Attractions, LauraPalooza 2012, LIW-Related Items, These Happy Golden Years, Uncategorized, Walnut Grove Tagged with:
10 comments on “That Engagement Ring, part 2
  1. Dr Laura says:

    I ordered mine! I have an antique pearl and garnet ring but it is too fragile to wear as I’ve lost and replaced the pearls that seem to fall out when worn. Of course I need to have this ring to complete my Laura outfit which I wear when giving presentations. That’s my excuse anyway.

  2. Laura Welser says:

    I ordered mine too! I also have an antique ring that’s very similar, but I’m afraid to wear it as it’s so fragile. This will be my anniversary/birthday/Christmas gift (or at least that’s how I justified it). 🙂

  3. In my head, I just had a very dorky picture of Laurapalooza 2012, with those of us who ordered rings all showing them off on our hands :). WonderWilder Power! 🙂 (Whew, I might have pegged the geek-o-meter with that one!) Looking forward to receiving my ring, which I am considering to be a reward to myself for working hard on the research!

  4. Jonni says:

    Barb – I had the same dorky picture, it’ll be like being in a Laura sorority!

  5. LauriOH says:

    I said the same thing to Nicole when I ordered mine. We at least have to have a picture of all of us together with our rings.

  6. Amy says:

    How long ido we have to order the ring? Is it a one time offer?

    • Sarah Uthoff says:

      The onetime special order price is over, but the Walnut Grove Museum got enough orders that for the time being it’s being offered as a regular gift shop item at a slightly higher price. However, availability relies on demand being enough to make the Museum a profit. In other words, there is no guarantee for how long they will be available. If you know you want one, the sooner you order the better.

  7. Laetitia says:

    I find it amusing that the original ring was only $1.40. I know things cost less back then but that was about a day of Laura’s wages. And I’m given to understand that a teacher’s salary was not considered at all high at the time. So that’s equals to what? a ring under $150 in today’s currency? my graduation ring cost about that much….

  8. Hallie says:

    Any chance there will be another round of orders on these soon?

    • Melanie Stringer says:

      Hi Hallie,
      The ring is offered in Gold, White Gold, and Sterling Silver settings, and is still available through the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN on their website:

      You can also contact Museum Director Amy Ankrum and her staff toll-free (800)528-7280
      or, for International callers: (507) 859-2358

      Walnut Grove’s museum gift shop is open year-round, too!