This is the story of a Ring. Not the One Ring. No Sauron involved here. This is a story about one of my most prized possessions; my Star Fleet Academy class ring. Nerd alert! Also, Emotion Alert!
A long time ago, actually more than 20 years ago, I saw an advertisement for a novelty ring from Star Trek. It captured my attention as I tend to like to collect memorabilia that could actually be in the show or movie vs stuff that says “Star Trek” on it. I like tech manuals that are presented as “in universe,” for example. It is just what I like to collect. If I collect a replica of a phaser, it shouldn’t say “Star Trek” on it, it should just look like a phaser. So I saw this ad:
I wanted this ring so badly, that I made a fool of myself to my loving wife, Mary. I begged, I pleaded, I offered to sell one of the kids! Alas, we could not afford it as it was more than I made in about a month back then. I fully understood that this ring would never be mine. Fast forward to Christmas, 1994. Scattered around the Yule tree were 17 little boxes. Inside of the first box was a pewter Star Trek keychain. Inside the next box was… a pewter Star Trek keychain. Inside the next… you get the idea. Turns out there was a matching set of 16 pewter keychains from Rawcliff that showed up in a local mall and Mary had gotten each one for me. Each one in a small silver box. Like these:
Did I say 17 boxes on the tree? I did. In the last box, perched at the pinnacle of the tree, was the Academy Ring! My wife stretched, scrimped, saved and twisted our finances and got the ring for me. She had gotten the mall guy to give her an extra box so that they would all match. I was stunned. I must admit that the tears flowed. That was, by far, the best Star Trek gift I had ever gotten. I wore the ring from that point forward.
I rarely removed it and it became a permanent fixture on my hand, and in my conversations with other Trek fans. I always showed it off. It got mistaken over the years for a Masonic ring (I am not a Mason,) a military ring (I have never served,) and once, some sort of satanic symbol (not a Christian or a Satanist.) It was always a point of contact with my love of Trek, my nerd-dom, and the love of my wife. I wore that ring, continuously, day and night, for over 20 years.
Just about 4 months ago, I cracked the stone around the delta shield Star Trek emblem in the center stone. I attempted a repair by adding in CA glue and that seemed to make it solid again. The actual crack was almost microscopic and I thought I had dodged a bullet. I was wrong. Just before Christmas 2016, I lost the entire delta shield out of the ring, and most of the stone. I suspect that I somehow banged the ring against something and that crack let go, but if so, I didn’t realize it when it happened. I simply looked down at my ring one night, and saw the horrible damage. I was heart broken. I called out to Mary; “My ring is ruined!” I didn’t know what to do. Mary calmed me down, and suggested contacting Josten’s to find out if the ring could be repaired, and how much it might cost. I was sure that even if it could be repaired, it would cost something close to the original cost of the ring, given 20 years of inflation.
I went to the Josten’s site on the web and looked for a link for repairs. They do indeed have a system for repairing class rings and I contacted a friendly operator in person to see if they had any idea about the cost. She said to me; “send us the ring. It has a lifetime warranty.”
“But ‘I’ broke the ring,” I replied.
“Send it to us anyway, and we will see if it can be repaired, and if so, we will let you know the cost first, if it isn’t covered under the warranty.” said my Customer Service Valkyrie.
I sent the ring to them the week before Christmas. I was notified that “We have received your jewelry item for adjustment. It is scheduled to be completed and returned to you at the address above approximately the week of (14-JAN-17).” No mention of cost to repair.
A tense 2 weeks later and here we are:
Back where it belongs!
I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Josten’s! They went above and beyond and gave me back my prized possession. It is intact and beautiful! This is a prime example of the kind of customer service that has become very rare in today’s world. Josten’s, I salute you!