NEW ORLEANS (AP) ” It’s just a thing ” that’s what Jessica and Andrew Forgino’s friends told them when the Slidell woman lost her engagement ring during a rare moms’ night out. And that’s what the couple kept telling themselves, too.
But for the Forginos, the loss of Jessica’s engagement ring last May was another heartache in a year that had included Jessica’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in March and deaths in the family.
The mother of two girls ” 5-year-old CiCi and 3-year-old Josie ” had just started feeling well enough to go out after a flare-up of the disease that had caused her to lose feeling in her hands. She chose the bowling alley.
“It hurt us,” Jessica, 33, said of losing her ring. “It’s just a thing at the end of the day, but it was the culmination of everything we’d been through … it was a physical representation of loss to us. We never got over it.”
They also never stopped their quest to find the missing ring. The white gold setting was unusual, with a fleur-de-lis on each side of the main diamond. The ring was also small, a 3.5, to fit Jessica’s petite hand.
They broke down her movements minute by minute, from her arrival at the bowling alley to her return home.
She had tried to remove the ring at one point during the evening when a Lil Boosie song came on at the bowling alley. She wanted to show her friends the engraving inside her wedding band, “SCPS,” an abbreviation of the song’s refrain, “Shoulders, chest, pants, shoes,” that’s also engraved inside Andrew’s wedding band.
It was an inside joke for the couple, who’ve been married nine years. “This is the thing that bonds us: We find stupid things funny,” she said.
But the ring had been tight on her finger, so she gave up trying to remove it. It wasn’t until the following day that she realized that while the wedding band was still on her hand, the engagement ring was gone.
They went back to the bowling alley, went to the police, went to pawn shops, posted information online. Jessica checked online marketplaces on a daily basis.
“We were convinced we had lost it in the house,” Jessica said. So Andrew went through their closets, “shoe by shoe,” and took the couch apart three times. His father helped them gut the inside of Jessica’s car.
Each time they thought they saw a sparkle, they would think they had found it. “We were that obsessed,” said Andrew, also 33.
Jessica even burned sage in their house. The couple, who had moved to Slidell from Florida in 2018, thought it couldn’t hurt ” that maybe the house was haunted and was hiding the ring from them.
In October, Jessica’s mother even said she would lend them the money to buy a new ring. Although they didn’t accept her offer, by January the couple decided that it was time to move on. “I couldn’t stand looking at my empty finger,” Jessica said.
They went to a jeweler who said that he could remake the ring if they had good enough pictures.
But when the Forginos walked into Deep South Gold on Feb. 7 and showed a store employee the pictures, she got a look on her face, “like a lightbulb went off,” Jessica said.
The owner, Shane Perkins, walked up and asked, “Is this your ring?” When she slipped it on her finger, it fit perfectly, and while the main diamond was gone, everything else was intact.
Perkins said the ring had been sold to them months before. “Talk about luck,” he said. “They were both so shocked and so happy.”
He gave them the ring, and they hired him to replace the diamond.
Jessica walked out into the parking lot and burst into tears, while Andrew said he was in a state of shock as they texted their family with the news.
The couple still can’t quite get over the return of the ring. Andrew catches himself looking for it, and then realizes that he doesn’t have to do so any longer.
They had always planned to get a bigger diamond for the ring at some point, so they replaced the missing stone with a larger one, and Jessica got the ring back on Valentine’s Day.
What had been a symbol of loss now feels like a symbol of hope and coming full circle.
“It felt like a miracle,” Jessica said. ‘It feels weird to say, because it’s such a small thing, not life and death. We needed hope restored so badly. It renewed our faith in things.’