A Rhode Island couple went out to dinner and unknowingly ordered what would later become their engagement ring.
Lovebirds Ken Steinkamp and Sandy Sikorski live in Westerly, Rhode Island, about 45 miles southwest of Providence.
On December 27, 2021, the pair grabbed clams with Sikorski’s brother and sister-in-law. Sikorski started eating one of the clams when she tasted something very hard and round.
“What the heck?” she asked before spitting it out.
Initially, her sister-in-law thought she spat out a tooth. But she was wrong.
It turns out Sikorski had put a pearl into her mouth, a rather large one, at that.
“You couldn’t have ever swallowed it,” Sikorski told USA TODAY. “It was too big.”
Immediately, she noticed how beautifully-shaped it was and wanted to keep it.
The couple had talked about getting married someday and Sikorski’s sister-in-law suggested she turn the pearl into a ring. This year, the couple finally made it happen.
California love:Diver ‘Merman Mike’ retrieves $9,500 lost wedding from depths of California lake: WATCH
Pearl is a rare find, jeweler says
Some time went by due to the pandemic but eventually, Sikorski took the pearl to a jeweler. The jeweler told her the 9.8-millimeter pearl comes from a mercenaria or hard clam.
The jeweler wanted the couple to work with Marc Fishbone from Black Orchid Jewelers, whom Sikorski knew already. He was away but would be back in a few months.
When Fishbone returned, he and Sikorski collaborated to come up with the perfect design.
She knew she wanted to add something sparkly to it because the cream-colored pearl was missing that touch. She also wanted to incorporate filigree, or jewlry made of gold and silver wires intertwined. The style dates back to Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Roman times.
She asked Fishbone to wrap the pearl and add two diamonds on the side.
“That’s just what he did,” she said. “He put it in 18 karat gold, which is beautiful. It just makes the whole ring pop and then the diamonds were put down lower, which is beautiful.”
When she picked the ring up, she called Steinkamp, her husband-to-be, and cried.
Steinkamp said the ring reminds him of the Eiffel Tower.
“She gets a lot of compliments on it,” he told USA TODAY.
It didn’t take long to make the ring either. The couple asked Fishbone to do it in June and by July 6, it was finished.
That’s also the day Steinkamp proposed.
“We sort of agreed to get married but we never did the proposal,” he recalled.
He proposed in front of Sikorski’s sister and later in front of her father.
‘I do’:Man with terminal cancer marries his fiancé in his hospital room. See video of the moment.
Put yourself out there to find love, the couple says
Prior to finding the pearl, Sikorski and Steinkamp had both been married and divorced.
The pair met in 2018. He was living in Downtown Westerly and she was out and about. They had both joined a dating app previously.
“I was in a rather sad mood because I was out of a relationship and it was Christmastime,” he said. “It was a rainy night and I couldn’t get my printer to print my Christmas card.”
Sikorski was in the area and got a notification that he was nearby.
Her membership had lapsed so she couldn’t message him. She decided to take a chance, renew her membership for another month and introduce herself.
She invited him out to see a band and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
The couple found the pearl three years later.
Finding it and turning it into an engagement has been wonderful, they said, but they also want people to know their love story. To them, it’s proof that finding your person is possible no matter how old you are.
Sikorski will be 70 next month and Steinkamp will be 75.
“There can be romance at our age and you can have the joy of what that brings,” Steinkamp said. “You can follow through with your dream of meeting somebody that is the right one.”
It won’t happen if you stay cooped up in the house though, Sikorski said.
“You’ve got to put yourself out there,” she said. “They’re not going to knock on your door. I’ll tell you that right now.”
They’re still not 100% sure where they’re getting married but Sikorski already has plans for the ring.
She wants to give it to her 9-year-old granddaughter, Nora, who she says is young in age but an old soul.
“I showed her what I was going to do with the ring before her mother,” she said.
Steinkamp, the groom-to-be, said the ring has a nice “retro” look to it.
“It’s unique because this has such a story behind it,” he said. “It has sort of a regal aesthetic to it.”
- Kate Middleton Didn’t Wear Her Engagement Ring and the Internet Is Freaking Out
- Maya Jama ‘heartbroken’ amid ‘split from fiance Ben Simmons’ after a year
- Will Emily Ratajkowski Sell Her $90,000 Engagement Ring in Wake of Her Divorce From Sebastian Bear-McClard?
- Save $100 on Clean Origin engagement rings with this exclusive code—shop diamond rings now
- Kate Middleton spotted without her engagement ring at Commonwealth Games