BURLINGTON, Wash. -- Every piece of jewelry has a story, and jeweler Jay Bowman knows a gem when he sees one.
"It's the emotion," he said from his work bench at Charles Fine Jewelry in Burlington. "It means so much to give something."
Bowen recently found his jewlelry shop in the middle of a Christmas story he'll be telling for years to come.
"You know, it makes me feel good because it reaffirms what it's all about," he said.
What it was "all about" for Jack Hamming was family, especially around Christmastime.
"I remember the last time he was at our house for Christmas. He got dressed in this funny hat and danced around with the kids and grandkids," said his daughter Vicki Ingolfsland. "He was so happy."
Nearly 20 years ago Hamming wanted something special to remind him of his wife and two daughters. He had a ring made with their names inscribed, and wore it wherever he went.
"It was really special," said Ingolfsland. "How many people get their names on a ring?!"
One day years ago, however, the ring disappeared.
"We have a theory that it was stolen," said Hamming's daughter Tracy Shepler. "There was a burglary at his home and no one saw it after that."
Jack Hamming died four years ago without that cherished ring, but as fate would have it, the ring would resurface from the depths of a city sewer.
A Mount Vernon Public Works employee recently found the ring while dredging a storm drain. The worker and turned it over to the police, who put it on the department's Facebook page. Less than eight minutes later a family member saw it and called the sisters.
"We were shocked that it had been found, much less in a storm drain," said Shepler. "I had totally written it off."
How the ring ended up in the storm drain and how long it had been there remain unclear.
Police asked the sisters to identify the ring, which turned out to be pretty simple. Thier names are inscribed right next to their dad's initials. It's a Christmas gift they never saw coming.
"I'm just really grateful," said Ingolfsland."It's a great way to honor him, to keep it preserved with the family."
The family plans to pass the ring around the Christmas dinner table and share stories of their dad.
And it turns out the ring was made years ago at Charles Fine Jewelry. Charles is now gone, but Jay Bowen keeps the craftsmanship and the stories alive.
"It's a miracle when things like that happen in life," said Bowen. "They come around and there's a reason for it. I don't know what it is, but there's always a reason for it."