Nick Engel & Co.

Fine Jewelry & Custom Design

Fine Jewelry Design, Restoration & Repair. Based in San Francisco, offering handmade custom jewelry for weddings and special occasions. 

Our custom designs combine your personality with our artistry to create something beautiful and unique to treasure for a lifetime. 

If you can dream it, Nick can craft it.

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The Story of Aunt Honey's Right Hand Ring

I would like to thank Laila for writing this guest blog post. Together we created two custom diamond solitaire rings, using the original gems from the heirloom ring she inherited from her Aunt Honey. 

Honey's story of independence, passion, drive, and love of the arts inspired the design of my Antique Diamond Custom Engagement Rings. These classic style engagement rings are handcrafted using only antique stones that come from period jewelry.

I hope that you too are inspired by Honey's story. Enjoy! ~ Nick

The author and her Aunt Honey in 1982, when Honey was 86 years old. 

My Aunt Honey

Lillian Beatrice Fink was my very favorite aunt. Born into an impoverished, immigrant family in Chicago in 1896, she had to quit high school and get a job to help support the family, which included her parents and four siblings. She regretted not completing her education or taking singing lessons to fulfill her desire for an operatic voice.

Aunt Honey – as I called her - lived a solitary life. She never married but said that she “kept company” with some great men: Caruso, Bach and Beethoven, whom she listened to in the evenings on her phonograph. She worked at a huge recording company as the executive secretary, the highest position she could reach as a woman, even though she was intelligent and savvy enough to run the company. She saved and invested her income wisely so she could support the arts - and buy herself a custom-made, diamond ring rather than wait for a man to propose to her with one. She wore it proudly to productions of the Chicago Opera Guild and the Goodman Theater, and exhibits at the Art Institute, all of which she supported yearly.

When I was a teenager, Honey invited me to see José Greco, the Spanish Flamenco dancer, at a small venue, where his vibrant presence and flashing feet lit up the room. On another afternoon, we sat in center, orchestra seats when Rudolph Nureyev, a fiery, young dancer, performed with Margot Fonteyn, the prima ballerina of England’s Royal Ballet, in Romeo and Juliet in the early 1960s. I held Honey’s hand from time to time during these performances, admiring the sparkling diamond on her right ring finger, knowing how hard she worked to save for it.

When Honey was in her eighties, I convinced her to move out to San Francisco to be close to my son and me. Although in declining health, she joined us at his soccer games and applauded all of my dance endeavors.

I owe my love of dancing in great part to my beloved Aunt Honey.

I clearly remember one of our last conversations when she was eighty-seven, shortly before she died.

“You’re a college teacher, right?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“Can’t you get any higher than that?” she asked, her eyes lighting up with a smile.

That was Honey – always wanting me to reach for the moon. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

In writing this brief story about my Aunt Honey, I realize that the sparkle from Honey’s diamond represented the radiant light that she shone on me for four decades. May it shine for you the rest of your lives.


L. Laila Kramer

September 27, 2015