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Life Changing
Ron Lodholz

Ron Lodholz

Owner, Chief Designer
& Graduate Gemologist

Life Changing

Every now and then someone steps into your life and changes things. Once and a while a person shines a light so brightly that it causes you to peak into the shadowed corners of your outlook. I had the honor of meeting such a person a couple years ago.

The door opened in the gallery and in walked a young man with a smile on his face and a shine in his eye. He could not hold back the excitement of his up-coming wedding to his love Melissa. I designed and created their wedding jewelry. And just like that I was invited into Ian and Melissa’s story of extravagant love. Ian and Melissa were soon married. Over the next few months I came to know Ian as a man who never settled in life. And one who seemed to squeeze every drop out of it. He was full of energy and love. When the door opened and Ian came into the gallery it was always with a smile and a genuine inquiry about how we were doing. He always remembered our previous conversations and asked about things we had talked about in the past. Ian shined with a grace that comes from a love for God and people. Ian and Melissa only had a short time together as husband and wife. While skiing in Wyoming in January Ian suffered an aneurysm and passed away.


I know this may sound like an odd way to start an article about jewelry but as I have said in the past, the jewelry is only a small part of it. It is the story behind the jewelry that deserves to be told. Without knowing Ian, this story would not mean so much. Melissa, Ian’s widow, came to the gallery a few weeks ago. If you knew Ian you knew Melissa. She matched Ian stride for stride in her love for life, and boundless energy. When she came into the gallery it was the first time I had seen her since Ian passed. She was smiling. We sat down and talked a little about the past and how she was doing. She was wearing the Christmas necklace Ian had purchased for her. After a few minutes Melissa told me that she would like to create something special for herself, her mother and sisters. After pondering some ideas, I suggested a tree. (Ian was called Twig by some of his close friends). I made a few sketches and we settled on a happy tree with branches lifted up full of life. The tree was to be carved with a cross in the bark. A full-moon in the form of one of the diamonds from Ian’s wedding band was set in the sky above. Ian and Melissa were married under a full moon. The tree itself was set into a polished frame that is inscribed with Philippians 1:3 which reads “I thank God every time I remember you.” I am humbled by Melissa’s strength and her ability to rejoice in Ian’s life. There is one more treasure in this work. It is one that no one can see. The tree trunk is hollowed out, sealed inside are a few of Ian’s ashes. We know that Ian has left us, and we know that the ashes are not “him”. Everything that was eternal about Ian is now perfected and rejoicing with his Lord. Still it is such a touching symbol of Ian and Melissa’s time together. A time that Melissa is thankful for every time she remembers Ian. I think it is fitting to include the next few verses in Philippians. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I thank God that I had the honor of meeting Ian and Melissa. And I pray that the tiny part I have played in their lives is a blessing to them. And to you, Melissa, thank you for granting me the honor of creating this work for you.

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