Heirloom: Lauren Caruso

Lauren Caruso's heirloom is a remarkable and one-of-a-kind ring she designed herself using diamonds inherited from her grandmother. For Abel's inaugural issue of Heirloom, she tells us all about her ring and the story of how it came to be.

In place of my usual monthly roundup, this month I’m launching a new series called Heirloom. The installments will feature individuals and a special object of their choosing — an heirloom (present or future) and the story behind it. 

For our inaugural issue I’m excited to feature an extremely special piece owned by Lauren Caruso. Lauren is a freelance writer, consultant, and content strategist living in Los Angeles. Her heirloom is a ring she designed herself using diamonds inherited from her grandmother; a ring she never takes off (unless to work out!).


My ring is made of seven variously shaped diamonds that I arranged in a bit of a scattered design on a gold band. Though the ring is nearly 80 years old, it was re-designed and re-set only 14 years ago, it’s in great condition.

My grandpa, Valentino, was too poor to propose to my grandmother, Sylvia, with an actual engagement ring—so she didn’t have one until decades later. 

Nearly thirty years after they were married, he had her design her own ring—and my grandmother really went for it. She decided on a stunning burst-style cocktail ring made up of nearly two dozen small but clear diamonds. I was young when she died—maybe three or four—and she left the ring to her six grandchildren with the intention that we’d split the diamonds. 

We both received our shares when we graduated college, and though my sister had been allotted six, she made a necklace with just three and gave me the leftover diamonds. 

When I graduated, I knew I wanted to design a ring that looked similar to my mom’s tenth anniversary ring from my dad, which had a bunch of small diamonds sort of scattered about. We went back to the same jeweler, who let me play around with the order until I landed on something that felt like an homage to my parents, as well as something completely original. Later, my dad would design her 25th anniversary present—another ring made of eight small marquis-cut diamonds—in the same style.

I’ve had the ring since I graduated college in 2010, so nearly 14 years. My sister found the idea of designing something new a bit stressful (hence why I ended up with some of her diamonds) but I loved going to the jewelers with my dad to reimagine what it could be. We played around for nearly an hour before landing on this design. Now, I look down on it so much that I could probably draw it from memory.


I like to wear it on my left pointer finger, often layered with other pieces, but it’s also stunning enough to be worn on its own. It’s probably the one piece I’m asked about most. I wear it every single day—and I usually only take it off for weights-based workouts. 


I absolutely hope to pass it on one day! I’m still on the fence about having kids but if I have a daughter eventually, it’ll be hers. I hope she’d keep it intact unless there’s a need to reset it, but who knows. That’s sort of the lovely thing about passing down heirlooms. You never know how a newer generation might breathe life into an old piece.