SUNFIELD, Mich. — A class ring has been returned to a Michigan family almost 90 years after it was awarded.

Gretchen Mapes received an ornate class ring from Sunfield High School in 1929, the Lansing State Journal reported . She died in 1954.

Mapes’s son, Mike O’Toole, and her granddaughter, Michelle O’Toole, were recently given the ring.

“That’s so beautiful,” Michelle O’Toole said. “We don’t have anything that was hers. It’s a piece of her. It means she’s still there.”

The piece of jewelry was found half buried in the gravel outside where the high school once stood. Vee Grimwood saw the ring glint in the sunlight as she waited for her daughter’s dance class to finish in 1984. The ring had gold lettering that read “SHS,” was inscribed with the year “1929” and also featured the initials “G.L.M.” carved into the inside of the band.

Grimwood took the ring to the Sunfield Historical Society Welch Museum in December. Historical Society Vice President Wendel Peabody helped her examine the portraits of Sunfield High School students to find the ring’s owner.

They eventually discovered that Mapes was the ring’s original owner. Grimwood checked multiple times to ensure she’d identified the right person and found that no one else in the class of 1929 had matching initials.

“I wanted to be positive,” Grimwood said. “I didn’t want to give it to somebody that it didn’t belong to. I wanted the rightful owner.”

Mike O’Toole said he’ll likely give the ring to his daughter because she’s the only living daughter in the Mapes family.

“Probably I’ll wear it,” Michelle O’Toole said. “Someday I’ll give it to my daughter.”

Information from: Lansing State Journal,

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