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Local youngster thrilled with creation from Ukraine

A local family will forever cherish a beautiful piece of jewellery they have received from world famous Labortas Classic Jewellery House in Ukraine.

The story of the piece, entitled ‘Unity of Love’, began in March of 2022, when Mandi Quiring spearheaded a movement to fill a plane with supplies and food for those affected by the war in Ukraine.

Mandi’s involvement there turned into a six-month effort that raised over $1 million and helped five charities that focused on children, refugees, humanitarian aid and food security.

Through that work, she wrote a letter to Igor Labortas, the famous jeweller, who had recently finished the design and installment of the archangel Michael sculpture in Kyiv.

Labortas was so taken by Mandi’s letter that he offered to design a piece specifically for her fundraiser for the Catholic Church parish here in Leamington and the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners.

A fast friendship formed, and Labortas visited Leamington and spent many hours with Mandi, her husband John and their four children.

The Quirings’ youngest, Adelaide, was quite taken with Mr. Labortas and that’s where the idea for the ‘Unity of Love’ piece began to blossom.

In August of 2022, Adelaide went on a vacation with her grandparents, Rita and the late Wies Wrobel, to Alabama where she picked out a pair of gemstones at a roadside gem attraction.

“She said the two stones fit together to form a heart,” says Mandi. “She decided right there that she wanted Igor to create something for her.”

Adelaide emptied her piggy bank and retrieved about $4.50 in quarters and handed those quarters, along with the stones, to Mr. Labortas on his last trip to Canada.

Mr. Labortas was so tickled that he promised the youngster he’d get something done with her stones, even though his health was failing at the time.

In May of 2023, during the last week of Mr. Labortas’ life, he summoned his niece and instructed her to check his bedside drawer for a design he had drawn up for his youngest paying customer back in Canada.

She got the design to Labortas’ head jeweller with the instruction that Adelaide receive her piece after his passing.

That head jeweller reached out to the Quiring family one day after Igor passed to say, “It was his honour to complete this special task.”

And so, Unity of Love was recently completed at the Labortas Classic Jewellery House and Mandi got word a couple of weeks ago that the package was on its way.

It was delivered shortly thereafter, but Adelaide didn’t get a chance to see it until Thursday, May 16, when she was able to open the package and get her first look at those stones she placed in Igor Labortas’ hand two years ago.

With Igor having passed and her grandfather Wies Wrobel also passed, the piece means a lot to the nine-year-old, who was quick to point out that she’s “almost 10.”

Adelaide anxiously awaited the opening of the box and was thrilled with the result — a beautiful pendant where the two stones are magnetized to come together to form a heart.

According to Mandi, the name represents great ideas, friendships, hard work, beauty peace and — above all — love.

For Adelaide, it will be a piece to treasure for the rest of her life.

“It’s exciting!” she said as her mom opened the box to reveal the new pendant.

Her parents will hold onto it until she is older, but she’s looking forward to that day as well.

This week’s
online edition

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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