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A Salvation Army Red Kettle in Downtown Crossing got the first jewelry donation of the season. Photo: Provided by Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s red kettles are as much of a sign of the holidays as the Boston Common Christmas Tree, and now another marker of the season is here: The first anonymous jewelry donation into one of those kettles.

An anonymous donor dropped a diamond-and-gold fish brooch into a Salvation Army kettle in downtown Boston, the organization announced Monday.

The brooch is valued at nearly $5,000, the Salvation Army said, and was donated through a kettle at Downtown Crossing on Nov. 29.

“The kind soul that donated this brooch is emblematic of the generosity and charity we see in Massachusetts every holiday season,” said Major David B. Davis, the Salvation Army’s Massachusetts Divisional Commander, in a statement.


“Her gift is a reminder that there are hidden heroes throughout the Commonwealth,” he continued, “and we are grateful to them and all donors, large or small, who embody the spirit of the season and help us support individuals and families in need.”

It’s the first such gift to the organization this year, the Salvation Army noted, but the idea of donating jewelry is not new. The practice has actually become somewhat of a tradition in Massachusetts, beginning in 2014 when a widow dropped her diamond ring and her late husband’s wedding band into a kettle.

The 2014 donation, into a kettle outside North Station in Boston, came with a note from the widow which read: “To honor his memory, I donate this ring. I’m hoping there’s someone out there who made lots of money this year and will buy the ring for 10 times its worth. After all, there’s no price on love or the sentimental value of this ring. But money will help the kids. May everyone have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!”

After that donation, at least four more pieces of jewelry were donated in 2014, and the trend continued across Massachusetts in 2015 and 2016. Donations have included more wedding rings, an emerald necklace and a Rolex watch.

All those pieces were sold, generating nearly $70,000 in proceeds.

The brooch donated this year is made of 18K gold and 32 diamonds weighing 1.58 karats. It will be auctioned off along with any other future red kettle jewelry donations, the Salvation Army said.

“It’s clear that our first jewelry donor in 2014 touched the hearts of a lot of people through her gift,” Davis said. “Her act of generosity has inspired dozens of people every year since to contribute in a major way to our goal of providing coats and warm meals to individuals in need this winter.”

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