4F1HBy Jeff Salter
By Jeff Salter
We’re all about jewelry this week and since I wear none besides a wedding band and a watch, let me tell you this true story about a real sparkler (that caught my eye).
I guess it was about two years ago when I met a Cincinnati couple, with whom my wife and her cousin had traveled a few times to Pigeon Forge. So they all knew each other pretty well, but this was my first time to meet this couple. Let’s call them Rob and Laura. [I’d use their real names, except I might have a few story details askew, so I don’t want to ruin their tale if they choose to tell it elsewhere.]
Rob and Laura had driven down to Possum Trot with Cousin Pam and her husband, Ken, to attend a car show hereabouts. I joined the party as they all convened at Sonny’s for supper.
We’d hardly gotten seated and exchanged introductions when I noticed a striking gem on one of Laura’s rings. “My, but that’s a stunning ring,” I said. Then before I realized what I was doing, I grabbed Laura’s hand and said, “May I?” And began turning the gem to see it from all angles. Even in the relatively dim light of that restaurant, the stone had dazzling fire. Laura’s husband, Rob, may have been taken aback at a stranger grabbing his wife’s hand, but he did not deter me. [Perhaps this has happened before.]
“Surely, this is some special stone,” I said, out of pure amazement over its beauty. [Now, youse guys should understand, I know almost nothing about jewelry or individual jewels and gems. All I know is what catches my eye. And this stone had certainly done that.] Still holding Laura’s hand and gazing at this ring – which I assumed was a diamond – I said, “There’s got to be a story about this.” Looking back, it was actually a rather intrusive query, but I was truly taken by this gem.
“As a matter of fact,” replied Laura, “there is (a story).” And, with a genteel movement, she retrieved her fingers.
Obviously her husband Rob knew the story, and I assumed perhaps Pam did, but I was convinced that Ken, my wife, and I would be hearing it for the first time. I was all ears.
I no longer recall which relative she said it was, but Laura and her siblings (and perhaps others in the family) were going through the belongings of a recently deceased relative as they were settling the estate. I got the impression some (perhaps most) of the others had already gone through much (or all) of it and Laura and Rob were examining what was left. They came upon a jewelry box and looked at the few remaining contents. Didn’t seem to be much in there besides a large (presumably grubby) stone in an unfortunate-looking setting. Evidently it looked forlorn enough for the others to have left it.
But Laura picked it up. “I wonder what this would look like if it was cleaned up?” thought Laura. Because of the size of the stone, she and Rob must have figured it was only costume jewelry. But something about it caught her eyes, so Laura took that grubby ring as her small portion of the estate’s leftovers.
At some point later, upon further examination of the piece, Laura thought, “What a shame the setting is so awful.” And she decided to take it to a jeweler to get his opinion about the gem and see if it could be inexpensively reset.
The jeweler took it to his table, put it under lights and magnifiers, and peered every which way. Then he looked up at Laura and said, “This is one of the most perfect diamonds I’ve ever seen.”
“What?” exclaimed Laura. “You mean it’s real?”
The jeweler nodded as he carefully placed it on a nearby pad. “All five carats,” he said with a heavy sigh.
Fast-forward through Laura’s excitement and selection of the proper setting for her lovely diamond. And rest assured, I allowed her to use that hand to deal with her plate of barbecue. But I thought to myself: Here Laura got practically last pick of the jewelry and she ended up with what was likely the finest piece. And further, I thought: How is it that I – who knows next to nothing about diamonds or jewels – would even notice a ring, much less spot one with its own delicious story to tell.
Have you ever possessed – or seen – a really special gem of any kind?
I saw the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian way back when I was a kid.
[ JLS # 242 ]