Thursday, June 04, 2015

Lost and Found

Not much time for blogging this week, a rather large forecast collided with year-end close at work and there's tons that has to get done - but in the middle of tonight's drawn-out evening at work, I took a Facebook break and found that a friend had posted that she'd just lost a treasured piece of jewelry, a diamond pendant her husband had given her for for her 40th birthday.

"In a strange twist," she said, "I realized it was missing when I went to take it off to be appraised for our new homeowner's insurance. Someone please tell me I'm not the only person this kind of thing has happened to." A number of stories with both happy and sad endings had already been shared, and I decided to take a bit of a breather from work to tell a story that I'd actually meant to tell here a few years ago (hence the existence of the photo above) but never got around to. It's a little off my usual topics, but I think it's a sort of funny story, and since I finally took the time to write it, I figured I'd go ahead and share it here, too.

Oh, goodness, I've lost a few pieces of jewelry in my life and mostly am able to let them go, but there one the time I got so obsessed over a missing pendant that I had a replica made.

It was my "granddaughter" pendant. My grandmother on my dad's side was a stylish lady and liked her some bling, and she had an absolute chandelier of a ruby and diamond cocktail ring that was a constant source of amusement to her children. When she passed away, most of her costume jewelry was passed out to whoever in the family wanted it. Most of us were able to get there for the memorial service so at one point during the visit, we brought her collection out into the living room and took turns choosing. I took a circa 70's jointed owl pendant that I remember absolutely adoring when I was little, and also a lovely art deco amethyst pendant that nobody remembered her ever wearing but that I liked very much and wear pretty often. 

The cocktail ring was held aside from the distribution, I think both because it was real and because of the particularly sentimental value it had by virtue of its very flashiness. My dad and his brothers and sisters weren't quite sure what to do with it until one of them had the brilliant idea of having the multitudinous little stones of which this sparkler was composed taken and reset into pendants for the five granddaughters (plus at least one of the granddaughter-in-laws, who later had hers re-reset into a lovely pair of almost-matching rings, one for her and one for her daughter). They hired a local jeweler to handle the design and he came up with a sort of a flame shape, each one accented with a three little rubies and a couple of diamonds. Really beautiful, and such a great idea from my dad and aunts and uncles. I wear mine pretty regularly, and always think of Grandma when I do.

Well, one day I was getting ready to go paddling at the club when I discovered I had it on. I was afraid of losing it somewhere in Jamaica Bay, so I took it off and stashed it in the backpack in which I'd brought my gear.

And that was the last I saw of it for a very long time. The next time I went to wear it, it wasn't in the jewelry box where it usually lived. I instantly remembered taking it off to paddle and pulled out the backpack, fully expecting it to be in one of the small pockets where I would ordinarily stash a small item. Nothing. Emptied out the bigger sections, sifted through everything in there. Nothing. Looked all over my dresser to see if maybe I'd stuck it in another box. Nothing. Went to work, came home, ransacked apartment further. Nothing. Posted a description to the canoe club email list in hopes somebody might have picked it up there (although I didn't have much hope there, it's a very nice club and if someone had, I'm 99% sure they would've posted a "found" notice immediately). Nothing (no surprise). Scoured the changing room the next time I went to the club. Still nothing - and at that point I had to admit to myself that I'd actually lost it. Rats, rats, rats, rats, rats.

Only instead of being able to shrug and move on as I have with less sentimental pieces, I found myself still looking for it for months later - somehow I just always had this hope that it would turn up again. Even found myself looking at displays in a jewelry shop windows hoping they might have something similar. Missed this thing in a way I've seldom missed any particular thing.

Finally it hit me that these pendants had been made for us in the first place, and there were others in existence -- since I was being so bonkers over the loss, why not splurge and have a replacement made?

I thought that one of my cousins lived near the town where the originals were made and I asked her if she could take hers to the jeweler and ask if it could be done and how much it would cost. The original jeweler was farther away than I'd thought but she went to a jeweler in her own town who took a look at it and said "Yes, we can do that". It was expensive but within reach, so I said yeah, let's go for it! The jeweler used my cousin's to make a mold to cast the gold for the pendant, so what I got in the mail a couple of weeks later was a perfect replica (as you can see above). Amazing! I was SO happy!

Well, it can't have more than a week after the replica arrived when I was cooking something and decided garlic would be good in it (that happens a lot in my kitchen, I love garlic). I usually keep garlic and onions and packets of nuts and other small food items that don't need refrigeration in a bowl on top of the fridge. There was a partial head of garlic in the bowl, but I wanted more (I must've been making pernil or something) so I took down the bowl to see if there were any loose cloves rolling around in the bottom and Oh My Gosh -- THERE WAS MY PENDANT!

I think that what had happened was that I'd dropped the pendant into the plastic bag in which I'd brought a few snacky things for the paddle, just so it wouldn't be rattling around loose in the backpack. I didn't eat all of the snacks, they went back in the bag at the end of the paddle, and then when I got home I just emptied the bag into the non-perishables bowl on top of the fridge.

I suppose I could've tried to sell the replacement, but at this point there was such a ridiculous story attached to it that I decided to keep it in the family. The cousin who'd made the replica possible has a wonderful daughter who'd been very close to Grandma - I told her the story and asked if she would like to have the replacement as a gift. She was very happy to accept it.

I still have the original. I still think of Grandma when I wear it, but now I also have a little laugh at myself.


pia said...

Wonderful story!

bonnie said...

Thanks, Pia! I'm glad I finally got around to telling it.

tugster said...

i like it when you go off topic, so to speak.