“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” never rang true for me.My actual friends mean much more to me than shiny objects, but I have a lot of shiny objects in a big box I hardly ever open.I like to take my trinkets out once in a while to play with them, but seldom wear jewelry.It just doesn’t occur to me because it doesn’t have much practical purpose.I can understand women living in places where they have to wear all their wealth because they don’t have a wall safe to keep it in, but otherwise, what good is a diamond?They are vastly devalued as soon as you walk out of the jewelry store.Money spent on a diamond is money you didn’t spend on a house or your child’s education.Maybe I’m just too practical for jewelry?I don’t like high heels very much either.
I do, however, love rhinestones.Take me to some old lady’s garage sale and let me go through her box of sparklies.Yay!Sometime after I have spent between 25 cents and a max of $10, I have something cool to wear for dress up.Woohoo!And to top it all off, I always get more compliments for my garage sale finds than for “real” jewelry.I get to feel good about recycling and giving old ladies pin money, plus I don’t have to contemplate violence in third world diamond countries.It’s all good.
When Grandma was gone and Grandpa was about 4 or 500 years old and had to be moved from his house, I spent a lot of weekends cleaning out Grandma’s stashes of stuff.She had a lot of things carefully stored away, and a lot of heavy things had to be packed into cars or carried to the curb.I’ll admit to some resentments that I was doing so much work when most of my many siblings weren’t helping.It wasn’t like I was getting to keep very many of the treasures because the will was split between Mom and her brother.The day one of my sisters came to help, she wanted to look at jewelry.Well!Jewelry isn’t heavy, so I’ll admit I wasn’t taking this with the best grace, but Sis likes jewelry, and she got to keep a pile of things from the jewelry box.I sat on the bed and sulked about life changing around me and no Grandma, and let the jewelry sorting go on without much attention since as I’ve already said, I don’t really care that much about jewelry… until a small velvet box was opened and a blue ring sparkled in the sunshine.My hand was out before anyone had even registered whether or not they liked it or not.I can’t even tell you why my hand was out so fast.I just knew that this ring was mine.I don’t think Mom really wanted to part with it, but it was the only thing I asked for, so I got it.
Mom said the ring had some history because it had belonged to Grandma’s grandmother, and Grandma fought about it with her sister-in-law, or maybe it was her aunt.Years later, my uncle married a gemologist who informed me that it’s blue topaz (my birthstone!), ringed in fresh water seed pearls, and set in white and yellow gold.Of course it really doesn’t make any difference to me if it were glass set in pewter, but I’m happy that it’s my birthstone.That makes it feel even more right for it to come to me.I don’t wear it very often.The wire that’s holding the seed pearls is very brittle and I worry about carelessly sticking my hand into a pocket and causing things to fall apart.It isn’t super valuable, but it’s invaluable to me.I like having something that Grandma and her grandma actually wore.
When I saw the word for the week is “shiny”, I started to paint one of my garage sale finds.I’ll admit I’m headachy today, and just don’t have the attention span to finish this piece, so I just took a picture of it instead.Let’s call it a work in progress.I painted the ring a while ago, and headaches are a good enough excuse for art recycling, right?
Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m going to make a semi-regular effort to participate in illustrationfriday.com, and have some fun with their weekly artistic challenges. Visit my website to see samples of my professional work in illustration and design: http://www.artbyhensley.com/.