Monday, March 9, 2015

Pendants and Patience


This is a story about a pendant. Two of them, actually. Everybody must have a "What was once lost is found" story.   This is mine.

The story of this pendant really began on 9/11/2001.   I live not 50 miles from World Trade Center.   What I remember that day was the eerie silence of the sky.  The shock, the realization that the future is promised to no one.  My husband and I looked at each other and said,
"If not now, when?"

For the next two months I poured over travel guides, countries, flights, hotels, resorts.  And on January 22, 2002, we set off for Paris, then Beijing, then Australia, then Hawaii.  Around the world from west to east. We'd spend the bulk of our time in Australia - six weeks.  I asked an Australian acquaintance for recommendations.  "You must visit the opal mines!"  Wonderful idea, but easier said than done, actually.  So she referred us to a miner, and he invited us to his home in Adelaide.  In March of 2002, we learned all about opals.  Did you know that the finest opals have a flash of red deep within?  The Japanese are the biggest collectors?   We bought two with deep flashes of red.   We planned to have them set when we returned home.  Instead when we returned, we learned the future was not to be, for one of us.

In 2007, still numb from grief, and thinking about the legacy of the opals, I met a jeweler at a craft show.  She could do justice to the opals.  Together we designed two pendants, and I left her with my money and my opals. 

I had the sales slip.  I knew she lived in California.  In 2009, the first opal arrived set in gold.  It was stunning.  The jeweler also informed me she'd burned her hand badly and the second pendant could take some time.  Did I want her to return the opal? 

Now think of the stupidest answer one can give.  The worst outcome.  "No.  Keep the opal,  I can wait until you're well enough to set it".  Except that...She vanished into thin air.  No reference to her on google.  Phone out of service in 2011.  No e-mail address.  It gnawed at me.   I resolved to hunt her down in California next month, if she was even alive.  Two months ago I googled her.  The friggin woman had moved to Pennsylvania!  In 2014 she had resumed marketing her jewelry in crafts shows throughout the northeast.  There she was.  Facebook.  Website.  E-mail contact.  Still no phone number.  I blanketed her with messages.  Remember me?  Weeks went by. Now I know where she lives. 

One week ago I heard from her.
"Sorry for the delay in replying to your recent inquiry. 
I am not a frequent Facebook person so I  saw your message a few days ago.
After reading your email, I searched & searched through my studio looking for your second piece.
I recalled having completed it, and thought it had been sent to you a longtime ago.
I have found the pendant, completed per one of the sketches we had drawn.
I do have an old email I found from you in my archives, but do not have your current address.
Please send your address and I will sent the opal pendant on Monday."
This morning, finally, the opal was in my hands.  All I had to do was sign for it at my post office. 
Can you blame me for going a little ape****  on the photos?
   Good evening   
      May the stars dance in your eyes  

 Model from Tasmania, souvenir from the same trip 


  1. Wow, that's quite a story! Love it and it sure was a long shot that you've ever see that opal again, wasn't it. It looks lovely but I wish you had taken a close up of it.

    Your reaction to 9-11 was sure different than mine. It happened just 5 months after Don's stroke which already turned my life upside down. I spent the next two years expecting every public place and bridge to get blown up and I started squirreling away every dollar I could because I was so worried about the world. You and your husband, on the other hand, did something so much healthier and sensible. I'm glad you have all those travel memories and now both opals!

    1. I will replace one of these beauty shots with a close-up, if my other camera cooperates LOL

      Your reaction to 9-11 was more understandable. All you needed was one more thing to turn your life upside down!

    2. Looking forward for a photo swap.

  2. Shortly after 9/11 was the safest time to travel by plane!! Good on you. I would have gone quite crazy trying to find that woman. I love Opals, but have heard they are unlucky if they are not your birthstone, so I gave all of mine to my daughter Karen, who is born in October. Glad you found your precious gems.

    1. Opals are so glorious. I'm glad Karen is enjoying them now. As for mine, they are not my birthstone, and they came with a bit of ill luck, didn't they?. They've wrought enough havoc for one lifetime, so what more can they do... I'm hanging on to mine. : -)

  3. Great story. Actually, pretty amazing in our enormous world that you would find your opal again. Thank you for writing this piece!