"The Sentiment of Style" is a recurring series based on the notion that the most treasured things we own -- our homes, clothing, jewelry, art and accessories -- are objects of equal intimacy to us as our friends, family and mentors. Whether we realize it or not, these items tell stories. Those we keep the longest, and miss the most once they're gone, have the best tales to tell.
"No pressure, no diamonds," as the saying goes. But pressure comes in many forms -- some self-induced, others external. And whether the degree of pressure results in diamonds large or small, all are precious to the wearer. This is a story of the pressure exerted by the two diamonds that have meant the most to me.
When I was growing up, my grandmother wore a diamond pendant every day. After she passed away, my mother and I discovered it in a box at the back of a drawer. It had been years since I had seen it, and encountering it anew flooded me with memories. For years after I, too, wore it daily. Eventually, though, it once again made its way to the back of a drawer -- this time my own.
Years later, unexpectedly and for no particular reason, my father gave me a piece of jewelry. It was an odd piece, and I wasn't sure what to do with it. Shortly thereafter -- far more unexpectedly and for even less reason -- my father died.
I began to ponder his peculiar final gift to me. His ring and my grandmother's pendant, I noticed, had stones of virtually the same size. Wanting to keep him and my grandmother close to my heart, but in a manner suited to my personal style, I decided to fashion a pair of earrings with these diamonds, taking inspiration from the pendant I had adored and later adored wearing for so long. The sentiment seemed perfect.
Yet things aren't always as they initially appear. The first time I wore the earrings, I realized in the middle of dinner that one was missing. I was frantic. They were, after all, irreplaceable -- if I replicated even one of them, their significance would be lost. I scrambled around the table looking for the missing jewel. I scrambled my brain trying to imagine where the earring might have fallen out. And I scrambled for my phone to call the place I had been just before.
My dining companion nonchalantly stood up and walked out to the street to look for the earring. Why, I wondered, was he bothering? Yet a few moments later, gallant as a white knight, he appeared with my diamond-drop earring dangling from his fingertip. For an hour and a half it had been lying in the middle of Manhattan's bustling 8th Avenue. Incredible. How could it have avoided falling victim to the wheels of a car or the attention of someone walking by?
All these years after, I wear these earrings often (securing them with backings to prevent a recurrence of that first night), and their story encompasses many people, all of whom are now inextricably linked. These two simple jewels have meaning far beyond what I initially imagined -- as do, in their own way, all the things (whether sentimental or seemingly insignificant) with which we surround ourselves. And as they travel with us, they acquire a history no less rich or meaningful to us than our own.