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APR
04

Home Decor

I've been eyeing this project for some time, although I must give credit to my sister, as she's the one who pointed these watercolors out to me in the first place. At first it was suggested that maybe I could attempt them myself, though I doubt this option would have produced something that made sense being displayed on my living room wall. Maybe more like my fridge...if I had a young child to whom I could attribute their creation.

It took several stops to find somewhere with frames both as colorful and cheap as I was after (I was buying twelve of them, yo), and don't even get me started on the hours-long ordeal of trying to line them up straight and with equal spacing. My brother had cautioned I should not attempt it without measuring tape, a level, and a second person to help me, but I have none of those things. So I went for the always solid Trial and Error approach, and the project is now done. There are also about a billion tiny nail holes in my living room wall.

I realize that decorating your walls with gemstones is not normal. But I'm really not a normal girl. My affection for all things gem is the epitome of abnormal. But surely you know that by now. I freaking wrote a book about it. And quit my job to study it. And moved across the country to work in it. And now, thanks to this weekend's project, every night I will come home to it. Besides, what's so great about being normal, anyway? It sounds much less sparkly.

MAR
21

Rethinking Peridot

It probably stands to reason that if you royally slam peridot in your second book for being the hands-down ugliest birthstone, you will inevitably be seated at dinner next to the jewelry designer your company is hosting who just happens to be wearing one of the largest peridot pieces you've ever seen in real life. In that moment you'll have two choices: you can continue to be a peridot snob and eat your dinner the same way you eat your dinner every night. Or you can ask her to hand over the honking thing and eat your dinner while wearing more carat weight than you've ever even tried on.

I chose the latter.

And I would choose it again.

And that, peridot, is the closest to a love letter you'll ever get from me.

OCT
02

October is for Opal

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So, remember when I was living in New York City and studying gemology? Yeah, me too. One of my favorite phases of life. Ever. I miss the city a lot and the gemstones even more. Studying them, identifying them, subjecting my Instagram followers to pictures of them. Of course, the great thing about now working for a gemology institute is that my building is not in want of gemstone displays. They are, quite frankly, everywhere. And not just the laboratory area either (where, for example, just this week I was able to meet one of the gemologists who graded the Hope Diamond), but lining pretty much every hallway, too.

Most of the pieces I've seen now, through my various explorations of the building, but every now and then I come across one that has somehow snuck past me. Like this opal stunner that literally stopped me cold. I mean, just freaking look at it! And I'm not even an opal girl. Trust me, as a gemologist, I have my favorites--diamond because it's the BEST, star corundum for the asterism, rhodochrosite because it's so unique, turquoise and aquamarine for their beautiful blues--but opals have never moved me. Until this necklace, that is. Maybe it just takes 148 carats to get me there, but either way, this was a happy way to officially ring in the month that boasts opal as its birthstone. Happy October, everyone!

AUG
22

Ambidextrous

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I am a left-handed person. Not one of my primary identifiers, surely, and really not something that comes up often in conversation. The only time I feel particularly reminded of my handedness is when I'm using one of those desks with the little built-in tables, which were all made for right-handed people. Or cutting something with scissors, which were also all apparently made for right-handed people. Or when I'm, say, in a gem identification class and the instructor asks the lefties to identify themselves so she can switch our microscopes to the other side of our work stations.

Admittedly, this made me nervous. See, the way it works in gemology is you're supposed to hold the tweezers (which hold the stone) in your non-dominant hand as you examine the stone under the microscope so that your dominant hand can be taking notes on the stone as you observe it. Except how many of you would feel comfortable, steady, and not-at-all concerned about holding things like diamonds in somewhat percarious positions with your non-dominant hand? I'm no fool.

But after a week of doing just that, I'm kind of--gasp--used to it. I realized last night over dinner, reading Truman Capote's iconic novella over a plate of enchiladas, that my fork was in my right hand. I finished my meal the way a person who has just learned to walk might savor the wonderment of an appendage once seemingly useless now having been transformed into something not only useful, but strong.

Which is a fitting metaphor for how I feel leaving the gemology classroom today. I've learned more than I thought possible in a week's time. I've gone from being intimidated to being what feels awfully close to confident in my ability to one day master the art (science?) of identifying gemstones. Many more stones to go, but I'm looking forward to it. My left hand is already jealous.

 

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