Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Twkinkle, Twinkle Litte Stars.

When I was a kid my parents set jewelry in our apartment. My dad's uncle is a jeweler and my parents were kind of like his worker elves. They had work benches in their bedroom outfitted with high powered lights, drills that were operated by foot pedals and sounded like a dentist's office, and little wooden trays that held what looked like millions of sparkling diamonds. They would lick the top of a metal hand tool and get a diamond to stick to its edge. Then, they would force it into the tiny, tiny golden prongs of earring posts and drill and hammer them into place until they were secure and matched their pair. I would often sit in their room as they worked and look in awe at their tools, their little piles of diamonds, their magnifying glasses that had flip lenses like Dwayne Wayne's. The whole process fascinated me. They did the side work less and less as I got older, and sometimes I forget how much a part of my childhood the jewelry drills were, but when my friend Rahul passed along this slide show from The Wall Street Journal of the Tiffany & Co. Laurelton Diamonds facility in Antwerp, Belgium so many memories came rushing back.

My parents had the same magnifying glasses as this man has hanging around his neck.

Rough cut stones ready to be drilled.

A stone being examined under a high powered microscope.

So many workers, so much light.

Examining a diamond for flaws.

A backlit stone.

This is almost exactly what my parents' benches looked like.

Granted, no high powered electric microscopes were involved in my parents' home operation, but the fascination of watching diamonds go from rough stone to twinkling manifestations of love and devotion is still something to see. I think I have a more realistic attitude towards diamond jewelry and an even more nostalgic attachment to it than most. It's so amazing to me that a stone, mined from the earth could universally captivate so many. It must be something in the reflection of the light, right? Something like that.

To see the whole slide show, with captions and all, follow this link.

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