Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Topaz! Among my jewels, are you mad?

There is a fabulous scene in Gigi, a delightful 50's film which tells the story of a courtesan’s apprenticeship in 1901 Paris, where as her fabulous Aunt Alica talks Gigi through her jewellery collection, she prompts her Aunt to indignantly exclaim "A Topaz? among my jewels? are you mad!" when Gigi mis-identifies a yellow diamond. I LOVE that scene and have repeated that line several times.

Here is an extract from that charming dialogue, (Aunt Alicia's answers are in bold:
              This is ...a topaz?
              A topaz? Among my jewels? Are you mad?  
                It's a yellow diamond of the first quality.
              You'll have to go a long way to see one like it.
              This? - An emerald. How beautiful.
              Do you see that blue flame. ...
                darting about in the depths of the  green light?
              Only the most beautiful emeralds...
              ...contain that miracle of elusive blue.
              Who gave it to you, Aunt? -
              A king. 
              A great king? –
              No, a little one. Great kings do not give very large stones.
              Why not?
              In my opinion, it's because they don't feel they have to.
              Who does give the valuable jewels?
              Oh, the shy, the proud. And the social climbers. 
               They think it's a sign of culture.
             But it doesn't matter who gives them...
                as long as you never wear anything second-rate.
                Wait for the first-class jewels, Gigi.
                Hold on to your ideals.

I watched the film so many times growing up that this mantra to shun Topaz is ingrained in my unconscious. In terms of emeralds, my mother always told me to covert  them over diamonds. There is something about that clear green lush hue which, when set correctly, looks absolutely stunning. The green colour of this gemstone is so intensely vivid that it has a colour named after it - Emerald Green, of course. I am in a mood for emerald green everything right now.


Pliny the Elder, a writer, naval commander, natural philospher and classic all-rounder from the ancient times eulogized the emerald in just 3 words that speak volumes, "Nothing greens greener.”

Cleopatra of course, not one to miss out on a good thing, collected this gem like she collected ....... (insert word here)

If Elizabeth Taylor is the equivalent of a Krupe Diamond in the gem world and Monroe is akin to the cursed Blue Diamond, surely Sophia Lauren is like a Trapiche Emerald.

Trapiche emeralds are in a class of their own. They are perhaps the rarest of "pattern" gems, andcharacterized by star-shaped rays that emanate from its center in a hexagonal pattern.

Angelina can keep Brad Pitt, but I would love her emerald jewellery instead. Check out this ring, which put the one I am wearing today and elegantly modeling below, to shame!

From the legendary Emerald Tablets, a Hermetic text which reveals the  blueprint of our primordial existence to the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz and the Emerald Gardens in Heaven – the stone  is shrouded with enchanting mixture of grace and mysery.


SNAPSHOTS OF EMERALD CITIES: Harrods Xmas Lights and Grace's Wizard of Oz spread for Vogue US.

MOLDAVITE: The cheaper but just as mysterious alternative 
 Of course – I do not have the kind of budget or invite the kind of liaisons which would fill my muji jewellery boxes with emeralds, so I tend to purchase the meteorite stone Moldavite instead, which has been called the emerald that fell from the sky and which is even rumoured to have been on the stones of the Holy Grail. The texture of the stone is very otherwordly and its surface exhibits curious pittings and wrinkles  - but it can polish up beautifully, if one does not like it rough.

Moldavite is also a very mysterious stone – and having studied it for so long I could write a book about some of the stories, but for now, I will leave it for Harry Winston to tell you all about EMERALDS....

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