The Jewel that Might Have Been: The one we let slip away yet will never forget
Here is the first collection of personal stories in our ‘One That Got Away: The Jewel That No Other Could Live Up To’ Series. Bejeweled is running this as a two-part series over the next week but starting in July, we will bring this back as a column with new captivating tales each month.
There are songs about it, books about it, people spend therapy sessions discussing the topic of their “one that got away.” Whether you have had an intense relationship or you met someone special briefly and due to some twist of fate, you let them get away— this is the one person (no matter how happy you are in your current long-term relationship) that no one can live up to. They slip into your dreams, you have imagined and continue to build upon the ideal of them. It’s the unresolved “what might have been” that throws us off kilter. And, yes my fellow jewelry addicts, for many of us who are passionate, I mean deep down crazy in love with jewelry, the same holds true. There is one piece of jewelry that we let go, due to fate, timing, chance or happenstance that haunts us at night (think of Heathcliff wandering the moors for Cathy and you’ve got the picture—just put a pendant in Cathy’s place).
And, no matter how many rings encircle our fingers or bracelets climb our wrists, we will never quite forget this piece. For anyone who has loved and lost a gem, read on … you are not alone.
Mia Moross | owner, Theoneilovenyc.com
“A beauty from Hawk Antiques on Etsy is certainly the one that got away for me. It was a two-carat rose cut pear shape with rose cut surround set into sterling silver on top of gold. Although I had ample time to buy it, I always felt it was better suited as an engagement ring. I absolutely loved the mirror-like pear shape rose cut in the center, and the age of it all. This piece has literally haunted me for a long time and I realized that I didn’t need to be so specific about what it was best suited for. The day I found out it sold was a sad day for my heart and fingers.”
Becky Stone | jewelry blogger, DiamondsInTheLibrary.com
“When I first spotted this Georgian pansy necklace in Lowther Antiques’ case, it was sitting at the very back of a shelf, winking coyly out at me from behind a brooch’s display box. I asked the dealer if I could see it. She gave me a knowing look and said this particular piece had just been released from her personal collection. Then the necklace was in my hands. Perfection. It glowed with an inner fire despite being nearly 300 years old. When I fastened it around my neck — heart racing as my fingertips skated over the gems that adorned the clasp — I knew I was in trouble. I wore it for as long as I could, gently stroking the gemstone pansy as it lay against my skin and considering emptying my savings account and calculating the market value of a non-essential internal organ. In the end, I had to walk away without it. But I’ve not stopped thinking about it since and I don’t think I ever will.”
Leslie Weinerman | fashion consultant and jewelry collector
“Almost two years ago, the lovely ladies from NewTwist were posting pictures of rings from the Jamie Joseph booth at the Couture Show in Las Vegas. One particular ring caught my eye, stole my heart, and left me breathless. It was a large dendritic agate with a picturesque image of a blazing sunset behind the tree/fern-like inclusion. By the time I inquired about the ring, it was gone. Anyone familiar with Jamie Joseph rings knows that they are one-of-a-kind beauties, and no two are alike. Time and again, we tried to get one like it, without success. Recently, I received an email that an almost exact ring was available again. If I was still interested after all this time, it was mine! I can now stop walking these hallowed halls at night in a haunted state of mind. A happy ending to the one that got away the first time!”
Sara Vincent |gemologist, jewelry specialist, A La Vielle Russie
“The fact that I work at this marvel of a shop, where some of the most amazing historical examples of antiques pass through, is magical. I see so many incredible pieces that are representative of the time period in which they were made. My personal favorites are any jewels that have to do with celestial or constellations or cosmic motifs. And so there it was: this unusual large sized carved man-in-the-moon moonstone ring with a crescent with rose cut diamonds on one side – so you actually got two moons in one ring. The moonstone was unlike any other I’ve seen and the carving of the man was smiling, whereas sometimes they can be scary to look at. It was love at first sight. I racked my brain to figure out how I could afford it and still be able to pay my monthly bills, but I just could not come up with a way. At least I got to wear it every day for a week, until it was sold. It might have made it harder to part with, knowing I’d have to give it up. But for that brief time—it was well worth it, yet my obsession lingers on.”
Alexis Kletjian | designer
“I live in Boston and love to visit the previews at the auction house Skinner. There is always something extraordinary waiting for you. I seem to gravitate towards the Edwardian and Victorian eras for their unparalleled quality; they are endless sources of designer inspiration. I was instantly attracted to the monochromatic color scheme of a platinum, diamond and lustrous pearl ring. When I see a piece that catches my eye, I daydream of how it should be worn, and what in my jewelry wardrobe it already complements. This is my own imaginative game. However, even though I was having these thoughts, and it felt right, I wasn’t sold on the idea of a pearl ring. So, I enjoyed the moment and her beauty — or so I thought. But, after leaving, I became obsessed with the ring, and I sat to listen to the online auction preview, with my heart racing. As the auction approached, I started to scramble, pulling up the pictures of the ring, desperately wanting to own it, and here was my last chance. Without researching its value, and greatly underestimating its beauty, I was just too late as I listened to the bidders at war. There are purchases you make, because you just know something is meant to be yours, and then there are the ones that you wish you were ready for, because you may never see them again. Those are the ones that ‘got away,’ and this was mine.”
Andrea Lucan | project finance attorney and jewelry collector
“I’m forever haunted by an Elsa Peretti scorpion necklace that was sold at auction the DAY AFTER I started searching for one. My husband is a Scorpio and a lover of all things 70s. I could make up a million reasons for why the scorpion would have been meaningful, but honestly, I just wanted to wear a giant gold insect around my neck like some sort of Mad Max desert queen. I haven’t seen one since, but I’ve been slinking around Google trying to will another one into existence.”
Monica Rich Kosann | designer
“Whenever I am in the same town or city when there is antique fair, that is where you will find me, when I am not doing my own shows. I am a collector and a designer, so these shows not only provide great pieces but wonderful historical inspiration. There are some fantastic finds if you know what you are looking at, and sometimes you are surprised by what you come across. Such was the case when I was at the Hong Kong Antique Jewelry Show last year. I came across this vintage Cartier watch and kept thinking how wonderful I would look with my charm bracelets and how it was the perfect size and that I just loved every detail about the watch. I wanted some time to think about it and then got really busy as I was also working in Hong Kong at the time. Once home, I realized I desperately wanted that watch, but I had lost the dealer’s info and had no idea where I saw it or who was selling it! I guess it’s true that ‘time stands still for no man’—or woman in this case—and I still think about that watch constantly and hope to find it somehow, somewhere one day.”
And for the last story in the first installation, I give you mine…Those who know me are aware that I always have one.
And, well—I definitely have an epic tale for this topic and more in keeping with the definition of the long-term relationship that ends because of circumstances out of your control and you believe you were meant to be with someone but are sadly, not. I actually owned my “jewel that got away.”
I purchased it 14 years ago. I am a goner for hearts, and this Victorian one was the most beautiful heart locket I had ever seen. It was intricately engraved along the edges with an outline of enamel around mine cut center diamonds. I sold it during the end of a relationship because “I was done with all that romantic nonsense, including sentimental jewelry.” Only about a week after I sold it to a dealer, I went back to retrieve it, even if I had to pay more, and found that it was sold. Lesson: never do anything you might regret in haste or with a broken heart, or you will lose your ‘heart’ forever. Or so I thought. Two months ago, my heart locket showed up on Instagram on Doyle & Doyle’s feed. I called immediately. “Why did you wait so long?” Elizabeth Doyle asked me after I told her the story. “It was on Instagram for two days and sold.” Another moral: check Instagram every day. So I lost my heart yet again. I was left to wonder—was it ever really meant to be mine? Whatever the answer, I have been trying to concoct ways to get it back as I write.