Precious Jewels….fake or fine?

Jewel

“late 13c., “article of value used for adornment,” from Anglo-French juel, Old French jouel “ornament, jewel” (12c.), perhaps from Medieval Latin jocale, from Latin jocus “pastime, sport,” in Vulgar Latin “that which causes joy” (see joke (n.)). Another theory traces it to Latin gaudium, also with a notion of “rejoice” (see joy).” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=jewel

Precious jewellery from my grandmother

Precious jewellery from my grandmother, perhaps inherited from her mother.

“Sense of “precious stone” developed early 14c. Meaning “beloved person, admired woman” is late 14c.” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=jewel

My mother's autograph book; her own entry for 24 July 1933

My mother’s autograph book; her own entry for 24 August 1933

Another beloved, admired jewel in ‘my book’, who brings joy and rejoicing, is dear, true friend  Lisa Brunetti . A few weeks ago, I asked if she would permit me to use one of her paintings to illustrate a poem  written by my daughter. Yes, of course, she said, and sent, not one, but eight, beautiful photos of her work. Such generosity of spirit and kindness warms my heart to its core.    And, for those of you who already know Lisa, sending so many samples via her ultra slow internet connection was not a simple matter. It took time and considerable effort. Thank you, Lisa, friend with a soul as beautiful as a rare Ecuadorean Emerald.

My daughter’s poem needs some final editing before it is ready for posting on my blog, but here are a few lines, to put a sparkle in your eye, until the final version is available.

Lark of lizards, plastic little gecko,
how I love the echo of your calls,..

…so often past the midnight have I seen
you, gaudious gelatinous-fingered gecko,
munching moth-mouthed on the meshing screens

Geckos and their lives were an integral, and much loved,  part of my childhood in Fiji. As they talked and stalked their way along ceilings and walls, or simply rested, stilled and waiting,  they kept us company. On long tropical nights, we watched each other, and together listened to the radio and each other’s words. My daughter, in Cairns, is learning to enjoy and understand  their companionship.

No geckos for me, on this cold, hail-ridden, third day of autumn, in Christchurch. Instead, this  bright jewel came to my window during a brief respite in the storm. I smiled at the way it looked at me, and  I said “Kia Ora, welcome to my window.”

True Friend or Autumn Leaf?

True Friend or Autumn Leaf?

But, then, I wondered if I had chosen the wrong greeting because, it seems to me, this little one may not be our native Orthodera novaezealandiae,

but its South African Springbok rival, Miomatis caffra,

that was accidentally brought to New Zealand in the 1970s.

The endemic New Zealand praying mantis …  is currently wide spread through out most of the country, but faces the threat of at least local extinction in many areas because of the competition from the Spring bok praying mantis. If nothing is done to protect our native praying mantis, within a few decades we may no longer be able to observe its intriguing way of life in our gardens. http://www.canterburynature.org/species/lincoln_essays/nzmantis.php

Pray tell me are you jewel or thief?

Pray tell me are you jewel or thief?

Pray tell me, someone,  if this gorgeous creature is jewel or thief? True friend or autumn leaf?

[I wonder if our rugby board knows that the rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand has taken a leap off-pitch, and New Zealand isn’t winning. The Spring Boks are taking out the All (Green) Blacks big time, and on our own home turf.]

One last diamond to add to my post:

Before this month ends,  I will receive a visitor from across the Tasman Sea. We haven’t seen each other for more than a decade. In fact, we have seen each other only once or twice in the last 45 years. But we are bonded by a shared childhood and our friendship has endured. I wonder if either of us understood the sturdy ring of truth in these words, when Jennifer penned them in my autograph book on 15 June 1967, in our island home, Lautoka, Fiji.

A Diamond Friendship

A Diamond Friendship

Mother's Autograph Book 1933

Mother’s Autograph Book 1933

May your friendships be blessed jewels in your life.

© silkannthreades

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110 thoughts on “Precious Jewels….fake or fine?

  1. Brenda

    Oh, this was dear. You are lovely, in constant bloom in your heart, which shines here for all of us to see. I’m feeling a bit teary, thinking of all the people I treasure, far more than jewels. It’s hard to hold all that love inside at once. It has to shine out. Sigh of pleasure at the stretching of my heart. I have really enjoyed by visit. I wish I had more time, but I have to take my daughter to her friends. We are expected. 🙂 Hugs, Brenda

    Reply
  2. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    ps.. the geckko looks quite happy over there in new zealand! the one illustrated is typical of the ones that live in my riverhouse.

    you were so kind to say such nice things about me! thanks!
    internet is fading.. that’s all for now!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The gecko is very happy! I deliberately chose the unfinished gecko to complement my daughter’s unfinished poem. Hopefully, one day, when her mental health allows, she will finish her poem and I can post it complete, with another of your geckos. Special greetings to your riverhouse geckos. I hope they know they are much admired.

      Reply
  3. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    sometimes it’s a gift to be the tortoise and bring up the rear! there are so many great comments that i’d have missed if i’d read this sooner!

    propped back in bed with the usb modem balanced in a stainless steel bowl, i’m trying to move only my fingers so that the signal ‘holds’ a bit longer! i noticed that a few pages loaded fast, and i thought, ‘aha! i’ll go west across the pacific and see how the mailbox and gecko are doing!!!’

    i think of your slammed mailbox quite often! isn’t it funny how certain things stick in our memories?!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      So glad your delicately balanced technology allowed you time to see the gecko post. It was fun to write. My slammed mailbox has yet to be replaced. I am rather fond of it now and am not sure I want to replace it, anyway.

      Reply
  4. Sharifah

    A very lovely post. The praying mantis brings on a smile – I remember in school when I first learned of it, I was intrigued by the imaginative name, and why the insect was so-named.

    Reply
  5. Steve Schwartzman

    If the usually proposed etymology is correct, a jewel is ‘a plaything’. A nice piece of understatement, don’t you think?

    I’m sorry but not surprised to hear about a species native to you that’s threatened by an invader. New Zealand, thanks to its geographical isolation, managed to stay pristine for a long time, but everything is connected now, and not always for the better.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      We have done very well to keep New Zealand as pristine as it is but, unfortunately, things do sneak in eg the varroa mite and, more recently, the PSA Virus which has adversely affected the kiwifruit industry.
      As for jewels as a playthings; I am sure some were simply that for the rich and royal ,or rich and famous, or just plain rich.

      Reply
  6. Juliet

    I love the brooch: so beautiful and decorative. You’ve brought back memories of my own autograph book, that my mother bought for me.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Juliet. It’s a beautiful little brooch. I wish I had the opportunity to wear it more but it doesn’t really sit so well on my daily T shirt wear. Do you still have your autograph book?

      Reply
  7. Crooked Tracks

    Hello, your blog is beautiful and an inspiration. My cousin spent some years living in Christchurch. We were sad to hear of your earthquake and all the damage.

    Reply
  8. shoreacres

    So much here resonates. I was especially taken with your mother’s autograph book. I have two that belonged to my mother. I wrote about them here, and included many verses, verbatim. It would be interesting to compare notes on what was fashionable for such inscriptions, in two very different places.

    As for the jewels, one of my favorite occupations as a child was looking through my mother’s jewelry box. She didn’t have many precious stones, but she had what a child loved: sparkly, brightly colored rinestones, clear rinestones, faceted crystal beads, marcasite, jet. I still have some of those pieces, my favorites, and just now and then I take them out and just look at them in the sunlight, remembering the times when I would watch my parents leave for this or that party, my mother wearing her jewels.

    And then there are the geckos. When I lived in Liberia, they were everywhere. And yes, they sometimes lost their grip and fell off the ceilings, but for the most part they stayed in their corners and ate bugs, just as they should. Ours were that pasty-pink-nearly-clear variety. They weren’t so attractive as Lisa’s. But they were ours – that’s what counts, I suppose!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Linda, I enjoyed your post on autograph books, immensely. So many similarities. I also loved looking through my mother’s jewellery box; there, too, were the sparkly items you describe and a few more precious items. I have one or two of them but most of them are still with my mother in one or other of her camphor chests.
      Speaking of chests, you may enjoy my explorations of my mother’s glory box (hope chest) https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/back-to-the-box-for-the-record/ which start at this post and continue for 2 more posts.
      The geckos of my childhood were pasty pink ones. And so transparent you could usually see the eggs in the female. But, as you say, they were ours and that’s what mattered.

      Reply
  9. Leya

    I love the way you put together so many thoughts and things in your posts. And your gems are many – I understand that. I guess we all have many gems, but maybe sometimes lack the ability to recognize and treasure them as we should.

    What joy to meet your old friend! So much to talk about or to just sit quietly watching each others dear faces. nothing and nobody can replace the ones you grew up together with.

    Lisa is a gem too – and a beautiful poem by your daughter – I’m looking forward to see it finished.

    Reply
  10. Tiny

    Beautiful post! How precious to have all these “jewels”, both the lively kind and the sparkly kind, close by. I remember how we shared our house with geckos in Zambia 🙂

    Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          We always slept under mosquito nets in Lusaka ,so we didn’t ever worry about them falling on us. That did happen in Fiji sometimes. The gecko would lose its grip on the wall, all of a sudden, and suddenly plonk down on you

  11. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    Gotta love this rainbow cake of a post.
    Or a diadem of a post?

    I love how you put things in a beautiful context. While the gecko illustration together with the poem teaser are adorable, it were the distant friendship (two of my closest friends are people I see once in 1 to 3 years) and the vintage jewellery that resonated the most… Due to a lot of moving we haven’t kept all books, cards, or letters, but a few jewellery pieces have survived.

    And I also remember the autograph book frenzy when I was at school. Everybody tried to make theirs the most beautiful. Yours Truly went so far to make it a book of a roleplay adventure before I even knew such things existed. (You picked an answer and had to jump to a specified page and so on, and in the end you knew if you’re a real hero or not so much)

    As for insects: mildly put, I don’t like them. Couldn’t endure looking at this tiny monster and ponder what it really was. Just would ask someone to carry it to the next garden.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      A diadem of a post…. 🙂 🙂
      Do you still have the Roleplay book? You were a creative thinker from an early age, it seems. My mother’s autograph book is beautiful; everyone tried to write in their most elegant script and some of the illustrations are wonderfully detailed. My autograph book is rather more slap dash, but precious all the same.
      Our family was not that settled either but it surprises me how much we did manage to accumulate. Jewellery is, of course, the easiest item to transport and I have some dearly loved pieces because of their associations with people and/or places.
      I feel sure that the praying mantis would have been very grateful to be transported to another garden. It didn’t look that comfortable on the window!

      Reply
      1. BEAUTYCALYPSE

        oh, no it’s of course long, long gone. but yes, I did know how to have a good time at school… the nerdy way 😀 I’d also made a battleship alteration. it was called The Labyrinth, and you had to hide three alligators and three sticks to beat those in there. later I added a dungeon to each labyrinth that you could enter through stepping on a trap 😀

        All of those are only memories, or shared memories, today.

        I love the look and feel about your and your mother’s autograph books. with that delicate brooch, it has such a pretty, fine, comforting aura. Delightful.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          You have been involved with Quests and Adventures since forever :). The books do have an aura, don’t they? My grandmother’s brooch definitely does. I didn’t ever see her wear it, so that is why I now wonder if it belonged to an older sibling or her own mother…. meaning it was a keepsake for her, just as it is for me. Although I did wear it a lot once upon a time.

        2. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          Funnily, my mother has two very similar Russian brooches, I think it was the style back then. One is beautiful silver with a ridiculously stunning amethyst. Another looks more like a needle, and is really beaten by time… it only has one rose cut stone. It might have been a diamond back then, but we all know people tend to sell gemstones in times of crisis, and set in a fake stone. Very often, inherited jewels are less precious than granny thought 🙂 Which is really enlightening in terms of your real vs. fake toughts, isn’t it?

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          It was definitely the style….I saw many lovely examples of similar brooches on various websites. I haven’t ever had my grandmother’s brooch valued, but, yes, sometimes the stones are not always what we imagine them to be.

        4. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          I was not suggesting your isn’t real! 🙂 I just thought it WAS a funny idea to go with your fake or fine theme, really deep, you know?

        5. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh dear, of course, you weren’t suggesting that but you touched on something that I have often wondered about which is, is the blue stone just cut glass or is it a blue topaz? Are the seed pearls real or paste? The gold is stamped 9ct but there are parts of the brooch which obviously aren’t gold. There is indeed a fine, and often funny, line between fake and fine. 🙂

  12. utesmile

    What gems you have. Meeting you friend after such a long time; your mum’s book, her beautiful writing in there and the lovely broche. Enjoy the time with your friend it will be very precious! Another diamond in your life !

    Reply
  13. Clanmother

    Colette once said, “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Your thoughts and the comments that follow confirm that we MUST realize how wonderful life is, despite disappointments, grief, and uncertainty. Isn’t it interesting that we connect objects to events and people. I have a necklace that belonged to my grandmother, a teacup that was used when I was young, a faded family portrait, all of which remind me that I have been loved. And that is the very best of all….

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts….

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      So perfectly said, Clanmother and Colette, although it is probably only in our later years that we have time to reflect on life and know that it is/was good. My grandmother was terribly ill and dying the last time I saw her, although I was very young and didn’t fully understand what that meant. My sadness is that I can’t remember if she gave me the brooch on that visit, when I discovered it in her drawer, or if it was given to me after her death. Either way, it is a reminder of love. Also, many of that generation who experienced the Depression and two wars didn’t have a lot to leave/give us, so anything we do have from them is extra precious. Do you still wear your grandmother’s necklace?

      Reply
      1. Clanmother

        Oh Gallivanta! I know exactly what you mean. Both of my grandparents had precious little to give us. I have kept the necklace in a safe place, but I think that I will take it out again. I lost the ring that my other grandmother gave me. It was a silver ring she always wore on her right hand. The red stone was broken. She gave it to me when I was 17 and I wore it every day. Then, one summer on a family vacation I left it in a hotel room. I went back to find it, but alas to no avail. I was 20. I don’t have the ring, but I have the memory. And perhaps that is even better.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Arrgh….it’s so awful when you lose something like that. I have had one such experience and it bothers me to this day. However, your loss has now become part of family lore, so the ring will endure for as long as the tales are told.
          I am glad you have your grandmother’s necklace. I do hope you will take it out. According to Gallivanta’s lore, jewellery, like fine china, needs to be used and loved to maintain and enhance its beauty. I have no idea if there is any science behind my ‘lore’ but, perhaps, there is some truth in it ; check out these links about the beautiful mauri stones which I love to touch http://blog.authenticgreenstone.com/a-museum-view/ and http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/14693/mauri-stone-te-papa

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      We are going to have fun trying to remember our childhood days! No doubt we will both have different takes on events. And I must have been a magpie child I think. I had my eye on that brooch from the time I was very young so I was thrilled when I was eventually given it.

      Reply
  14. cindy knoke

    What a beautiful post and what a wonderful daugher and friends you have!
    Your post reminded me of leaving Africa a couple of years ago. We flew via Paris. I opened my suitcase in Paris and out jumped a large African frog. He hopped to the balcony and disappeared. My son still thinks there must be an African frog population in Paris now as frogs can be poly-gendered in a same sex environment! We had to promise we were not smuggling wildlife out of Africa and I certainly wasn’t, as far as I knew……

    Reply
  15. ordinarygood

    Just up to check my emails before going back to bed….your query about the Praying Mantis triggered a piece of information I had read about the distinctions. Here is a piece that might help but you need your Mantis to stretch out those amazing front legs: “Blue eyespots on the underside of the insect’s forelegs helps in differentiating this species from Miomantis caffra, an introduced species from South Africa that became established in New Zealand during the 1970s.[1][4][7]” Source is the fantastic website about our fauna: http://naturewatch.org.nz/taxa/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=Praying+Mantis
    I hope you are safe in the dreadful storm that is battering your area today(Tuesday) and which is due here later today.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The weather is so awful that I wish I had gone back to bed. I am sorry this wind and wildness is heading your way 😦 . That website has a good photo of the endemic praying mantis. It looks like mine except that I can’t see those blue spots on any of my praying mantis photos.

      Reply
      1. ordinarygood

        It feels like winter here it is so cold and the clouds are gathering from the south. No wind which feels ominous right now.
        You need to get your mantis to do a pilates stretch of its front legs:-) Or put a fly near it.
        I’ve just seen a teen fledgling gape at the mother bird again – the message takes some time to bed in or like all teens they keep on trying!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          We are in a very unflooded area. We have had huge amounts of rain and there is foliage plastered on our windows but, for once, very little water has accumulated on the driveway and in the gutters outside. Perhaps the work that has been done on the pipes in this area has helped. I can’t remember a storm like this that has gone on for so many days.

        2. ordinarygood

          This is good news. I know the foliage plastered on the house and windows after a big blow.

          Here’s to clear skies and drying sun. Plus some action of a real and compassionate sort for those in devastated homes.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Isn’t it interesting to see the French connections in the word jewel? And that there is an element of fun in its meaning. Like this bijou…’a bijou house or apartment is small and fashionable – often used humorously’. I am sure you know all about the real estate aspect of the bijou 🙂

      Reply
  16. lensandpensbysally

    Wonderful array of thoughts in your post–enjoyed each and every one. The gems of our life are too often not honored. You’ve done a nice job of honoring some of the ones in your life.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Sally, I am glad you write “some” of the jewels in my life. There are so many more. A whole treasure chest of them. Do you have a favourite gemstone? Perhaps your birthstone?

      Reply
  17. Mrs. P

    What lovely post filled with so much sentiment and love…except for the faux praying mantis. I love the way you added on to your mother’s poem. “Pray tell me are you jewel or thief?” It fit so perfectly.

    How wonderful that you will be reunited with an old friend! I too, will be seeing one in a few months. Our visits are far and few between but you’d never know it when we get together.

    Yes…these are all beautiful treasures!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mrs P! I am ever so happy you like that little line of mine; it was a moment of inspiration 🙂 . I am glad, too, that you will soon be meeting a long time friend. We are lucky women to have these friendships.

      Reply
  18. YellowCable

    Those geckos that you like must not look so scary (the hand drawn picture looks nice). The ones that I have seen they look a bit too scary for me 🙂 Oh no, there is a war between local mantises and the ones accidentally brought in. I did not know that they fight each other. Tell them to be friends 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all learn to share? Territorial takeovers/invasions by man or beast never end well 😉 Some geckos do look a bit scary but not the ones I remember. Baby geckos are very cute.

      Reply
  19. Joanne Jamis Cain

    How wonderful you are seeing a dear friend soon! And I love your jewels and your daughter’s poetry- just beautiful. The praying mantis is one of my favorite insect sightings- I hope they will find a way to save it!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It’s very exciting. A once in 20 year event, I am guessing!
      I don’t believe that the New Zealand praying mantis is endangered yet but it could happen. I rarely see a mantis of any kind. I have seen perhaps 3 in my garden in the last decade.

      Reply
      1. pleisbilongtumi

        In Indonesia the Praying Mantis looks a bit different with this one. It mostly has slender,longer thorax which is half of the abdomen length. Common colors are green and earth brown.

        Reply
  20. gpcox

    I understand the friendship you have with Jennifer, I have one or two of those myself – brings a feeling of warmth – doesn’t it?!

    Reply
  21. Tracy Rhynas

    As I saw your praying mantis, I was thinking “that looks just like…..”, then oh dear, it is one of ours….. I had no idea they had found their way across to your shores. It is a bit sad that they are bringing your local praying mantis to the point of extinction. Not a great win for the Springboks!! Let’s rather keep our rivalry on the pitch (even if we do keep losing!!) Our weather has also turned miserable and cold – no hail since last week, but a lot of rain and plummeting temperatures. Brrrr! We sometimes get geckos in the house, I love them, they are so dainty. I have been fascinated since reading the Gerald Durrell books in which he talked about them so often.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, so it is South African! Any praying mantis is a rare find in my garden. I think this one came via the strong winds in the night. It seemed to be hanging on to the window for dear life! Alas, we never get geckos inside the house. And I need to check the Gerald Durrell references. It’s a very long time since I read his books.
      Mmmm….well, maybe after this little story about the praying mantis, the Springboks will take heart and realise that they can win!

      Reply
  22. Travelling Kiwi

    How lovely to have the opportunity to spend time with Jennifer. I remember with affection birthday parties at her house, when the whole family were there. I wish you a happy reunion, reliving childhood memories and making new ones. Warmest good wishes to you both.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Weren’t those birthday parties wonderful? No chance you could pop down and join us? I am looking forward to making new memories and adding them to the photo collection. A small, but interesting, question…how did you miss out on being in my autograph book? Could I not distract you from a book long enough? 😉

      Reply
      1. Travelling Kiwi

        I have no idea how I missed that 😦 . I certainly have you in my autograph book – in fact your autograph is the very same one you quoted from your mother’s autograph book. I recognised it instantly. I wish I could pop down and join you. It would be lovely to catch up, but sadly I can’t make it at the moment. Have a great time – perhaps we will hear a bit about your reunion in a future blog …

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, well…..I have no recollection of writing that but I am not surprised I chose that verse. It was always one of my favourites.

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