I'm starting my new job on Monday. I will be working for Stephen Dweck, ordering beads and stones, and following up and logging everything in and hitting deadlines and so on. I had a job interview where I was asked to identify the beads in three necklaces! (and I thought the interview at that test-prep place was a great interview...) I was hired about fifteen minutes after the end of my interview.
I'm not sure I've written about being a serious jewelry crazy since about the age of -- well, I dunno. Begged to have my ears pierced at 9; my mother agreed, but prohibited dangles until I was twelve. (Younger people: this was a big distinction at the time, between wearing posts and wearing dangles.) I think I managed to push that deadline a little.
I always had some jewelry: a gold heart with my initials (still have it), a little chai (ditto) bracelets with small blue-on-white enameled tile charms that my aunt bought me from Holland (also a small wooden shoe pendant in the same blue-and-white enamel, which I no longer have), a small birthstone (topaz) ring (lost). I loved to look through my mother's jewelry box, even though she didn't have a ton of stuff. (A chai is not spiced tea -- it's that little Jewish charm that looks like an "n". It's considered lucky and means "life," though it also means the number 18, which is my birthday. Jewish people often give a gift or donation of $36, which is called "double chai.") Actually, she had a fair number of nice pieces, but always pretty much wore one of two pair of earrings (I didn't learn until she died that the little gold hoops she always wore were not real), the same watch, a couple of pins, maybe some costume beads for a necklace. She rarely wore the beautiful set of garnets my father gave her when I was born, her diamond engagement ring, any pearls (she gave me my great-grandmother's pearls when I was 21, and I'd never seen them before -- of course I still have *those*).
Jewelry always had a lot attached to it on my mother's side of the family, things like passing on my great-grandmother's pearls. When my grandfather died, my grandmother and my aunt had his gold watch chain cut into three, set with diamonds and made into bracelets for themselves and my mother. Kind of fetishy about those things. Especially my aunt, who had *tons* of nice jewelry. She worked at IBM for something like 35 years, made a good living and never got married, so she bought a lot of clothes and jewelry and went on a lot of cruises. She now has most of my mother's and my grandmother's jewelry, a lot of it locked away (though she does wear my grandmother's beautiful opal ring, and the necklace my grandmother had made from my grandfather's Masonic pin...get the idea?).
When my mother died, I was almost 22, and my grandmother died three years later; my aunt deemed me insufficiently mature to own any of it. That was probably a blessing, since I was still an active alcoholic and addict. I'm 53 now, sober 24 years, and it's almost all in my aunt's safe deposit box. Just sayin'. Before my brother got married (about twelve years ago), I called my aunt and said that I wanted my mother's "good pearls" for the wedding. (Jewelry crazies, or maybe just Jewish women, are very clear about what is "good" jewelry, and that basically means real gold, real stones, high-quality pearls.) After my parents split up, my mother dated a man for four years who worked in a nice jewelry store, and the big pearls were in lieu of an engagement ring. (They never ended up getting married because he was a chronic cheat.) So my aunt got me the pearls, and threw in a gold-and-garnet bangle of my great-grandmother's. (Jewelry crazy plus family jewelry fetish.) However, she claims not to have seen either my mother's garnets nor her engagement ring from my father. I do also have a signet ring my father gave my mother when they were dating (his initials in marcasite), and her high school ring (Tilden HS, Brooklyn NY).
So I kind of grew up as a jewelry crazy. My dad got me a big turquoise ring for my 16th birthday, which I think is the best present he ever gave me. He's actually given me other jewelry -- Dad gets the girls-and-rocks thing, and has pretty good taste. But the turquoise was very of-the-moment, and the stone and setting are stunning (and yes, I've still got that one).
For a time in the 90s, I really wanted to go to gemology school, because I'd fallen in a big way for expensive stones (also for antique jewelry). But it was not affordable; I think it was a one-year full-time program, at a year-of-college price. (I'm talking about the GIA, which is basically *the* place to study gemology.)
I started making jewelry so fast, like zero-to-sixty, that I had forgotten for a while just how I started (about eight years ago). But I recently remembered that I'd bought a beautiful bead from a Tibetan store. It was a big coral bead with silver end caps, like attached bead caps, which had small turquoise and coral stones set in it. I just fell in love with it and bought it (I think it was $10). I'm pretty sure that I started because I didn't know what to do with that big bead. (I still have it, though I've never made anything out of it. It's The Bead.)
But I can't remember looking for and finding a beading store, what I initially bought and how I started. I remember that early on I used base metal findings and glass and fire-polished (fake crystal) beads. I only made earrings at first because I was intimidated by attaching clasps with crimp beads. I know that I taught myself from a beading book (the little pink one that most beginners buy) and beading magazines. I've only ever taken two classes: one on knotting (because I had a lot of trouble learning this from articles and the book and diagrams), and the one I took recently on making wire rings. Otherwise, I'm totally self-taught.
Once I started using stones, I somehow felt the need to know exactly what materials I was using. I had to know the name of everything. This was part jewelry fetish, and partly because I planned to eventually sell my work, and wanted to be able to tell those future customers exactly what the jewelry was made of. I learned a lot of this by browsing bead stores and and browsing the net. After a while, there was exactly one sales clerk at one of the Sixth Ave/37th St bead store who knew more about stones than I did, and luckily he worked in one of my favorite stores, a huge one. If I couldn't identify something there, I had Roberto. If he wasn't there, or I was in another store and didn't recognize a stone, good luck.
So today, I identified rose quartz, smoky quartz, agate, and Russian amazonite. I think the Russian amazonite got me halfway to being hired; that was the ID that really seemed to impress Edmond. (He's the brother I've dealt with through the whole application process.) There were two other stones I didn't know and guessed at (one I now realize was amazonite of another type), but the guesses were pretty smart. I thought the amazonite might have been an opaque aquamarine, and there was a lumpy white stone that I thought might be undyed howlite or possibly some sort of artificial ivory.
I was interviewed and told about the job by a woman named Divia, and Edmond ran in and out. He was going to come in to finish the interview, but he was too busy. So I walked home, and five minutes after I came in the door, he called and offered me the job. Divia had asked about my availability, and I said I could start Monday, which was just a way of saying that I was very available. But they asked me to start Monday. For any other job, I would have asked for a week before starting, but they're kind of backed up and it was my first act as part of the team to start right away. There are no orders to place just now, but I have to learn some software and get up to speed on the ordering and receiving system. Apparently I'm also going to have to create some Excel spreadsheets, since my predecessor didn't have great computer skills. I'm pretty sure that I was hired largely because I knew the stones (and also was familiar with Dweck's work), and had good administrative/office skills. I feel like the job was made for me.
I feel that at times, I haven't been the most disciplined employee. In fact, if I don't work full-tilt for the entire workday, I feel guilty and like a serious fuck-up, and I've rarely been able to work full-tilt all day. I've also had a bad habit, on and off, of sometimes not wanting to deal with something confusing or unknown or a task I didn't like. But I think that will be very different with the new meds I'm on. I've noticed a change in my personal life; I've become a lot more responsible about housework and cleaning (speaking of tasks I don't like). I get a lot of satisfaction from doing it thoroughly rather than brushing it off or doing it half-assed. If I'm doing dishes, I do them all and then clean the sink. (My darling husband, for some reason, hates washing silverware and will do all of the other dishes and leave the silver. He will also leave any pot or pan that would require even minimal scrubbing "to soak.") I wipe the bathroom sink numerous times every day. I sweep. I organize things. I throw out junk mail right away. (I'm not supposed to say "junk mail" since my father worked many years in direct marketing, but you all know what I mean when I say "junk mail.") This is all pretty new for me. I've become mighty efficient and much neater. I think this will follow me to work.
On a totally different subject -- I've been watching reruns of Friday Night Lights on the bizarre ABC Family channel. They began showing it from the start five days at 6 PM, and I'm enjoying it while waiting for season 5 to start. Barry watches with me some of the time. There's a character named Tim Riggins who is a wildly handsome high school kid (and on the football team which is the center of the show), and as of the start of season two, has gone through three girlfriends. Barry started joking about how Tim Riggins sleeps with everyone in town. It's very silly, but it cracks us up. The same actor (Taylor Kitsch) who plays Riggins was in the movie Wolverine, and it was on a few nights ago. We said that Riggins would sleep with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber. It's not about something like Riggins being bi -- I think it's more about Riggins being irresistible to everyone. We also wanted Tim Riggins to turn up on Glee, where there would be lots of people for him to sleep with. Oh, here's a picture of old TR:
What I really like about Taylor Kitsch, or about Tim Riggins, is that he's handsome in the way that handsome boys were handsome when I was in high school. I would have had a mad crush on him when I was fourteen, and did have mad crushes on boys of that type. And TK/TR is seriously cute.
I refer to the show as "Coach," as in, "Turn on the set, it's time for Coach." Because while the football team is the center of the show, it's heart is absolutely the team coach, who is a wonderful father (both to his kids and the players), a wonderful husband, a very moral guy, strict but kind-hearted...and also very handsome. Big time. Let's see if I can find a pic of him:
OK, time to stop drooling over TV boys. It's late.