When I was little I would creep into my father’s study and read the Encyclopedia Brittanica. In those days, a set consisted of something like 20 volumes. The volumes were oversized, and had illustration pages. Called plates, I think. These pages were thick, shiny, suck-air-between-your-teeth desirable.
It might have been that I was precocious and hungry for knowledge. But no. I was in search of volume G-H. G for Gems. I would sit on the floor and look at the pictures and shiver. I don’t know what it was. Maybe the facets. A hall of mirrors, endless reflections, not knowing where the end or the center might be. Or maybe it was the sheen and heft of the old paper.
Nowadays I watch Jewelry TV. Yes. I do. I love the women who announce the pieces they are selling. I love their Southern accents. I love their French manicures. I love the way they pluck the gemstones they want to hawk out of the case with those special plucker tools. Pop. I want to order a mixed stone parcel and sit on my sofa late at night, running my fingers through the colored gems. I would even replace one of the burned out lights in the outdated track lighting overhead. With a pinspot. I would keep the illicit sparkle secret.
And the click and clack of stone hitting stone.