Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bling, Bling, and More Bling

I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Miami. It was short, but oh so sweet. My travel partner was my mom – and we are totally in synch when we travel, so we always have a good time. We like to cram a ton of activities into the day and then have a cocktail, dinner, and retire early. No night owls, here.

We take a mother-daughter trip once a year and my husband goes to Napa with his mom once a year too. It’s a great tradition. Our moms get us to themselves and we get to be spoiled and told we’re perfect and brilliant and beautiful. Who doesn’t need a bit of coddling every now and then?

Mom and I picked Miami because we wanted to help her friend sell her goods at the Miami Beach Antique Show. Mom’s friend is an antique jewelry dealer, so it’s always fun to hang out in her booth. I get to try on diamond necklaces, cameo brooches, sapphire rings, and Tiffany pins. Of course, they all go back into the safe each evening, but a girl can pretend to own such treasures, can’t she?

Imagine hundreds of glass showcases filled with jewels. Glittering gems of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Strings of pearls. More diamonds than I’ve ever seen in one space. Piles of loose stones. Yellow gold, white gold, and platinum. (This was not a show for humble sterling). The buyers and sellers were as mixed as the gems. They spoke French, Yiddish, Arabic, Spanish, British English, and what I’ll call the effeminate South Beach English.

There were some beautiful people there too. Models with legs as long as my minivan with little dogs poking out of their handbags, bronze men resembling the David statue, and so on. Then there were the elderly widows who were taking the Joan Rivers approach and were a wee bit frightening to look at and old men with hats driving motorized bikes up and down each row. And if you didn’t get out of the way fast enough, they’d clip the tender flesh on the back of your heel!

At first, I looked at every both – dazzled by the glitz and glimmer of jewelry that cost more than a car and in some cases, more than a house. There were even tiaras and two, not one, but two, crowns inlaid with gems.

But after two days, I actually got used to the bling, the police presence, and the different languages. Sales were down dramatically from last year (no surprise) and my mom’s friend packed up and moved on to the next show. I realized, for all the outward glamour, that it’s a hard life for these dealers. And me? I got a glimpse of a foreign world – one that is sure to make it’s way into a book one day.

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?