Walking seems to be what I do more then anything else. Perhaps it was my New York upbringing or the compulsive way my mother forced me to walk endlessly everywhere, but I rarely spend any day without walking a minimum of 5 miles. There are days that will walk my dogs between fifteen and twenty miles. Admittedly, that is a long stretch of the legs, but it happens not infrequently. I have always liked the walk from the French Quarter up around Audubon Park and back, as well as the Metropolitan Museum to the World Trade Center and back. They are certainly different, but they do the same thing. That is, free my brain to dream up new pieces of jewelry, or to a lesser extent, to execute the commands to bring those ideas to fruition.
Walking is jewelry, and on beautiful days, the best part of what I do and how I live. The past week has been a week of walks to remember. New York is in bloom and the days have been impossibly warm. The magnolias at The Frick are old friends I only see briefly each spring, yet they have never looked better. I was fortunate to walk the park both last week and this to the most wonderful awakening of leaves I can remember. During the walks ideas come easily, soft colors come into focus and imbue design ideas with nuances that punctuate pieces. It was glorious. It was also the perfect foil and precursor to the weekend spent at Cheltenham and London.
I had not been to London for quite some time and had forgotten how beautiful that city is when the sun shines. Seventy degrees in London in March? Time for a walkabout certainly! For brevity sake I will forgo waxing poetic about all the romance of spending a day on foot there, however, I will never forget walking the park near Kensington High Street. The trees about to pop and the daffodils waning, tell of the impending tipping point. Bring it. I look forward to all the colors that are just around the corner.
Most of the colors I await are slightly removed from the many shades of stones in the jewelry that line New Bond Street. I have always preferred the jewelry stores in London to those in New York. I simply think they look better, and tend to have finer pieces. In addition, everything is in the window, and shopkeepers give no quarter to the pocketbooks of passers by. I don't think price point is a word in proper English. Everyone brings the artillery out for the Arabs and Russians that patrol Mayfair. I admit, I like the commercial moxie they show. What London lacks is the semi-precious stone. I abhor the term 'semi-precious' because it really has no relevance on rarity or color saturation or purity of stones, but I will use it begrudgingly for this blog.
The term precious in the stone world relates to only diamonds, sapphire and emerald, solely because there are enough to justify huge advertising campaigns and their excellent durability. One for the Queen, and one suitable for the Zales case. There are so many spectacular stones people have not heard of. How about tsavorite garnet? A garnet for sure, yet far rarer then emerald, and colored by chromium like emerald. It's cleaner and has a higher dispersion, which translates as more sparkle. It is far prettier then every emerald save the ones oligarchs can afford. However, tsavorites will cost and really not impress friends that are not au currant. I admit it is very nice to know that the world is finally starting to come around to the beauty, rarity, and glory of the natural pearl.
I saw a number of beautiful conch pearls in the Bond Street windows and I know that soon the melo, quahog, clam and many other varieties of natural pearl will enter the discussion of valuable and extraordinary gems. It's coming. My walks around the city reminded me of so many of the exquisite pearls I have handed over in the last number of years. I am so happy that my clients have enjoyed them so much and often afford me the pleasure of seeing the many pieces I've made. There have been some with incredible color that were invented strolling South Audrey Street as well as the boreens of Ireland. Boreen means "small country road" in Gaelic. Yet, when we talk about color in the context of one of the more romantic weekends in memory, and the effect of Ireland in my creative subconscious, it would be remiss failing to mention the wonderful Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham last Friday. Cheltenham is a town in the Cotswold that boasts the finest steeplechase meet in the world. The preeminent race being the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a race of 3.5 miles over chasing fences that can only be seen, not described. I got there early and walked the course, right up to the fences. It is interesting to navigate the grounds shortly before historic events take place. Knowing something will happen rather then think of what had happened. In someways it feels like seeing a beautiful stone for the first time and knowing that what you do with it (the setting that is) will change perception of it going forward. I will never forget walking the storied grass of Cheltenham, nor the many walks the weekend held. They are precious.
The racing was everything I hoped it would be. And the horses more impressive then expected. However, the one thing they did not do was walk. They went one better. In contrast, my walks engendered thought as divergent as pieces of old Cartier, the beauty of dawn run making the last, and architecture that has shaped imagination. What I do comes together between these thoughts. I include some pieces that have their roots planted in the memories of walks taken as well as a photograph of the future.
Where as the Irish say....let the road rise up to meet you.