a life creative
Here’s a few of the stones my grandmother polished about 40 years ago.
Actually, I had two stone-lovin’ grandmothers. Hence the seemingly dodgily-place apostrophe, you grammar-pronto fiends.
After my last post, Mum reminded me that my German grandmother, Hedwig, had also been a lapidarist. My Polish grandfather Yusef had made her a tumbler out of an old washing machine – now that’s love, and a pair of outlandish names.
I’d half forgotten that Hedwig had dabbled in pebbles; about 20 years ago she gave me a beautiful faceted topaz that she’d cut and polished herself, and I had a friend set it in silver. I can’t provide photographic evidence of this because when I was a vet nurse, a lifetime ago, we had a famous singer’s dog come to board with us on a regular basis. It was a weimaraner and was so far out of its head stupid as to be be a wonder it was alive at all. It was what we lovingly termed an “oxygen thief”.
One day I was hooking on its lead, which was more like lassoing a sturgeon, and it rocketed up on its weimaraner skyhooks, bopped me in the eye with its snout and suddenly the topaz was no longer around my neck.
Prognosis: Oh, shit.
(Is it just the breed? We had another, completely discrete weimaraner swallow a fist-sized garden rock three separate times and had to have it removed from its stomach three times at $1500 a pop back in the day. Yet another regular weimaraner patient had a bicycle seat fetish and subsequent obstructions and bank balance haemorrhages).
At the time of the topaz incident we were dismantling the kennel room for repainting and we all sifted through absolutely everything, so the chances were high that the pendant was inside the dog, and was big enough to be a possible problem.
For a fortnight my job was to watch for the telltale signs of gastric obstruction and follow the canine around with a stick at pooptime and poke about in all that joy for my grandmother’s topaz.
Two weeks of boarding passed with nothing medically untoward to report – and no topaz.
I’ve read supernatural stories of lovers who have lost wedding rings and other beloved objects of meaning only to have them show up on remote beaches on the other side of planet decades later. Even in our family we’ve had the odd thing or two happen (another set of stories for another post). In any case I hope I’ll be walking along Alberese beach one day and my grandmother’s topaz will wash on in and be like, “hey, there you are…”
So, weimaraners aside, I had two grandmothers who both enjoyed the art of coaxing a smooth, reptilian-skinned, lightning-flowered cabochon or a icy geometric beauty out of a chunk of rock. I have no genetic choice but to love creating jewellery.
Writer | Artist
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