One of June’s birthstones is the pearl. This post is one I wrote while visiting

my Mom in October, 2013.

Several people responded positively about their memories of wearing pearls.

Some of us wore them in our Senior high school or college pictures.

I borrowed my Mom’s shorter length necklace of pearls and wore them with

a pink fuzzy sweater for one of my poses. It was one of my favorites since

the photographer had caught my looking off into space, looking wistful.


When my Mom opened the arts, lifestyle section and saw the famous

women wearing PEARLS, she exclaimed, “Oh! How wonderful!” She did

not read the article, just studied the photographs of a diverse group of

strong women who have shown us grace and beauty:

Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama, Barbara Bush, Coco

Chanel, Liz Taylor, Camilla and Audrey Hepburn. Seeing the images of them

all with their pearls worn, made both of us nostalgic.

I had worn my pearls in my senior high school picture with a fuzzy pink

sweater. It was an Iconic sign of the times, the way I was raised, church,

getting ‘dressed up’ and wearing pearls were synonymous with each other.

Who can forget Holly Golightly in her “LBD” (“Little black dress”) finished off

with the four strands of pearls with a gorgeous clasp of diamonds, wearing a

tiara on her head up in a bun (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s)?

The details of the story are even more fascinating than those photographs.

When I wrote about “leaps of faith” I had not read this story, had not heard

of someone that had chosen to start their life again with a huge jump and

change in her pathway! Esther Kish, of Fairview Park, Ohio (suburb of

Cleveland), was asked at age 63, two years until her “official retirement age”

to try something totally new.

Now, to let you know that this was not so unusual for this outstanding woman

because in her busy life up until age 63, she had been a babysitter, a stay-

-at-home mother, waited tables, worked as a data entry clerk at Glidden Paints

Company and worked at a tannery, scrubbing leather hides.

This married woman, with a family, did not hesitate when asked,

“Would you like to work with jewelry?”

Esther Kish worked out her last two years at Glidden during the days, then

hurrying off to the renowned jewelry store, Potter and Mellen, for second shift.

A couple years ago, at the amazing age of 92, Esther was given a wonderful

and challenging project. No slowing down for her!

Incredible, age-defying, this tale included the intriguing project of a necklace

traveling across the ocean to the jewelry store, where she worked on it.

Esther considered the pieces of a necklace that needs to be totally redone

as one of her biggest challenges. It involved restringing a necklace from the

1900’s from France.

Each pearl in this intricate necklace was the size of a grain of rice, 400 in all!

She also had jewels of diamonds, emeralds and sapphires to complete the

necklace. She used her strong, able hands, with her intense focus to take

the fine needle and insert through each pearl bead, tying a perfect knot with

silk thread, choosing the color of the thread to match the color tone of the

pearls. She pulled knots tight between each pearl with tweezers before

adding the next.

An exquisite example of another 2013 project that Esther completed included

the sum of 135 graduated pearls with a 14 k. white gold clasp. This beautiful

example of her stunning work, was priced at $11,000.

Many of her fantastic projects have been completed in collaboration with

the Potter and Mellen goldsmith, restoring priceless heirlooms, earrings

and necklaces and her big, kind heart has kept her at the jewelry store late

at night, saving many husbands and relationships by her last minute gifts

for anniversaries, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

When we feel weary, don’t want to go to work, wish we could just retire, I

will have to reread this story of a woman who had just a few short years left

to a grand retirement party and easing into low gear.

Instead, she went through intense training at the Gemological Institute of

America in Philadelphia, PA.

She used to work daily long grueling hours on these tasks.

She found herself smiling, picturing the beauty of her final creations being

worn all over the world.

While looking back at this 2013 post, I realized dear Esther Kish could have

passed away. There are four Esther Kish’s, listed in the white pages of the

Cleveland phone book. One is still currently living in Fairview Park, Ohio.

We will cross our fingers she is still alive and taking on special “stringing

projects,” since she is truly a talented craftswoman.

Talking about changing the course of your life, Esther made a dramatic

change in career paths and kept on going!

Dear Esther Kish,

You are my motivation and inspiration for seeking a busy, enduring life!

Never stop, keep on going past the age of 94. . .

My last addition to this post:

The reference to wearing pearls is not so dated, after all.

The Band Perry uses these words, in their song, “If I Die Young:”

“Bury me in satin”… “Boys put on your vests” (to wear at the funeral)

and I’ll put on my pearls.”

The last word of the song is pearls and it is a hauntingly drawn out word, too.


About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

58 responses »

    • Yes, I am and I hope that I gave it my own spin on it and talked a little differently about the subject! Thanks so much for reading it! I liked it this summer, found the man who had an obituary who was a big science fiction and fantasy writer. I added my own thoughts about the movies he contributed to and the series, “Twilight Zone.” When I am in Cleveland, I enjoy reading my high school 1974 acquaintance, Michael Heaton’s popular culture articles, too. He and his family, including Patricia Heaton, the actress, lived in Bay Village during some of the same years.

    • Thank you for providing a link to Esther Kish! This is lovely that you did this! I appreciated seeing the article because it spurred my Mom into talking about her memories of pearls and how she gave me some in high school. They lack some of their luster, I was not as careful as I should have been, hair spray and throwing them in a jewelry box, not putting them on cotton or a nice box like I should have! I have some shinier imitation pearls but the one necklace, I still wear.

  1. This is a fantastic story of beginning a new life at the age of 63 and what a fantastic life too!
    And still at 92 keeping on keeping on. brilliant and inspirational.
    Thanks. This has made my day today 🙂

  2. I’m fond of black pearls since visiting Hawaii. I also remember with fondness stringing 10 strands of freshwater pearls in the late ’90s and twisting them. Remember when that was popular? I didn’t put a gold clasp on it. 🙂 Pearls are so beautiful.

    • I like the look of black pearls and hope someday to visit Hawaii. It would be very challenging with my eyes to string 10 strands of those smaller freshwater pearls but I do have a necklace that resembles the appearance of them. I think it was a very nice trend and do remember it!
      My pearls are faded, due to poor care by myself. I must have not stored them well, but I did wear them often! I enjoyed sometimes too much hair spray, which is not good for them, either! (Trying to make my thin hair look “bigger!”)

      • They need water. You could try keeping them in the kitchen or bathroom for a few days and see if that helps. Maybe wear them in the shower a few times. Then of course, you might have to have them restrung.

      • I will take out my strings of pearls next time I shower and can you believe it has been almost 2 years since I wrote this post? (Well, technically 20 months… smiles!)

  3. Esther Kish is my new inspiration! What a great story.
    When my mom went into assisted living, we were advised to take all her “good” jewelry for safekeeping and let her have some pieces of inexpensive jewelry. She and I made a morning of it, going to a nice department store, and then also to Target and the Dollar Store. She had the most fun at our last stop, and picked out surprising, colorful baubles to wear, with several brightly patterned pairs of socks to wear, too. She’s had so much fun with these accessories, and their vivid colors and shapes downplay her dementia.
    But for the first several years, while she could still go to friend’s funerals or their grandchildren’s weddings, I bring out her pearls.

    • This is a story in itself. Have you ever posted this? I love the way you thought about saving her expensive jewelry and then, replacing it with bright and inexpensive jewelry and love the extra touch of colorful socks. The way you describe this shopping time well spent, it a precious one to share. I appreciate this so very much! I also think saving her pearls for going to the friends’ funerals or grandchildren’s weddings, while she was able to still attend was very thoughtful of you. We sold almost all of Mom’s good jewelry and put the large amount of money in the bank. We gave each of the grandchildren a piece of her jewelry and a choice in coming to the cleaning out the house and subsequent moving sale, choosing a painting or collectable. Since her house has not sold we did not want to have to worry about taxes and having the lawn care being done. Her house out at Lake Erie in Vermilion has been on the market for a year and a half. Thanks so much, Marylin, definitely Esther Kish is an awesome woman.

  4. Those sound like amazing pieces! I used to adore pearls. I thought they were “my” special jewels. They were really in style when I was young–including the really long ropes. I had a rope, a choker, a longer one, (all fakes) and then for my wedding my aunt gave me her real wedding pearls. And I had pearl earrings. Now I never wear pearls!! I love the way they look, but they seem so old-fashioned. And they don’t go with my yoga pants. Now I’m feeling nostalgic!!!

    • I am always glad when a post brings someone happy thoughts, this seems to have been a good one for nostalgia! I am sure that you would look great with a pearl necklace but only if you felt like it! The yoga pants may not go but a simple black sweater or turtleneck could get all “spruced up” with your longer pearls. I would save the beautiful gift from your aunt for a special occasion. I agree it is not so popular now, but they did show Michelle Obama wearing them and I feel she is quite stylish! Thanks, Luanne, for this wonderful set of comments!

    • Luanne, can you believe it has been around 20 months since I posted this originally? I decided since June’s gemstone is a pearl to re-blog it. I am smiling at the memories you shared all over again. Thanks for ‘being there’ so long ago!

      • Time sure does fly by, Luanne. This makes me wish to have a ‘dressy’ occasion to wear mine, but I had not put them in the shower to give them a misting, so will do this tonight. No more procrastination! Smiles!

  5. What an inspiration and what a reminder for me to wear my pearls. This is the second time pearls have been mentioned that has come my way. Brilliant post, Robin. Thank you. Love, Amy ❤

    • I am so glad you have been reminded twice. They are always in style, since they represent simplicity and elegance, too. I like wearing them with something embroidered. I guess some may consider this over the top, Amy! ha ha! I am so glad you found this post to be enjoyable and much love sent your way, too. xo

  6. And then there is Janis Joplin’s album entitled Pearl. It’s my birthstone, yet I have never possessed one. Yes, I live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! And one day, perhaps, I shall own a lovely raw black pearl. But oh, they are expensive, and I don’t wear jewelry, as a rule! 🙂

    • I have a single grayish looking pearl which may be considered a fake black pearl. It is on a silver necklace. I am so happy you reminded me of Janis Joplin’s album, Bela! Yeah, for your contribution. You mean a lot to me, you seem like me, a little bit hippie and yet, you are on an island so you can use that for your relaxed style look. What is my reason? I like wearing batik skirts or tie-dyed to represent the years I was a Peace loving teenager! Hugs, Robin

    • I am so glad you checked out the link on Esther. I hope she is the one who has the phone number in Fairview Park. I could not find a person with all of her characteristics in the Obituaries. (Which it had been almost two years since I posted this…) I have a prayer sent out into the Universe, feeling she is a strong living example of how we must live involved in something we enjoy doing, Linda. Thanks for your sweet comment!

  7. Oh, How wonderful ! Your mom exclaimed after looking at the pictures and I too expressed in a same manner after reading this informative post on pearls. Very inspirational indeed. Age is all in mind. To some people it is just a number game otherwise sky is the limit for them. Regards, soul 🙂

    • I love this special comment and appreciate that you exclaimed the same as my Mom. You have been always one who shared your family and feelings. I appreciate your ability to be so open. I also like to express myself in this manner.
      I like how you added “Age is all in the mind.” You are so right! I hope you and your family will reach the sky or beyond as your limit! Hugs, Robin

    • I am wondering where my messages on three of your posts went to, perhaps they are in “Awaiting moderation?” Just letting you know I wrote about the seed pods with pinkish seeds. You mentioned they looked like the color, vermilion, and I admired your husband’s hands. So nice to have him to hold on to when you need him, along with the beautiful double hearts lake. Please check your messages or responses to allow you to see I have been thinking of you! Hugs, Robin

      • Not always do I get a chance to comment but I did feel sad when I circled back. Let me know if they didn’t go through and I will go back to write some more 🙂

    • I am so glad you liked the story about a real life woman who took on a completely different career, stringing pearls at age 63 and kept on doing this intricate craft into her 90’s! It is a wonderful example of keeping contributing to the world. I would probably have trouble seeing the pearls! ha ha! Thank you for visiting here today.

    • Thank you so much, Jay! I did find this article, but my Mom and I added details about our own interest in Pearls. Hope you are well and will check out your posts, now! Smiles, Robin

  8. Just the other day I pulled my string of pearls out of the box and the string broke. Time to get them restrung after thirty years, wouldn’t you say? Fortunately, we are getting ready to leave soon for a trip to Asia and I’ll bring them along. Where better to get them repaired, right? A pearl of a post, Robin!

    • So glad that if it were to happen, it would be while you are preparing to go to Asia. Maybe you will have it repaired and find a unique new set of pearls to wear, Barb. They may be priced just right and be finer than any available here. Thanks for mentioning your trip and also, the comment about my post. A great compliment, indeed. Hugs and wishes for safe travel mercies, Barb.

  9. What an inspiring woman and what a heart warming story. Is there a woman whom pearls don’t beautify! A string of pearls is confidence, class, grace, feminity and beauty rolled into one. Lovely post

    • Thank you, Nimi, for this beautiful comment. I appreciate your interest in this true story. I find it inspirational and it makes me less likely to complain about being tired at my job 🙂 I will be checking your posts out today. Have a wonderful week ahead.

    • I have to hope Esther is still alive and kicking. But, I also hope she decided to ‘take a break’ and coast along enjoying life. Her ‘good deeds’ in saving husbands during the holidays touched my heart. She was a sweetie, from all the descriptions and her photograph, too.

      • Yes, there are some who are gifted with talent and won’t quit until they come to the end of time. I hope to stay busy all the rest of my life, but would welcome some breaks and vacations! Smiles, Robin

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