Category Archives: “little black dress”

Pearls

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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.

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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.