Monday, July 21, 2008

Do Ask, Do Tell

Years ago, when I lived in New York City, I taught English as a Second Language at a refugee resettlement agency. As anyone who's ever done something like this knows, you wind up trying to teach your students far more than just language, and one of the things that I was constantly harping at my students was to ask people for things. Do you need help with something? Well, ask for it! Maybe, they'll say yes, at worst they'll say no, and until you ask you'll never know one way or another. You might think something is impossible, but it might not seem so to another person, and if you don't ask, you don't get. So ask.

This was a lesson I remembered not long ago and acted on to wonderful result.

This cuff is one of my favorite things:

It's Kenneth Jay Lane, and not only is it wonderful because -- well, look at it! It's just wonderful! It's also wonderful because it was a gift from my dear English Rose and traveled all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and half another continent to come & live with me, and so that makes it even more special. It's very, very me -- big, dramatic, un-miss-able, a little flashy. It's also heavy as heck, because it's enameled metal with all those crystals embedded in it and it's a good two inches wide. This is not a flexible piece of metal -- there is a hinge on one side of the opening at the back to allow some give to slide it on & off, but there's no adjusting this cuff to fit the wrist. The problem has always been that I have very narrow wrists, and while that's good because it makes the thing easy to slide on, it's bad because it's also easy to slide off. I've just lived with that, because I didn't see what I could do to make a difference. I couldn't re-size the cuff, the metal is enameled. I couldn't stiffen the hinge, because I don't think that's possible and even if it were, then it would be too hard to get on. I've lost it more than once, although it has always just landed on the table next to my plate, or the couch where I was sitting, or something like that, to no ill-effect. But a while back I wore it to a wedding and the dingdong thing slid off my arm onto the marble floor in the bathroom of the restaurant and I nearly had a heart attack. It miraculously suffered no harm from its loud & horrifying crash to the floor, but that was it for me. I knew I had to do something, because I want to keep wearing this cuff for the rest of my life and I didn't want to risk it anymore.

I asked a client who has a lot of nice jewelry where she takes her things for repairs & whatnot and she directed me to Franzetti Trends and Traditions Jewelry here in Austin. I took the cuff in and, after a consultation with Bobby, their designer/gemologist (who looks like he hasn't even graduated high school yet but good googly-moogly, does he make purty jools!) I left the cuff there for him to work some magic. Which he did.

Ta-DAAAAAAAH!!!! Boy Wonder drilled two tiny holes in either end of the cuff and attached a catch chain with a hook. An incredibly simple solution to the problem. I. Am. Thrilled! I can wear my bracelet and wave my arms around like the madwoman I am! Now, it's tricky to get the thing fastened & unfastened because there's almost no slack in the chain (Note to self: Must find husband. Or ladies' maid.), but I've been practicing with some tweezers and I think I've got the technique down.

And the cost for this little miracle? Shamefully low. Honestly, the only places I could get lunch for that little money have drive-through windows and cartoon mascots. I would have paid much more than that for this kind of result.

The moral of this story? You don't ask, you don't get! Another moral is that it pays to have people to go to for good recommendations. (For which you have me, thank goodness!) Still another is that if you have something you regard as precious, it's worth a little time & trouble to make sure you can keep it with you for years to come.

How about you guys? Do you have any treasures that you've had to take steps to safeguard or make more wearable? Any clever solutions to fashion problems you'd like to share? Let's hear 'em!

Also, if you live in Austin and are a fan of jewelry, I heartily recommend a visit to Franzetti's. They have beautiful, beautiful things and the people who work there are lovely and really know their stuff. There was a couple shopping for a non-diamond engagement ring when I went to pick up my cuff, and while I was cruising the display cases I overheard the gemologist discussing various kinds of precious & semi-precious stones. At one point he explained why the crystal structure of an emerald makes it more fragile than say, a garnet. Wow. These folks have forgotten more about rubies & emeralds & pearls (oh my!) than I will ever even know. Also -- did I mention all the pretty, preeeeeeetty sparklies??? Preeeeeeeetty! Stop in & have a look around.

Photos: Style Spy

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Tellicherry said...

Oh sweet baby Jesus, that's a gorgeous cuff! Do you have a jewlery wand?

I find mine indispensible for fastening bracelets.

StyleSpy said...

Telli -- I've been curious about these things, they seem pretty handy. The nice lady at Fraznetti's told me she just uses a piece of scotch tape to stick one end of the clasp to her arm, which also seems like a pretty smart idea.

Eileen said...

Yes, of course... It's a nice piece of jewelry, you have made me to go for some jewelry shopping & I will start my search from Blue Nile.