Precious Gems

All over the earth there are stones that are considered valuable and powerful.  We all have family members who have birth stones, and it’s worth checking to see what they are–rubies, amethysts, emeralds, opals, garnets, diamonds, peridots, pearls, and so on.  Have any stones inspired you?  Have you ever written a story around a birth stone and a family member?  Tell us!

42 responses to “Precious Gems

  1. Well, almost. It’s a love story, a 100-word exercise I wrote last week.

    Ruby Someday

    Her hair smells of sea salt as I nibble a lobe, her breath warm and rapid, a thousand senses on point. From under my pillow I pull a satin box and wrap her fingers around like ribbon. “I love you,” I whisper.

    She lifts the top and pulls a ring, its red stone lustrous and smooth.

    “A ruby?” she asks.

    “No. Glass. Tumbled smooth by the sea, from our first beach walk.”

    “I remember,” she smiles. “You tucked it in your pocket as waves lapped our toes. You knew then?


    Her smile melts. “I thought it was a ruby.”

    Copyright 2014, Jeff Switt

    • I like the unexpected ending, I always like a twist in a story.

    • This is great! This challenge doesn’t work for me, so I’m going to sit back and drink it in. Nice job.

    • Her smile melts…. I know that woman. Well done Jeff. I am always amazed at the amount of drama you can create in 100 words.

    • Thank you Walk, Gary and Gale. I have found the 100-word story to be an excellent tool for honing my writing. Perhaps if Ann runs out of great ideas here she will give us a 100-word project to play with.

    • Jeff, you are the only man I know who gave a red glass to a girl instead of a ruby I got away with it. I guess that, sometime, being romantic is better that being practical. Good job

    • I know I’m in the minority, but that melting smile confused me. Melting as in shifting from happiness to disappointment–or–melting as in softening into being more than touched. Then she says, “I thought it was a ruby.” Does she mean, “Oh dang, I thought you gave me a ruby” –or– “I always knew this little stone was as precious as a ruby.” Do you see my confusion?

      • Good catch, Ann. Besides, smiles don’t really melt, do they? Guess that is kinda a cliche or trite, or one of those writer terms. Perhaps fades. Will amend my draft. Thanks for stepping in. Jeff

  2. Krystyna Fedosejevs

    Hello everyone, I wish you all a rewarding 2014!

    I wrote the following poem over a year ago; fitting for today’s topic:

    Christmas Present

    Near Puerto Vallarta
    lush emerald hills meet
    ocean waves of shimmering
    sapphire, aquamarine.
    Opals fire a mountain range,
    tequila flows continuously
    through its veins.

    I sit by your side,
    mesmerized by the glowing
    wonder of a ring upon my finger.
    I wear your smile,
    your love for me –
    your Christmas present.

    December, 2012.

  3. Talk about descriptions painting a picture, beautiful Krystyna.

  4. It was an unexpected Christmas gift from my college aged brother. I watched as my mother wept over the book “Leaves Of Gold” that he gave her. Then my father beamed at the new tool gadget that Bro found for him.

    My stomach rumbled, part from not having eaten breakfast yet, and part from the anticipation of what my gift would be. It was in a fairly large square box, it was light, and as I shook it, it made no sound. “Ha, Ha,” I said, “You got me air again this year.” Thinking back on the past eleven Christmas’ I’ve had. At least this time he wrapped it.

    “No, I didn’t, open it. I promise there’s something in there, just be careful, It may bite you.” Oh great, I thought, a mouse trap or a spider. I can’t imagine him spending money on his little brother, and where did he get all that money to buy gifts anyway, he was a college student with no job. “Go ahead, open it,” he said.

    I slowly pulled the ribbon off, half expecting it to pop open like a jack-in-box, but it didn’t. I tore the paper open and slowly opened the box. There in the center sat my gift in it’s own little cage and with adoption papers, my very own Pet Rock.

    • Why does that seem like the exact present a big brother would get a little brother? Part keepsake, part joke, not too corny, but still something that took a bit of thought. I never had any brothers, and I wonder if it’s hard for brothers to buy each other gifts?

  5. I learned two nights ago that amethysts were once thought to be gemstones of power. I have two faceted amethysts that are each tied to the tip of cast iron stars that long ago were part of a lightning rod arrangement. They sit on a window sill near two antique lead crystal bottles made to hold oil and vinegar, but now balance small cut-crystal balls about one inch in diameter. The window sill is in my kitchen over the sink, where I can look out across woods and fields, catch sight of the moon, and spot the deer as they wander by. Two small cast iron animals also grace this shelf. One is a sculpture of an Egyptian cat, very regal, very upright, front legs long, with paws together. The other is a stylized horse, similar to the small talisman the boy in the movie The Black Stallion was given by his father before the father drown. The horse has one leg raised, as if to head off the places of great importance.

    I don’t plan these things. I just collect interesting stuff and leave it out to play with and admire. But I find myself pleased to notice that these are all objects that suggest subtle powers. Lightning rod stars adorned with amethysts, spherical crystals that break the winter sun into rainbows all over my kitchen, and iron animals who evoke stories of magical adventure.

    Late at night, after long hours at the computer, I come downstairs and examine these objects. It’s pleasant, especially since the tiny jazz musicians who live in my toaster are always willing to give me a tune. I often hear faint clinks from the silverware drawer where certain sterling silver teaspoons want to join in. They are partial to the slower Gershwin tunes. The moon is just past full tonight, and for the first time, I notice that it, too, creates shadowy rainbows on the counter top. I peer up at the stars and admire Orion’s Belt.

    The iron horse is stomping now, small feet making a hollow sound on the wood of the sill. It’s time. I get the wooden step stool out, climb onto the counter, and swivel my golden braided ring three times on my finger so I can shrink down small enough to ride away on my valiant steed, bound for parts unknown.

    • Ann, beautiful and creative story. I liked the line about the musicians who live in your toaster. I had one of those toaster and returned to the store thinking that it was broken instead of keeping it for my amusement.
      Among your collection of unusual objects, I remember that once you referred to a ceramic hippopotamus that has some effect on you. Do you still have it?

      • I do have it. It is one of my prize possessions since there is nothing that reminds me more of my father than this stubborn, beat-up, oddly attractive hippo.

    • I loved your story. For the time of reading it, I was standing at your kitchen sink. Loved the ending. Loved the ending.

  6. In the late 1960’s there was a little known nor long remembered movement within the music industry that has since been referred to as the “Yo-Town Sound.” Perhaps no other group of that era personified the Yo-Town movement more so than the Piedmont Sisters of central New Jersey. Appalachia, Delawareisa, and Metrolina played to sometimes packed “animal club” venues in and around the Secaucus area for several months before the start of school in 1968.

    Their most popular song, “Stone Love,” was later reformulated by the Supremes and became a big hit for them in 1970. Here now is the original version by the Piedmont Sisters.

    Stone love

    Stone love
Stone love
Oh yeah

    My love of diamonds will bring bitching to an end

    You can beg forever, but put an emerald in my hand
And like the pearls, that light up the sky, in that message from Kay
Oh yeah, baby you know you got to pay to play

    Yeah, don’t ya hear the jewelry rattle?
Stone love

    Oh yeah, I tell ya I need another

    Stone Love

    Oh yeah

    And my patience will be short, ‘less that stone is on my hand

    Oh yeah, and if you know what’s smart, you’ll buy that sapphire band
And to the man, on whose card, this purchase does depend

    I pray you get it right, opals, rubies, ob-sid-i-an

    Oh, can’t ya feel it
Stone Love

    I tell ya I need another

    Stone Love
Oh yeah

    If the sales, and the discounts, have passed, oh yeah
Will my love and sweet affection last?

    Hardly, hardly, hardly, hardly.

    Stone Love
Oh yeah

    I tell ya I need another
Stone Love

  7. Although I love purple, my birthstone is a sapphire. The depth of blue in a sapphire melts my fears, causes my blood to surge, and creates dreams of wonder and adventure. My husband bought me a lovely blue sapphire and diamond wedding band in Ketchikan, Alaska when we took a cruise for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I look at my band every day and marvel at the rich beauty of the sapphires and the profound love we share. But my story isn’t about my wedding band or my husband or a cruise. My story is about death – death of a friend who occupied by soul for thirty-seven years.

    I met her over a common fence separating our property. She was odd, eccentric, one-of-a kind, and I loved her instantly. She had more important things to do than gossip about the neighbors or watch soap operas. She was constructing brick circles that connected brick paths that haphazardly wove through her one-acre lot. She dug a lily pond just for fun and fed skunks because she found them intriguing. She wore her hair in a knee length braid on one side and a bowl cut on the other; she liked both short and long hair. And she sported a piercing in one ear.

    In June of this year, I made my last trip to Albuquerque to see her one last time. I cannot express the depth of pain I feel when losing someone I love. She was my rock, my Jonathan – although I make no claim to be a Daniel. Far from it. We talked for several days; I gave her permission to die, not that I needed to, but just to let her know, I would put no strings of delay around her bone-thin body as her soul longed to fly. The first day as I left, the pain in my heart and soul seemed overwhelming, and I fought to breathe, to figure out how to walk to the car.

    I have no earthly idea why I wanted to pierce my nose – it certainly wasn’t to be cool or trendy. I am far too old to give a damn about cool or trendy. I liked the look; it was unique not the norm. I had know many young women who cut themselves to relieve the pain in their souls, but frankly I never understood that choice. But piercing my nose, a blue sapphire stud – it was destined to happen. The shop was immaculate, the piercer was certified, and I was a wreck. He calmly explained the procedure and within thirty seconds, I was looking at a blue sapphire on the left side of my nose.

    She died August 31 of this past year. I never saw her again. I still have a voicemail on my phone so I never forget her voice. But every morning, I look at my blue sapphire, my birthstone and remember the connection of my life to hers. When I showed her my act of lunacy, she smiled. When I look at it in the mirror, she laughs in my soul.

    • Almond, moving and sentimental story. Indeed she sounded as an interesting and unique kind of person. The sapphire looks good in your nose.

    • I wish I had known this woman. You make her seem like the most rare of people–a bricoleur, an optimist, and someone who just did what she liked. The story of your own piercing does her honor. A great read. Love the last line.

      • You would have treasured her as a person. She was real, transparent, and uniquely comfortable in her own skin. She never failed me as a friend. Thank you for your comments.

  8. Sweet story, nice memories, thanks for posting it.

  9. Precious Gems.

    I found my gem years ago, while walking along early in the morning on an isolated beach in the Pacific coast of the Republic of Panama where I was invited by a customer to stay for a week-end.
    It was a piece of petrified and twisted drift piece of wood about a foot long and over and inch in diameter, which was resting on the beach half submerge in a small puddle.
    Very tightly embedded in the wood there were four highly polished white stones reflecting the sunlight. To my surprise, I noticed that the stones were arranged along the wood in a perfect sequence according with their size: from the largest at the top down to the smaller at the end.
    It looked as a family of stones that have decided to go on a trip.
    I study the piece for quite a while, fascinated.
    How many years have taken for those stones to get so precisely embedded in the wood? How did the stones got to be ordered according with their size?
    I took my gem back to the house and showed it to the rest of the people who were having a late breakfast. Everybody looked at it but no one gave it too much attention.
    Back in New York, I placed that piece of drift wood on top of my wardrobe next to some family pictures and other memories I kept there.
    Unfortunately, I lost my gem when we moved from New York to Georgia.
    For a while, I was disappointed and upset with myself for not having assured the safekeeping of that beautiful, unique and interesting piece.

    On the other hand, perhaps that piece of wood was not created to be held in one site, permanently. Perhaps its destiny was to keep on drifting along places unknown, forever.

    • How odd that so many treasures get lost when we move (and move and move). This one sounds quite magical with those four stones. Funny that no one seemed to realize how special it was. You did! Good for you. I also liked your decision as to how to interpret its disappearance. Drifting on….

  10. Lando…that touches me. I’m a rock and driftwood person. I still have a fragment of a lovely burl my late hysband and I picked up in a field near Paso Robles CA . We were on our honeymoon, in 1975. We had almost twenty incredible years.
    Forgive me folks, but I need some direction.
    Ann, if you read this, I posted a short piece called Macho Latino on blog soup and now nothing is coming after it. Did I end it all with a poor piece?

  11. I’ll go read it now. I’m very irresponsible in my reading of all blog postings. Sometimes I’m there; sometimes I’m not. I’m hoping no one takes it personally.

  12. Twenty years ago, before the tattooing craze exceeded all sense of normalcy, I asked a young man why he had body art covering his arms.

    “Each one,” he replied, “tells a story. I look at them and remember where I was and what I was doing at that time in my life.”

    So it is with my box of rocks. Well, not a box exactly because my stones and pebbles can fit in the palm of my hand. But, there is a story in each one, like the speckled granite from the iconic rock faces in Yosemite. I lingered on a sandy beach one sunny afternoon and watched the climbers make their careful way up the face of El Capitan. Before me a swallowtail butterfly landed on a friend’s palm and a mallard mama begged for goodies, ostentatiously showing her large brood and hoping for sympathy in the form of food.

    This large, dark gray rock came from the Great Wall of China and by holding it in my hand, I am back on that unfathomable creation and see the handsome Mongol who makes her living aiding the elderly tourists who might need help ascending or descending the steep, crumbling steps.

    From the Grand Canyon, there are three pieces—a red one from the upper extent at Marble Canyon, close to Lee’s Ferry where the ruts of wagon trains can still be seen at this river crossing, a small sliver of petrified wood from the Vermillion Cliffs, and a stone from Phantom Ranch at the bottom of Bright Angel trail where a leather mail pouch was fastened over the saddle horn of my barrel-shaped mule and we subsequently delivered the mail to the top of the canyon.

    My most precious pebble is a nondescript beige but it brings the most colorful memories. I see a 29-year-old man, disguised as a peasant, escaping his country before a conquering army. Had he not been successful, the world would never have come to know the remarkable Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. This tiny stone is a piece of mortar fallen from a wall in his home high atop a mountainside in Lhasa, Tibet, the magnificent Potola Palace, and someday I would like to give it to him in his exile.

    Though I’ve been there many times, I have never brought home a piece of lava from the Hawaiian Islands. I would not that fiery goddess, Madame Pele, putting a hex on my life.

    Each of these humble stones tell a story and I would not trade them for a suitcase of precious gems.

    • Gully, beautiful story. It impresses me the geographic range you used in the story; from Yosemite to the Tibet. Take good care of your stones.

  13. Beautiful Gullie. I think Madame Pele put a hex on that para though. ;o)

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