New YorkCity. Dec. 7, 2018. Early Wednesday morning, I awoke to the sound of our 15-year-old lab/shepherd mix named Beast having a seizure. It was his second one ever—and within a week’s time—and he wasn’t snapping out of this one as quickly as the first. Jeff and I got him into the car and sped over to the closest 24-hour emergency vet, who quickly assessed the cause: a brain tumor.
Fifteen is great long life for a big dog! But as pet parents know, it’s difficult nonetheless to say goodbye. The vet put Beast on a seizure med, though, which has helped stabilize him, and forbade him from doing stairs anymore. We brought him home, dragged his bed downstairs and set it up in the den, and have been living on the first floor with him 24/7. Correction, I have been living with him in the den, given that he cries for me if I’m gone for longer than a few minutes.
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This family emergency forced me to clear my schedule this week. I missed the Platinum Guild International (PGI) holiday party on Wednesday night, and last night’s board dinner of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s (WJA) New York Metro chapter, of which I’m president. PGI’s Jenny Luker and Kevin Reilly were understanding, as was the all-volunteer board with whom I work. Everyone involved has crazy busy schedules, so it seemed unfair and impractical to reschedule our board dinner, which is an opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work and commitment. I wanted them to enjoy it—and from the looks of the photos, they did!! Margaritas, I believe, were part of the reason.
So, from my home base of our dog-filled den (our Golden Retriever, Emma, is serving as a therapy dog to both me and Beast), I’m working on next week’s event schedule. This includes the annual WJA New York Metro holiday party, which will happen at the Yale Club on Wednesday, Dec. 12. Tickets are still on sale (click here).
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The holiday party is super festive and upscale, with an open bar, great food, and the camaraderie of members for which our chapter is well known. The party is also an opportunity to learn about industry firms that support the mission of WJA—“to help women in the jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership development, and the provision of member services.” Companies support WJA and events like the holiday party through sponsorships, which defray the costs of hosting pricey events like this one, and raffle donations, which raise money for our chapter’s scholarships and grants.
Raffle items this year are unique! First, there are non-jewelry temptations. Closet vocalist and Senior Counsel at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Sara Yood, donated two tickets to the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA)—the competition featured in the film “Pitch Perfect—on Saturday April 27 in New York City. Reed Events donated a two-night hotel stay at the Palazzo/Venetian during the JCK 2019 jewelry show, and onetime WJA National President Ann S. Arnold donated several signed copies of the book she wrote with her father, “Together: A Journey for Survival,” about a childhood spent dodging the Nazis during World War II. (Also find it on Amazon.com.)
Of course, there are also plenty of jewels. Thanks to Metro chapter co-treasurer and jewelry designer Delphine Leymarie, we will have a sterling silver Etoile ring up for grabs. Member and designer Elena Kriegner is also donating a ring, but hers is called Spark and features a massive 20 carat citrine center stone. Eliko Pearl, a longtime dealer in the city and a member of the Cultured Pearl Association of America (of which this author serves as part-time executive director), is donating a pair of dark Tahitian keshi pearls, a pair of stunning pale natural-color blue akoya pearls, and an oversize baroque Tahitian pearl.
And there’s one final gem that’s of particular interest to me: a round black diamond from Instagem.net.
AsI enjoy the final days with my own black beauty of a dog, that black diamond reminds me of our Beast through its color, imperfections (it’s a rose cut), and even its size—0.9 carat and our Beasty weighs 95 pounds. I’ll buy a chance to win that stone next week after I find overnight accommodations for my furry baby who needs round-the-clock care. If I win it, I’ll set it into a necklace to keep him close; If I don’t win it, no matter—a lifetime of memories with that big, silly, and loveable dog will live on forever in my mind.
Dogs are a stinky, slobbery, sometimes destructive, and loveable gift to us all, and the joy, laughter, and peace that Beasty, once a stray from rural West Virginia, has given to our family is akin to winning a diamond a day for the rest of our lives. As much of a jewelry lover as I now am, I’d take Beast over a diamond a day every day for eternity.
I hope you will join us next week at the Yale Club to celebrate another year of blessings, even if my year end is a bit bittersweet.