?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.


I visited The Natural Gem, my favorite jewelry store, this morning to ask about getting some rings sized.  Nancy and Melissa were there; but the golden retrievers, Logan and Newman, weren’t. Chuck wasn’t there either. Could he be walking them?

I didn’t ask, because something felt amiss.  Got the answer to my ring question and moved on to the next errand.  But when I returned home, I Googled® Chuck’s full name.  That’s when I learned the owner of The Natural Gem had passed away in January.

Our relationship started about eight years ago when I brought a yellow diamond to him for an appraisal. I already had a jeweler I fancied, but when I saw the various gems and settings in his shop I was hooked. Most of them were Chuck’s own creations; and since he and I liked the same kind of jewelry – delicate settings, often solitaires, unusual stones, none synthetic — I became a frequent customer.

How glad I am now that I own an African garnet Chuck cut from a rough piece of gemstone for me. And a pink sapphire ring.  And an imperial topaz. Dangly ruby earrings. The spinel pendant and the tourmalines.

Most of what I know about natural gemstones I learned from Chuck Brinkman, because with each purchase he shared his extensive knowledge of them.  Even when I purchased an item elsewhere – like the rings I bought last fall on a cruise – he could tell me more about the stones and their origins, their unique qualities and rareness, than the original salesperson. He made each purchase of mine more special.

I don’t think buying jewelry will hold as much interest anymore.

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