Le Frisson De La Chasse
Or so the French say about romance. For them, the chase is often more exciting than the quarry. Pondering this turn of phrase, I am reminded of Gatsby, who is so obsessed with Daisy– the ethereal paramour of his mind– that he builds a monument for her. When she wanders back into his life, Gatsby seeks finally to possess her– the object of his desire– but is bitterly disappointed by her insistence that their idyllic past cannot be repeated.
Occasionally, certain celestial pieces haunt my desires. A pair of sapphire Van Cleef and Arpels seri mystérieux (mystery setting) earrings, the beau ideal of all romantic arrangements, has long captivated my attention. Perfected solely by Van Cleef and Arpels, this exquisite technique of individually placing gems on hidden gold rails requires the stonecutter and master jeweler to work side-by-side tirelessly so that, the precious metal underpinnings are completely invisible, creating the illusion that the gems are floating as if experiencing the buoyancy of young love.
Pursuing a pristine pair of the seri mystérieux earrings, I journeyed to-and-fro across continents for years before I encountered my coveted objet d’ art. The voluptuous curves of the bombé hoops and the Indian ocean blue eyes of the Ceylon Sapphires seduced me; the experience was like an intimate glance of lovers at a large party, an oeillade.
For nearly three decades these exquisite earrings eluded me…the Daisy to my Gatsby. And just like Daisy, they proved even more elusive. For, they weren’t in my life long before a customer chose them. Jewels, you see, are like beautiful ladies– they desire companions of their own choosing. And in the end, its not always about the jewels, but the pursuit of them. As the French say, “C’est la Chasse.”