On Black Friday I ended the day with a vintage diamond and platinum vintage wristwatch, a ruby ring, a Louis Vuitton pouch and a diamond solitaire.  And I did not spend a dime. Instead, I cleaned out my closets and drawers and digging a little deeper than usual found buried treasures that I thought I had lost.

The diamond wristwatch took the cake. Until this post I could never speak to anyone but my husband David about the sadness of having lost a treasured piece of jewelry that belonged to my grandmother Rose (I called her Mimi). I only wore it once to a black tie event 10 years ago and then it disappeared.  I looked for it off and on but never found it and finally gave up.

On my wedding day I lamented about how I had wanted to wear it to remind me of Mimi.  She loved to bring out her jewelry box when I was a little girl and let me play with the different sparkly pieces. Most were vintage; a few were picked up during travels abroad.   I loved the watch most of all.  The few pieces she gave me when she was alive were stolen from me when I  moved to my first NYC apartment. It was the first time I felt truly violated and the last time I would not carry the proper amount of  home theft insurance.  I inherited the watch and a few other special pieces when she died in  December 1988, and I insured them and tucked them in a special jewelry bag she had given me and put the in a safe place.  And then the watch disappeared.  Poof!

David likes to say when I pull out my jewelry “It soothes you.” And it does. Each piece reminds me of the very special times and people in my life: my engagement and wedding, countless birthdays, graduations from high school and college, rewards for hard-earned success, adventures abroad, a grandmother who lit up my life and died too suddenly, a mother who shares her love of purple stones and fine jewelry with me on special occasions, a father now deceased who gave a me a beautiful bracelet and said “It’s our secret,” and a pink tourmaline ring with stones from both my mother and mother in-law that my jeweler made to commemorate the end of my breast cancer treatment. These are not just pieces of jewelry; they represent pieces of my life. When I pull them out, I pull up memories.

The discovery of the watch, the ring and the LV pouch was brilliant and symbolic. This time when I pulled out the worn jewelry bag and dug my hangs in to pull out the pieces wrapped in cloth, my fingers hit something hard on the cloth. Digging deeper with my index finger I found a rip and a hole on the interior side of the bag that I had never noticed. Reaching in, out came that watch with the ruby ring latched on to the strap. Buried treasures! I took a deep breath of relief, and the mantle of guilt I had worn for ten years thinking I had lost something so precious was lifted.

Inspired, I tackled my drawers. What would I find? When I took the time to pull out each drawer completely and peer back behind them, I found more stuff stuck between the shelves. Behind one was a small Louis Vuitton bag I though I had lost years ago. In another were gift cards and certificates and old photos.

This all may sound material when so many need so much more to live, and dollars are stretched.  But I took it as a sign that things do turn around for the better.  I considered it as a learning lesson that sometimes the best things you have may be buried under a lot of stuff you have accumulated that you no longer need or want. You need to take the time to purge yourself of clutter around you and inside of you.

As for the diamond solitaire, it was a surprise gift from a special person miles away who has helped me celebrate almost every milestone in my life since I was a teenager. This year he celebrates a turning point in his life.  It reminds me that buried treasures come in all shapes and sizes. They can be objects or objects of affection, pieces, places or people. Sometime you just need to take a little more time, clear away the clutter or dig a little deeper to find it.