Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Circle of Life: On the Bird's Wing...

My  grandmother, a beautiful and quiet woman of resolute will and refined grace, would wait every morning by her kitchen window for Spencer. And every morning he came. If, perchance, he were late, she would move through the kitchen to the pantry and out the garage to the front yard, and she would call in her sweet Southern drawl "Spennnnccerrr..." only to be followed by a perfect bird's whistling. Something I could never do. Within minutes the bird would answer back, and all would be well.

For years this went on. I do not remember how Spencer got his name, nor do I remember exactly what Spencer was. A sparrow, warbler, blue bird? He was one of the many joys of her life -- a life smoothed on the edges with constancy, delighted in by discovery, and brightened by beauty. She loved her roses, freshly cut from her own garden. She lived by her pink lipstick. And graced herself with gifted jewelry, never garishly, which was almost always lovingly, passed on, doled out in secret trysts in the hallway.

Grandmother Hazel has flown. And we all know she is flying high. But her legacy circles around us in a ring of love, a circle of life. In my own discovery, I found this beautiful, vintage gold and diamond circle brooch with birds playfully in flight by the famed Italian jewelry designer Duke Fulco di Verdura, he himself deeply influenced by his own grandmother growing up in Sicily. I know Miss Hazel would wear it oh so proudly.

Designed as three birds in flight forming a circle, with beautifully chased gold wings, diamond-set heads and tails, further accented with ruby eyes, signed VERDURA, mounted in 14kt gold, double pin clip back with safety catch, circa 1953. Accompanied by original vintage turquoise Verdura cloth case stamped 712 Fifth Avenue. Courtesy of Neil Marrs.