Holy Grail: Tiffany’s Pearl Tassel Necklace

When I first saw my Holy Grail, I was 16 years old and speed-walking down Michigan Avenue through the heart of downtown Chicago. Although I was already quite late to tennis practice, I made the time to stop, as I always did, to inspect the window display at Tiffany and Co. Usually, I just stared at the glitz and the glitter within, appreciating the sparkle, but never really focusing on any one thing in particular. That time, however, my eyes were drawn to a black, velvet box to the right side of the window. Nestled within its plush folds lay some of the most beautiful jewelry I had ever seen. Polished onyx gleamed from icy, platinum beds. Delicate engravings snaked across silver lockets. Rows of small, circular diamonds winked in the sunlight. Most beautiful of all was the pearl necklace draped across the display. Its delicate, Art Deco accents were sophisticated, its solitary, pearl string gleamed, and its opalescent beads seemed to drip down the side of the velvet platform.


Staring at the necklace, I could see myself in the Jazz Age: hair bobbed, eyes lined, lips drawn in a perfect, red pout. I was Daisy Buchanan, Louise Brooks, and Josephine Baker. I was surrounded by all the opulence, the sophistication, and the luxury that the Roaring Twenties could offer. And I’ll never forget it.


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