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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rock of ages....

Lady Bracknell was yesterday apprised of the astonishing (to her, at least) fact that Young Master Marmite was entirely ignorant of the properties (and, more specifically, the colour) of malachite*. Further probing revealed that this woeful dearth of knowledge is not restricted to malachite, but extends to the full range of semi-precious stones.

(Admittedly, Master Marmite is able to recognise amber when he sees it. Although her ladyship is unsure whether he has always been able to identify amber, or whether his familiarity with it stems from her own fondness for wearing jewellery fashioned from that stone-which-is-not-really-a-stone-at-all-but-which-is-in-fact-fossilised-tree-resin.)

Had she thought about the matter at all, Lady Bracknell would have assumed that an interest in stones was moderately universal. But it seems that she would have been mistaken. When tasked with classifying the stones his garden, Master Marmite replied that they were,

"Just stony stones. Made of stone."

This would seem to confirm Lady Bracknell's long-held suspicion that her younger self was not like other children. When other young gels were interested in plastic dolls clothed primarily in a particularly migraine-inducing shade of violent pink, the young Lady Bracknell yearned for a rock tumbler. These devices are costly, however, so her ladyship's esteemed parents did not purchase one for her.

In retrospect, this was probably a good thing. Although the chips of rock produced by a tumbling machine are undeniably beautiful in themselves, the fashion at the time was to glue them onto quite unspeakably ugly mounts fashioned from that most unattractive of metals, stainless steel. Lady Bracknell notes that, although many sartorial horrors from the decade which style forgot have recently been reintroduced (a case in point being the never-less-than-hideous poncho), we have at least been spared the revival of stainless steel pendants. Stainless steel now seems to be largely confined to the production of cutlery, for which relief much thanks.

But Lady Bracknell, even in her salad days, was tenacious in her interests. Her fascination with semi-precious stones was not dimmed merely because she did not have the means to polish fragments of them herself. Why, even their very names have a beauty all their own, viz: rhodocrisite; aventurine; sodalite; lace agate; howlite; snowflake obsidian; chalcedony; haematite; azurite; chrysoprase; and the exotic lapiz lazuli.

Not only are all these stones, and many others, extremely beautiful, they also have the benefit of being very much cheaper than their precious cousins (emeralds, rubies, sapphires &c) . Even when they are made up into bold and dramatic items of adornment, they therefore remain within the reach of even a fairly modest purse. Why wear a miniscule chip of diamond when you can wear a glossy and sumptuous necklace of less costly stones?

* Just in case other readers are as non-plussed as was Master Marmite by Lady Bracknell's references to malachite, here is a photograph of a rather fine cabochon.


Blogger The Goldfish said...

Malachite is one of my favourite stones. I imagine that her ladyship may be as sceptical as I am about the healing properties of semi-precious stones or crystals. However, one of my most lazy activities, when I am useful for all else, is to string beads together and give them as necklaces and bracelets to people as presents purporting to offer them relief from their various ailments.

The last one I made was a combination of malachite, aventurine and jade (the Chinese green variety) for morning sickness. It strikes me that, as one might meditate on a rosary, contemplation on some smooth colourful beads might have a calming effect at the every least. So I am not a total fraud.

I live along the mere seven miles of coastline abundant in jet, which as her Ladyship undoubtedly knows, comes from fossilised monkey-puzzle trees and can be purchased as Victorian style jewellery here.

10:12 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell consciously refrained from mentioning jet in the full knowledge that the esteemed Goldfish is the jet expert par excellence and would be able to comment on the substance in an informed manner. :-)

10:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Lady Bracknell is aware of the excellent emporium to be found at www.kernowcraft.com? She may feast her eyes on a lpositive plethora of semiprecious stones of all types and shapes, and a selection of precious metals!

PS this is a genuine recommendation, not a spam.

10:54 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

It is some years since Lady Bracknell last leafed through a Kernowcraft catalogue.

She is much obliged to the anonymous contributor for bringing to her attention the fact that said catalogue is now available online.

11:47 am  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

I have no doubt that these stones are very beautiful and I can understand their appeal it's just at Marmiteboys school we did more mundane subjects like sums and woodwork. Geology never passed my ken.

I did once have a rather nice ring with a carnelian stone in it though.

7:55 am  
Blogger Melbamae said...

I am happy to report the divine Lady Bracknell is not alone in her love of semi-precious stones. Malachite and lapis luzuli are favorites of mine as well. I, quite frankly, never understood girls that were into dolls. I was always searching for gorgeous rocks, fossils and the like. When I am still bitter at the memory of my first grade teacher taking a most beautiful egg shaped multi coloured stone away from me and never returning it.

Might I suggest you visit this site: http://www.mamasminerals.com/page/MM/CTGY/RAMMIN
Mr. Melbamae and I used to visit there regularly when living in the American southwest. I always thought they had excellent quality and reasonable prices.

5:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This video is really about autism, but it uses different kinds of stones as a metaphor. And it's cool:



8:33 pm  

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