To many women, jewels are not mere baubles, but tangible reminders of our loved ones.
Amy Ephron's "Loose Diamonds and other things I've lost (and found) along the Way" is a warm and witty collection of a modern woman's struggles growing up with an alcoholic mother and the challenges of dating, marrying and divorcing spouses and child rearing in blended families. (William Morrow Publishers, 166 pages)
The trauma of having her jewels stolen in a home robbery lead her to reexamine her life and pen this memoir. The jewels were not mere trinkets, but as she puts it " jewelry as memory, jewelry as a tangible way to hold on to someone."
Her earliest introduction to high style (apart from her mother who insisted that every condiment be served in a proper silver serving dish) was from The Birdman, an eccentric neighbor who owned an impressive collection of tropical birds and lived in an exquisite home which seemed almost magical to the young Ephron.
Years later, she learned her neighbor was the renowned architect, Stiles Oliver Clements.
An acquaintance with a rather pathetic Southern mistress named Honey instilled in her this pearl of wisdom "that single women who buy champagne by the case rarely end well."
Another lost soul she encountered along the way was a Manson girl, Squeaky Fromme. Ephron writes a rather chilling account of meeting her at the infamous Spahn Ranch.
Ephron's work is filled with memories, both poignant and funny, of relationships that have failed and others that persist. The writing may be a bit bi-coastal for the Midwestern reader who simply cannot afford to share her love affair with Saks.
And yet, she is a kindred spirit to any woman who has had a relationship gone sour, and her tips for surviving a divorce are priceless.
Ephron shines when writes of her most precious gems which cannot be measured in carats - her children - and her belief that "all children are love stories."