Quartz and Cardboard. I had a handful of quartz in my hand. I had gathered them from my yard, mostly half buried in hard desert clay. I scrubbed them so clean with my toothbrush and toothpaste that I could see shades of pink in the crystal. I had a brilliant idea, the kind that only a child’s imagination could concoct. In our carport using the couple cardboard boxes I could see I would construct a Valentine’s Day Tunnel! A hundred feet long!!! The walls would be lined with red and white heart dollies and paper chains. Hanging from the ceiling of the cardboard boxes (that had grown exponentially in my imagination to fit a walking human) would be the STARS of the tunnel, my DAZZLING QUARTZ! They would light up the path!! People would come from miles around and marvel at their beauty!!! I, however, never finished building my tunnel and people never came but I can still feel the exhilaration and magic those stones produced in me that Valentine’s Season.
The feeling of that magic is often reignited when I see the craftmanship of our artists. We represent hundreds of talented artists but I can only focus on a few for this first newsletter: Gloria Sawin, John Hull and Dennis Hogan. All three live in Santa Fe. I single them out this month because of a fortuitous occurrence. Years ago, Dennis gave me one of his SIGNATURE BLOSSOMS! He has been making his blossoms for many decades. They are some of the most perfected and quality made blossoms you will EVER find! In fact, other artists often copy his style and have for years. His are meticulously made with Sterling Silver. Sometimes they feature fluted domes. Often he uses vintage coins: pennies, dimes, quarters, dollars, half dollars, centavos and pesos. They come in a variety of sizes: large, medium, small and mini! They hang from elegant silver chains and hardy leather cords. I wear mine often because, as you can see, his blossoms match EVERYTHING! They dress up both a t-shirt and a fancy dress. I am so blessed to own one!
Likewise, for Christmas this year Gloria gave me one of her and John’s NEWEST heart pendants. They create amazingly gorgeous and unique pendants from a plethora of stones John carves: lapis, turquoise, roserita, mother of pearl, sugilite, onyx etc.. view them all! But this pendant was different and extra amazing! It was a heart made out of a RED MILLEFIORI ITALIAN glass set in sterling silver . It was a brand new creation. “We’d never seen Millefiori glass this color and we bought up all of it we could! We made earrings out of it too!” Gloria excitedly told me. Gloria is always passionate about all her creations. As soon as I got home I clipped my new heart pendant to the chain with my classic Dennis Hogan blossom and ……..BAM!!!!!! A perfect combination!!! The two pendants belonged together!!!! I haven’t stopped showing the combination off since then!!!!
I began realizing how many of Gloria and John’s hearts (and other pendant shapes) fit perfectly with many of Dennis’s blossoms. “I’ll make a newsletter about this,” I thought “and call it ‘Let your Heart Blossom.’ Get it? Gloria’s Hearts! Dennis’s Blossoms! It’s absolutely perfect! Immediately that sounded cheesy to me and reminded me of a similar motto in a jewelry commercial that ran a few years ago. But the more I thought of it, the more I realized that it was exactly perfect. Who cares if it’s cheesy as long as it is TRUE? And it is true!!! In fact, this is what we need more of on Saint Valentine’s Day, letting our hearts blossom!!! Let them blossom to our own individual ideas and dreams! Let them blossom to receive the gifts of others! Let us form those connections inside ourselves and with others that will lighten our loads and fortify our purpose. Let us perpetuate the magic of Saint Valentine’s Day.
Magic, I think, is not a word typically associated with Valentine’s Day. But, is there anything more powerful, more glorious, more magical than the connections we make in our world? We all know the story of Saint Valentine, an imprisoned priest martyred for his faith but remembered for writing words of encouragement to fellow believers, in essence, connecting with his flock. Yes, we know that the holiday is now marked by cards and gifts. Often people decry it as cheesy or commercial. I recognize it, however, as a day we are encouraged to foster our connections with our own gifts, interior and exterior: inanimate and animate. I am deeply honored to know Gloria, John and Dennis and I am lucky to be able to wear their pieces together to remind me of how blessed I am to know such lovely people. At Ortega’s on the Plaza our entire purpose of jewelry trading revolves around the belief that the beauty of well-crafted jewelry transcends time and space and ultimately reflects eternal truths. During this Valentine season and beyond, Ortega’s hopes and wishes that you may experience many bouquets of blossoming magical hearts! Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!