The Amethyst Ring

Decades ago, during my hippie days, I hitchhiked around Europe with two girlfriends, one from England, one from Scotland.  We were seeing Europe on the Poverty Plan, but we were young and adventurous and we were not about to let a shortage of money stop us from doing the things we wanted to do.  We had many adventures and experiences, and this is the story of one of them.

In Portugal, we visited Lisbon.  I was enchanted with its mosaic sidewalks, and followed one pattern to a fascinating staircase/elevator sort of construction, designed by the same Eiffel who designed the Tower in Paris.  Near to this staircase was a jewellery store which seemed to specialise in antique jewellery.  In the window, I spotted a magnificent amethyst ring.

Now, I have always loved jewellery.  And here was this wonderful old ring.  Suddenly, I was saddened by my shortage of money and the simplicity-born-of-necessity of my life.  I wanted this ring.  I wanted it for its beauty, not its value.  But I could not have it, and I regretted this on a deep level I could not even explain to myself.

The memory of the amethyst ring never left me.  Twenty years later, I came back to Lisbon on another visit.  Near the famous staircase, I unexpectedly came upon another (the same???) jewellery store, and there in the window was an elaborate amethyst ring.  I could probably have bought it, but I did not enter the store.  I just fondly remembered my first visit.  I wrote a story called The Amethyst Ring, and actually got it published. It was about a young hippie girl with no money who spotted this beautiful thing in a window, and a great longing was aroused in her to possess this thing of beauty. and how distressed she was that her chosen lifestyle would never allow her access to such things.  Then, twenty years later, having become wealthy and successful, inspired by her memory of the ring, she realised that amethysts are not really all that unattainably expensive, and she could buy a dozen rings if she wished.  So she bought a yacht, called it the "Amethyst Ring"  and happily sailed it off into the blue for more adventures.   The short story actually got published and I got a little money for it.  I thought that this had put a nice ending onto my experience for me.

Well, I wasn't wealthy or successful, but the fact that I wrote the story shows that I still thought about that ring, and how I felt when I couldn't have it, and through the story invented a way to put an end to the longing.

Now, another score of years have passed, and my values have evolved yet again.  Now, I am thinking of visiting Portugal and Lisbon one more time (third time lucky?).  If, near that famous staircase, I once again come across a jewellery story with an antique amethyst ring in the window,  I'M BUYING IT!


61-65, F
Mar 15, 2009