A long time ago in a land far away...


There were several bewildering post-Gemological Institute of America jobs that preceded my tearful, shy and brazen walk up Fifth Avenue to Buccellati Jewelers. Unemployed, I pulled at the heavy gilded doors and offered my paper resume to a tidy gentleman who turned out to be the delightful Mr. Philipson. Not too long after that, I was hired.

Mr. Buccellati, or as we all called him, ' Mr. B’, was refined, charming, worldly, about sixty, highly intelligent, literate, savvy, and with unparalleled aesthetic sense and dry, dry humor. He was, simply, a phenomenon. His deep voice carried a soft and beautiful Italian lilt, and he would call, "Eeeemmmeeely".  Otherwise, his English was perfect, exquisite, each word of his huge vocabulary used precisely and concisely to say what he meant. Everyone adored Mr. B.

There I was. Every piece of jewelry that came in, or went out of, those massive doors, passed through my hands.

One day, returning from lunch, I found the place at sixes and sevens. The people that worked there were a high-strung crowd. One of our good customers had come in and no one could find her jewelry. This was my responsibility. Fortunately, the jewelry was right where it was supposed to be, with all of the salespeople fluttering around it.  

After all was resolved I was in the vault with Mr. B and he said, “Eeeemmmeeely, you were almost in trouble.”  I said, “ Mr B, it is the bane of my existence that I never get into trouble.”  There are two reasons that I can still remember my exact reply: first, I do not know where inside of me it came from; I could not recall ever using the word ‘bane’ before; I wasn’t certain what it meant, and second, Mr. B was a tough customer and it sent him into paroxysms of elegant upper class euphoria as he grasped my two hands in his, and of course also, because, my statement was not, technically, true.

A picture is worth a thousand words