Never Waste the Jewels on a Man
I love jewelry. Any friend of mine and my husband know I can’t pass a jewelry store without a peek. I almost always find something I like. Over the years I’ve noticed my husband picks up speed if he even catches a glimpse of a jewelry store sign. His speed is a good indication that I need to linger. I throw on my shoe brakes and fog up the glass. They do know how to lure me in. I can’t help it; I have a weakness. To tell the truth I have lots of weaknesses, but the main one is jewelry.
When I got to Istanbul, Turkey, I headed straight to Topkapi Palace to view the Sultan’s Treasury. Umm Yum. I can tell you how to go straight to the real stuff. Don’t get me wrong. Everything in the palace is worth seeing and it takes a good day to see it all, especially if you have difficulty leaving the Sultan’s jewels. But once inside the huge entrance go through the grassy park and Byzantine pavilion, then head straight to the far right hand corner of the first courtyard. You will not be disappointed.
I was going to try to act as if I see this kind of stuff in my own house or something equally stupid. You know, kind of like I wasn’t completely overwhelmed. But by the time I got inside, two feet from the doorway, I was oohing and ahhing while my eyeballs were almost on fire from the brilliance of all these gems. Holy hoohka! And it isn’t just the size of these jewels, the craftsmanship dazzles.
Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and turquoise are extensively mounted in all kinds of exquisite items. A small box with a tiny gold latch is carved from a single emerald. Bowls, jars, necklaces, rings, belts, dishes, glasses, and clothing are ornamented with bushel basket loads of gems. Even though these were the Sultan’s jewels, it makes you want to cry to see all this wasted on a man.
Unfortunately the three rooms of the Sultan’s Treasury are dark as pits. Lights shine on separate items in display cases. Good photography is a bit difficult. But, girl, if my little camera could have done justice to the world’s fifth largest diamond, you’d hop the first plane to Istanbul. This eighty-six carat tear drop shaped diamond is surrounded by two rows of many brilliant cut smaller diamonds about five to ten carats each. I’m not kidding: you have to see to believe.
This may be an urban legend, but the story goes that in the 17th century a scrap dealer found the diamond in a trash heap and sold it for three spoons to a spoonmaker; thus it’s called the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. This is worth some high caliber oohing and swooning. First mounted as a ring, it’s set as a brooch now so that it can be pinned to a crown. Several stories are in circulation about this diamond, but it amazes no matter which story one chooses to believe.
I saw candlesticks as tall as I am totally encrusted with diamonds. Wine glasses with stems completely covered in diamonds. These aren’t tiny chips either. Any one gem would please a betrothed lady.
The most famous piece, of course, is the Topkapi dagger. Three huge emeralds are mounted in the hilt with a couple of mugs of diamonds set in probably a twenty-two to twenty-four karat gold sheath. First of all, I don’t care for daggers. I’d immediately rip out the jewels and have them mounted in some feminine bling. What woman needs a dagger, for heaven’s sake. I bet if I wore this bling in public, a good old kitchen knife would serve just as well to put the shinny to a thief.
Now let me tell you how Muslim women’s minds have been molded for their misplaced positions in society. While I was in shock over the jewels, several women in dark shrouds and ugly headscarves were about to pass out over some of Mohammed’s hairs.
I’ve seen more restraint in groupies at rock concerts. They ahhed. They oohed. They gasped. They cried. They swooned. I thought: don’t fall on me. I’ll let you go straight to the ground. Acting this way over a few old hairs! What’s this religion done for society? And what did Mohammed ever do for you? Subjugated you to a life beyond anything reasonable. Your husband values his goat more than he values you. This kind of behavior disgusts me.
But not enough to force me to leave before I had soaked up every bejeweled image I could.
Tip: A separate fee is charged to tour theSultan’s harem.