August 3, 2010

Spending Spree

Yesterday I tweeted that I'd put myself on a Starbucks ban for a year in order to pay off the jewelry I bought during our cruise last week to Mexico. None of the pieces alone are very expensive, but even after dickering, which resulted in a pair of "free" earrings, it all added up. Although each piece was worth it, I liken the overall experience to binge eating. After years of deprivation and scaling back, I went a little crazy.

It appears as though, after all these years, my "thing" is watches. For my husband it's long been pens, and his collection is gorgeous. My watch collection consists of a few expensive watches given to me as a teenager - none of which I've actually worn in almost twenty years - along with a couple of inexpensive Swatch watches I bought in the middle-late 80s, and before this summer, an equally old Fossil watch now belonging to my daughter. will not give her the expensive ones, even if I don't wear them, no matter how much she begs. She can wait until I'm dead for those.

But, as always, I digress. After discovering the quite costly "Omega watch of my dreams" a couple of years ago, I attempted to locate a reasonably priced version. I found one - a man's watch - but the face, at 40mm, was too large for me, or so I thought, and the woman's version was not large enough. In the end I bought not one watch, but two. The blog entry I linked to earlier depicts the first watch I bought...which I later gifted to my daughter when I located the second watch (view on the right), which has been my actual day-to-day watch ever since, on deep discount at Kohl's. The craze for women wearing large-faced watches was just about to hit, so my buying a man's watch turned out to be a very good thing.

In addition to this diving watch, which glows in the dark and allows me to tell time in the middle of the night when I'm not sleeping, I have a tank-style watch from Talbot's that I've owned for many years. So my actual collection consisted of just two wearable watches. Now I've got three...the third I bought on sale on the cruise ship, and while the price I paid was less than what it sells for at Zappos, I didn't quite get the deal I thought. Still, it's lovely - a little blingy - and out of the ordinary, and you can see it to the left. Apparently I go for big watches, which is odd because my taste in jewelry otherwise tends toward the delicate.

I love tanzanite, and I love opals, and the combination of both is irresistible. My first pair of tanzanite earrings were bought on a cruise to Alaska with my extended family in 2003. At that time tanzanite offered a terrific opportunity for buying a gemstone that often looked like sapphire, but at a much lower price. Since there is only one tanzanite mine and it will be completely barren by 2020, prices have steadily risen over the years; it remains far less costly than sapphire, but it's no longer all that affordable, which is why I've moved on to iolite, a gorgeous stone, but one mined in fairly small pieces so that while the jewelry made from it is lovely, it's more lovely for the design than any single stone. My husband bought me a gorgeous, delicate necklace a few years ago with small, oval stones attached to strands of white gold chain, and I am consistently complimented on it as it rarely leaves my neck, but the possibility of finding tanzanite and opal together in Mexico really got my juices flowing, and when I hit the stores in Puerto Vallerta, I went into overload almost immediately.

But when Abraham at the seventh store didn't have quite what I was looking for in terms of color and cut, he sent me to his brother down the way, and even then, the brother needed to run between three stores to help me find just the right pieces. I'd gone in looking specifically for one ring, but ended up with a bracelet as well, then "free" mystic green topaz earrings, and on the way out the door, a second ring, so deeply discounted he practically threw it at me.



I realize that dickering is part of the game, and even though I'd knocked the price of that second ring down by two-thirds, I'm sure I could have spent even less, but in the end, it's the jewelry I'll have, and while I can tell the story of the free earrings and the ring for a third of the original price, those bragging rights aren't nearly as important. Yes, I would likely have benefitted from having my daughter with me to possibly curb some impulses, but she failed to show at the appointed time and place to leave the ship - even with a half-hour grace period - so what could I do? She turned up by the time I returned to the ship two hours later, and I went back out with her so she could buy some of her own trinkets.

Included in that shorter visit - she just doesn't have my stamina - was a trip to Tanzanite International, where I saw the most stunning 20 karat stone that one would presumably buy simply as an investment. She fell in love with orange and red sapphires, which I didn't know existed, but they are as costly as the deep blue ones I adore, so we moved on. By the time we got back onboard, I'd bought her an adorable hat and she'd picked up a pair of RayBans, which satisfied her "thing" - sunglasses - as well as some "pile it on the forearm until there's no room left" bracelets and a necklace.

Yesterday morning I stopped at Starbucks for my last hurrah before taking her into the doctor, and after two sips, she asked what I'd gotten. I told her it was a plain latte and before I could stop her, she took a sip, meaning that my last hurrah ended before it began. Protestations aside, my choice to have her throw it out when she decided not to drink it herself was a good one because she was diagnosed with tonsillitis an hour later.

Actually, though, I'll have two more hurrahs in about a week. At the airport at LAX before boarding our plane back home, I tried to buy a latte. They charged me for two, and ten minutes later, when they still could not credit my Starbucks card, it was time to get on the plane. Yesterday when I called Starbucks to get a credit, I was told they could not do that, but instead would send me two coupons. When they arrive I plan to selfishly hoarde them, and in the interim, my husband will teach me how to use our espresso machine with which he makes me delicious lattes. I figure in a year I'll have paid for my spending was worth it.

And now it's time for me to start writing the five reviews for books I read on my Kindle last week.



claudia b said...

I do love me some stones, that's for sure. Tanzanite is just gorgeous, I prefer it to Sapphires as they usually seem too "primary color" for my tastes.

Laurie Gold said...

When I first bought tanzanite, I'd never even heard of nephew, who was on the cruise with us, told me about it. It's now my favorite stone, but I'm really picky about the tone. It has to be deep blue and not too purple. If it's not dark enough or has too much amethyst, it's not for me.