The one or two 'pieces' Florence had held long histories and were rarely brought out. I remember Seymour got Florence something at Bailey Banks and Biddle in Philadelphia during their honeymoon or their early days. It was talked about as if he had scaled Mt Everest, entering the bastions of the ruling class. And on a late birthday he surprised me with gold earrings, reminiscent of those worn by every Bubbie on the lower east side. Bought at Fortunoff's he told me. He had, once again, scaled Mt. Everest.
If I ventured in to any place other than Woolworth's for earrings, I went to places like Kathe's on First Avenue. Besides all the billions of ways a ring could be fashioned from a semi-precious stone and 14k gold or silver, there were multiple crucifixes and Star of Davids to choose from, not to mention tons of pins, each different from the next, and the perfect place to find the perfect gifts to celebrate those major turning points, like someone's first Timex watch for graduating 6th grade.
Other than the 'pieces' and their histories I've inherited, the things I have may not be precious but they are precious to me. They get broken or beat-up or tarnished. Clasps break on necklaces given by a favorite aunt or the one I gave the Mariner. Pretty woven rings get unwoven. Or you need to buy a chain, a simple chain (for a pendent that couldn't be worth more than a couple of bucks) without breaking the bank.
There is no mountain to scale walking into Kathe's. You just open the door and whatever you have in your hand to be fixed or cleaned is as precious as everything in the whole store put together.
Kathe's Jewelry Store on First Avenue
Sunday Memories: On The Road