I drove to Memphis for the day and roamed estate sales and auctions. The best estate sale of the day was a few blocks from the Brooks.
I'll skip to the jewelry because I'm bursting to confess my foolishness. The selection ranged from the mundane to the delicious. There were a number of antique Victorian brooches and bracelets. Toward the front of the case there was a large oval enamel brooch in easter colors ($200). Screaming my name was a bracelt of frosted amethyst glass panels bordered in brass with a warm patina. There were emeralds and sapphires, gold and silver, but I couldn't seem to spring for the pieces I knew were well worth their asking price. I was panicking. I stared at the pieces waiting like an idiot for something to happen and pretending to mull over my decisions (I had already set aside a few substandard rings ).
Fifteen or twenty minutes later- it's all a sad blur now- I took a break and walked through the rest of the house. It's amazing how much stuff people can accumulate in their lifetime. The short list: crystal glasses, silver service, rare books, vintage clothing, headboards, figurines, paintings. Scores of strangers tore through this family's home. The tour didn't make me feel any better.
Back at the jewelry one guy snagged an amazing chess set made of approximately five inch ebony and ivory pieces. Ahh that sick feeling. What's wrong with me? Why am I afraid? I know exactly what I'm looking at. The one that got away is burned into my brain (an absolutely exquisite snake brooch-asking $200, value~$1100).
The picture is for your amusement. Maybe it's a little masochistic, too? This is a pic I found that's exactly like the piece I didn't buy-right down to the enamel colors. I did gather up the courage to purchase a really nice carved natural coral pendant (pic to follow). What can I say? It's the cost of learning.