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My third favorite color

July 12, 2011 by Nathan

I have three favorite colors: Red (when I was growing up); Black (for simple, elegant clothing); and Robin Egg Blue (for the illustrious gifts from Tiffany & Co.)

I have a small cache of Tiffany jewelry for men purchased over the years, so I was glad Austin got it’s own in The Domain. Mostly because I was instructed that to have it cleaned, it must be done at a Tiffany’s using their own solvents. My stuff could start to look pretty bad in between trips to Dallas and Houston.

I stopped in yesterday to have my sterling and 18-karat collapsible weave ring cleaned. It was looking dull and listless, and I kind of felt like wearing it this season. It always gets compliments (you know how I am about that), and on more than one occasion, offers to buy it right off my hand. People think I’ll just sell something like that? Like hell I will.

Walking in, you’re greeted first and foremost by the security guy. He’s the one in the suit and the headpiece that made me peer around for President Obama. I walked down “The Gauntlet” of staff members who are staring at you with a palpable mixture of hope (that you’ll buy something), anxiety (that you’ll steal something), and exasperation (that you’ll waste their time looking at everything, even if you’ve got an overdrawn checking account). It’s awkward, to say the least. I’m trained to let them know right off the bat I’m just in for a cleaning, so the security guy gladly walked me back to customer service, and the staff exhaled a little.

The woman at customer service was extremely friendly. She took the ring, verified it was one of theirs, and wrote up the order. She smiled the whole time and didn’t show a trace of the uptightness of her front-of-store counterparts. I was a little disappointed to find out Tiffany’s had changed their pricing from $5/ring and $10/bracelet for cleaning to a $15 across-the-board-fee, regardless of size. They kind of had me over a barrel on this one, but…such is life. She said it would be ready in 45 minutes.

When I returned, the mood was definitely more relaxed. Some customers were browsing, but again I informed the nearest saleswoman whose lightning fast gaze landed on me that I was headed back to pick up the ring. I wanted to make sure she was apprised of the situation. Jesus, working in a jewelry store must be like walking on eggshells. I’d be on edge too, I guess. Especially since someone actually rammed a car into the front of Louis Vuitton across the street when robbing the place.

I waited a moment while she finished up by reading a thick pamphlet on the Tiffany Engagement Ring. We really are all followers of the Cult of the Diamond. And as much as I firmly believe they are indeed a girl’s best friend, I don’t think they translate so well on men. Not even gay men. Maybe hip-hop moguls, but that’s it.

Once again, the woman was personable and welcoming. And the ring looks 1000% better when polished.

On the way out–for curiosity’s sake–I asked a salesman about wedding bands. I used the excuse that my brother was getting married (which he is) as a chance to get some schooling on what kind of bands for men and women Tiffany has to offer. I told him that up front, so he knew it wasn’t for me, but he gladly whipped out my favorites for me to inspect. We talked price and platinum density, diamonds and decadence, and he really seemed to know his way around the jewelry. It was excellent customer service, and a fun, informative mini-lesson for me.

I skipped the men’s sterling jewelry. Out of sight, out of mind. Unless it’s Christmas, of course.

Everyone loves a little something from Tiffany. Looking at all the glitter and glitz, I was reminded that my parents thank God every day I was born a boy. Even still, I find ways to indulge my insatiable appetite for conspicuous consumption. But if I were a girl, they said there’s no doubt they’d be broke.

And looking around Tiffany & Co.–they’re absolutely right.


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