Everyone is familiar with lighthouses that dot the coast and offshore islands. Fewer people are aware of another institution of safety and security – The United States Life-Saving Service, established to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers. It began in 1848 and ultimately merged to form The United States Coast Guard in 1915.
In addition to the Lighthouse positioned high above the ocean, the life-saving stations were large barn-like buildings located close to the to the beach and tides. When trouble would arise and lives were imperiled the barn doors would open, men would scramble, and a dory would be quickly rolled to shore. Men manned these stations 24/7 just like firemen man fire stations, ready for service and rescue.
Nancy’s Sincere Love of Flowers
I’ve known Nancy for 21 years. I’ve brought her flowers at least half the weekends we get together, and bouquets of wild flowers every weekend in the summer from the fields around our house. I give flowers because she loves them and for the joy I feel watching her response. When she gets close to flowers it’s like she’s a bumblebee just tumbling into the nectar. She understands something deeper about flowers than anyone I’ve ever known.
The best flower gift I ever gave was last summer. I revived an old flower garden behind a curved stone wall tucked into a hill, with 50 feet of rich brown earth tilled, turned, sifted, and fertilized. Then Nancy and I took the truck to the garden center and I bought her one of everything, or at least it felt that way. The colors were a riot, the shapes and forms a delight. I got pictures of Nancy leaning over the truck railing, gazing at her treasures to come home. I watched Nancy cradling flowers, Nancy sniffing flowers, and Nancy obviously enthralled, I watched her as we gathered, watched her as we loaded the truck, and watched as we pulled into the yard. I’ve seen Nancy at the Boston Flower Show…this was better. This was a kid at Christmas with doors suddenly opened to FAO Schwarz.
Rainbow, Divisible by Two
Marty said, “I have a natural tendency to follow the true progression of rainbow colors in their proper order. I think of spectral colors on a wheel rather than laid out on a straight line. On my color wheel for the Lighthouse Lifesaver pieces I’ve cut the rainbow in half, dividing between red and purple. What I find is the ordinary ROYGBV the eye can look, observe and dismiss in seconds. In my rainbow center out, the eye searches, the colors find something that pull you in deeper, the seconds tick by, you can’t look away. You recognize that something is familiar yet…Even my jeweler friend who works with gems and color everyday hadn’t grasped this simple division. I had to explain it.”
It’s Me Again – The Jeweler
“Look closely. There’s a dynamic tension between the red and purple, placing them next to one another raises questions. The mind pauses, looks a little longer. You feel something echoing in the color chamber of your heart. Nature shuffling color cards will always restack them in a ROYGBV order. Marty has split the deck and put red next to violet with their respective adjacent colors trailing out. I’ve never seen this color combination deliberately used before. It feels natural. It works. Cross staff loves it” – R.H.P. The Jeweler
Hand Painted Xylophone
I once bought a handmade wooden hand-painted xylophone at a fabulous toy shop in Cincinnati. It played a nice tune. My son at the time was only one. Yes it was too early, I never expected to return to Cincinnati though. I had to have it. What I remember the most about this xylophone was how bright, how pure and true the colors were, and how when the colors were played the sound seemed so perfect.
100 Years and Going Strong
Lifesavers have been around for over 100 years, the multi-colored ones in a single roll since 1935. I’ve known about them for 64 years that I can remember. The multi-colored Lifesaver roll just makes people happy. I interviewed a bunch of adults. They all said remarkably similar things. They liked the multi-colored Lifesaver roll the best – cherry was their favorite. Except one said the yellow pineapple was his favorite.
I Could Always Count on My Red Headed Grandmother
Every Christmas my red headed grandmother would give us three kids a book with a hinge that opened to two opposing sets of five rolls of Lifesavers. Butterscotch, Wint-O-Green, Peppermint, Five Flavors multi-colored, all Cherry. For value and variety we all liked the Five Flavors red, orange, pale yellow, green, purple. The agreed upon favorite was red cherry.
Here is a 60 year old mystery. There was a roll of just cherry. We liked cherry best, but valued the multicolored roll the most. This somehow speaks to not only flavor preference, but how we respond to color. A field of one color of flowers can be spectacular, a field or garden with dozens of colors enters into a deep space of delight.
There’s Always Another Story
I’ve known Marty for 30 years. I think of him like he’s one of my kids. Marty is bright, sharp, always thinking. Marty is a world class gem cutter. One of the things Marty will be remembered for are his towers of incredible natural gem colors. Not all of us will get to be remembered in an historical way. Marty is one of those people. Marty cuts the gems, then fashions a top in gold and polishes the top simultaneously with the gems he is cutting. The result, gem cutter becomes both cutter and jeweler.
Marty – Gem Cutter Magician
Marty has done many amazing gem cutting projects for us over the years. Among my favorites are his towers of color. Vertical slim cones of pure natural gem colors cut and polished as united wholes.
Marty comes to design creation with the most pure design aesthetic of any jewelry craftsman I know. He is gem cutter and jeweler, cutting a gem with the gold work already done.
No setting required. Easy. Pure. Simple. Each piece is handmade, hand cut, all natural. We usually have one or two of the Lighthouse Life Saver pieces in stock. If we’re ever out, it’s usually 2-3 weeks for Marty to make another one.
In the grand scheme of things, someday Marty’s gem towers will be collectibles. The Antique Jewelry Road Show person will say to your great-great-granddaughter, “Do you realize what you have here?”
Spring into Summer – The Gem Colors We Use
Color Progression of Gems:
Spring Green Peridot
Sky Blue Topaz
Grape Purple Amethyst
Hot Chili Pepper Citrine
Honey Gold Madeira Citrine
Mellow Yellow August Sun Citrine
Not a rainbow progression, but a spring into summer flow of colors.
“The world has spoken. I’ve made several hundred of these natural gem towers. People keep coming back and asking for more. I’ve used various gems according to what nature and the world provides. I too love what light and color and spectral progression gives to me as a gem cutter. I will be satisfied with this Lighthouse Lover’s Lifesaver as my magnum opus.” – Marty
Better than Coffee
Carrie is the head of our outgoing mail department and also works with Cross customers in our brick and mortar retail store. Carrie is also part of our Facebook and Instagram team – she is also an artist. Carrie has a similar piece to the Lighthouse Lover’s Lifesaver Necklace made by Marty.
This is what Carrie said: “It represents my personality. I like bright spectrum colors. The piece, for me, has an aura that makes me feel good, makes me feel strong, makes me feel powerful. It’s like wearing a garden of flowers. It reminds me of the book The Rainbow Goblins. And this piece is powerful. It’s better than coffee.” She smiled, brightened, and I asked her about coffee – she said “It just is, it’s better than coffee.” She said “When I get dressed in the morning I’ll consider several necklaces. To be fair I’ll even try others on. Most often I come back to my Lighthouse Lover’s Lifesaver Necklace.”
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Any purchases you make in January or February 2021 we are extending our Cross return date to the first day of spring, March 20, 2021, or 30 days beyond your purchase date, whichever is longer.