After the funeral on Saturday, the family headed to my grandfather’s house to eat together and talk for a while. Later that evening, my uncle, a gemcutter, brought all of the grandkids to the spare bedroom with a well-stuffed backpack. He then proceeded to empty from the backpack various containers of jewelry. We were instructed to take what we wanted, either to give away, save as a future gift, become an heirloom, or whatever else, and then the rest he would take back to his lab to identify. From the backpack he pulled box after box and bag after bag of rings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, and more, primarily ranging from gaudy to absolutely ridiculous. There were things in there that would make he flashiest rapper blush—my grandmother had… interesting… tastes. At one point my uncle remarked that it looked like someone emptied a pirate chest onto the bed; it was just completely covered in silver and gold and jewelry boxes at that point. We referred to the collection as “grandma’s bling.”
Fairly little of the jewelry had any real value; most of it was random things that were either purchased on QVC, or had been acquired over the course of her life. A large portion of it was so outlandish that I couldn’t imagine any sane person wanting to wear it. But some pieces were nice, so we all kept what we thought we might like to have as a keepsake. My aunt remarked that the five of us making fun of Grandma’s Bling for an hour or so was probably the most effective bonding that we’d ever had. I think she was right.