My diamond collection

Originally posted in 2010, before I lost my complete blog.

I will be re-posting some old posts so I can get my memories on-line again, before they are gone forever. Some of you may remember them, but I hope you will enjoy reading them again.

I raked my hand through the glittering gems in the tin.  They were all different colours, shapes and sizes. I would hold them up to the light, one at a time, and see the different colours sparkle in the light.  This was my diamond collection.  It had taken me a long time to collect them all. In amongst the gems were lots of beads too. Red, blue, yellow, all different colours.  I loved my diamond collection. Of course they were only coloured glass really, but to me they were diamonds.

The day came when I was asked to give them up.  All of them.

It was the 1950’s and dad worked as an interior decorator.  He didn’t decorate just any interiors, but the interiors of the very wealthy.  He worked for a firm that dealt with all the rich and famous people’s decorating requirements.  Because of this, he knew all of the latest decorating trends, before they hit the average houses. Some never did because of the huge cost involved.

“OK girls, I’m going to do something very special today, but I’m going to need your help.  I will need all of your diamonds.  Would you let me use them for this special thing I’m building?”

My three sisters also had diamond collections and we wondered why dad would want four tins of diamonds and beads, but we eagerly rushed to get our tins.

“Do you mind me using these?” dad said to each of us as we handed him our prize collection of dazzling gems.  We all said we wanted him to have them.  We had no idea what he was going to do with them, but the fact that it would help him was all that mattered to us girls.

Later that day, he called us all upstairs into the large front room to see the ‘special’ thing that he had built.

Along one wall was a large, concrete fire surround, and there they were. Our diamonds in all their glory. Embedded forever in the concrete.

We slowly walked the length of the surround, looking for our very own diamonds and would squeal with delight when we spied one of our favourites, especially if it was in a prominent position, right at the front. We didn’t mind, one bit that our diamond tins were now empty. We’d soon fill them again.

I know this sounds gross now, but back in the fifties it would have been the envy of many, and was obviously the fore-runner of the large stone fire surrounds of the sixties.

I’ve searched for a photo that shows the fire surround, but unfortunately I don’t seem to have one. You’ll just have to imagine it.

  • I like and collect small colorful bead, “gems”, marbles and things. I like my Treasures

  • Ron

    Babs, what a fabulously charming story!

    “… and would squeal with delight when we spied one of our favourites, especially if it was in a prominent position, right at the front. We didn’t mind, one bit that our diamond tins were now empty. We’d soon fill them again.”

    OMG…I love that!

    And I don’t think I knew that your father was in interior decorator. How awesome it that!

    Thanks for sharing this story, my friend. Enjoyed!

    X to you and Mo!

    • He started out in interior decorating and eventually become a restoration artist, working on the walls, ceilings and murals in various castles around the UK.

      • Ron

        Wow! That is so cool, Babs!


  • I had a ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ nugget collection – I did not lose mine to such a noble end as you lost your ‘diamonds’…

    • I believe the surround was knocked out by my eldest sister’s husband, who swapped houses with my parents, so not such a noble end after all 🙂

  • Comedy Plus

    I remember this post from then. Yes I do. It’s still delightful to read today as it was back then.

    Have a fabulous day., 🙂

    • Thanks Sandee. I’m trying to slowly get them all back on my blog 🙂

  • ReformingGeek

    I bet that was gorgeous.

    I made a concrete stepping stone with bits of colored glass. Does that count? 🙂

    • Oh, yes! That definitely counts. I bet it was very pretty 🙂

  • It sounds like it was beautiful. What fun to have your ‘diamonds’ forever embedded in your family’s home. Such a well written story.

    • We loved it, but don’t know how many years it lasted.

  • I loved that story, Babs. I loved what your dad did for his little girls and that you and your sisters enthusiastically gave your treasured collections to him for the “special thing” he wanted to do. Really charming story as Ron said.

    • We didn’t have much (just after WW2), but every little thing was made to be special for us, even when it wasn’t. We never felt like we went without, though I know now that we did.

  • What a lovely story. I can definitely imagine how pretty the fireplace surround must have looked. I find that pretty fascinating about your dad designing for the wealthy. That had to of been interesting.

    You and your sisters must have been very generous to not quibble about giving up your treasures. That is really sweet.

    • Dad taught me a lot about interior decorating. He also taught me how to paint a wall to look like marble or wood grain. A lot of ‘marble’ columns in London were actually painted by my dad to look like marble. In fact I had a marble (painted by dad) fire surround once. Very grand 🙂
      They were different times. Kids didn’t have the same need for material things, like they do today. We knew we could collect more in time and helping dad to build his special surprise was more important to us.

      • Wanting to help your dad, that just shows that you were a really sweet child. You still seem sweet as a grown up.

        • Ha ha! Some might not agree 😉

          • That could be but then some people aren’t very bright.

  • What a wonderful story, Babs. I can well imagine the glittering concrete your dad built and I can feel you and your sisters’ pride upon seeing it. I’d bet my last dime that your dad was feeling very proud of his own “diamonds” as well. 🙂

    • Do you reckon? I hadn’t thought of that, but maybe he was a bit proud of his little girls at that point.

  • I wish you had a picture to share because I’m sure my imagination can’t possibly match the real thing. Great story!! 🙂

    • A photo wouldn’t have shown much detail, back then either, but at least it would have sown the actual fire surround, to keep the memory alive 🙂

  • Oh Babs! This is such a wonderful and heartwarming story!!!

  • How wonderful you girls cheerfully donated your diamonds to a cause unknown to you at the time. And how much more wonderful to see your treasures displayed in your father’s creation. I am imagining how beautiful it must have been. Indeed, it is too bad you don’t have a photo, but then you never know what might turn up. I had a friend recently give me a picture of my father from back in 1962 when he was on a fishing trip.

    • Well, never say never, but I have looked through all the old photos and can’t find one showing it.

  • OH NO NOW I WANT TO SEE IT! How wonderful! What an amazing father! That sounds like something I would absolutely love TODAY in my home!!! What a special beautiful memory!

    • I think you would have loved it. Sorry to tease you all with no photo. I really thought we would have at least one photo showing it, but no.