I told my friend Clare I was going to Sri Lanka to explore; that by going “something would happen.” I was feeling drained, missing my softness, the juiciness I needed to nurture creative life. Traveling someplace new sometimes shakes things up providing fresh viewpoints.
Through a serendipitous series of events, I ended up “Chief Guest” at the Facets gem show during that first visit to Sri Lanka. My friends took me sari shopping so I could dress for the honor.
Shopping for saris rekindled my childhood joy in dressing like a gypsy in flamboyant shades. A long-limbed woman dressed in bright silks led me across the room to a raised platform, her jewelry tinkling like wind chimes moving to her gazelle gait. She began unraveling saris and draping them around me as my three male friends reclined on pillows drinking Ceylonese tea.
I picked an orange sari, and the earrings I happened to bring were citrines set in yellow gold. The citrines are cut in the “buff top” which reflects intriguingly next to the similarly colored gold. “Where does the gem end and the metal begin?” one wonders. Citrine earrings are a jewelry wardrobe basic; I was glad I had packed them.
As Chief Guest, I was a rock star in a gem venue. A conch shell trumpeted my arrival, escorted by a parade of musicians and dancers. I cut the ribbon opening the festivities, lit the lotus candle, and gave a short talk on the increasing economic influence of the female who purchased gemstone jewelry for herself.
I was guided through the exhibit, stopping for a photo in every exhibitor’s booth. The Colombo Daily News printed an article saying, “Despite running her own firm, Cynthia Renée, and with all her knowledge and experience in her glittering world, she little knows that she is the rightful owner of a priceless gem – her radiant thoughts which constantly send out rays of peace and serenity making her chronological years sit so very lightly on her charming face.”
My trip couldn’t have been better. This was the first of many life-changing experiences in Sri Lanka.