One reason I like going to Sunstone and functions of its ilk is for the opportunity they provide to dress up. One complaint about Utah Mormons I’ve heard from people I grew up with is that the Utah Saints apparently tend to be far more casual about what actually constitutes “Sunday Best.” I can’t speak to that with any authority, as the only times I ever went to church in Utah were A) when I was at the MTC and B) my second mission president’s homecoming. But I do remember that we had to have NICE clothes for Sunday. It wasn’t enough for guys to wear white shirts and ties; they were expected to wear dress trousers if not suits. Nor was it enough for girls to wear skirts; we wore fancy dresses and heels.
Getting so spiffed up was both a gesture to the specialness of Sunday and a frivolous and vain indulgence in personal adornment, and I LOVED it. This might make me sound shallow, but one loss I genuinely mourned when I left the church was that I no longer had a reason to get really swanked up every week. Not only that, but there was no longer even a reason to buy certain kinds of dresses with the frequency I’d needed them when I had to wear fancy clothes every Sunday. It was a real bummer.
So when I go to Sunstone, I dress up--not exactly in clothes I’d wear to church--not quite that spiffy--but certainly something a little nicer than I’d wear on an average day. And one of the ways I make my outfits special is with jewelry.
I love jewelry, especially big, dramatic jewelry, something that becomes obvious to anyone who knows me at all. And one of the things I love about Sunstone is that it’s not only an opportunity to wear cool jewelry, but a chance to acquire it.
A few of my favorite pieces of jewelry were purchased while I was at Sunstone. You see the SLC Sheraton has two great jewelry stores in its lobby. One is Doug Peterson Jewelers, which is full of really cool pieces, most of them unique and hand-made on the premises. Several years ago I bought this beautiful, unusual, and very fun pendant from Mr. Peterson’s shop:
I love this piece. And I loved it all the more when, only a few dozen yards away, I found this bracelet in the hotel’s gift shop, which complimented it quite nicely:
Hotel gift shops aren’t always great places to shop: often over-priced, with limited selection of kitsch or crappy souvenirs. But I have found some great pieces at Glitz, the lobby shop that also sells M&Ms and toiletries. At my third Sunstone, I found these matching pieces, which I absolutely adore:
I wish I could remember what the stones are--I did find out when I bought them. The red stone is a jasper, I think; the sparkly one is... something sparkly.
Now, I have lots of jewelry, some of it old costume jewelry--I have and still wear a necklace I got when I was eight years old--but some of it contains actual gem stones, though almost all of them are semi-precious rather than precious. And having collected jewelry, with some seriousness, for over two decades, I’ve realized that I sometimes tend to buy similar pieces, and that there are sometimes holes in my collection.
For instance, I had over half a dozen pair of red earrings, but no red necklace. I had three green pendants and two green chokers, but no green earrings. So I set about correcting this problem.
It was easy to find green earrings, but not so easy to find a red necklace. I looked EVERYWHERE. And two years ago at Sunstone, I hoped the stores in the hotel could help me solve the problem.
Turns out there was nothing on hand for me to buy ready-made, so I commissioned a piece of jewelry from Doug Peterson, and this is what he made for me:
This stone is a ruby crystal, a genuine crystal but not one that occurred naturally--in other words, it was grown, which I guess technically makes it synthetic but that just sounds icky, and it's a real stone--"cultured" is a better term, perhaps, like pearls. I don't claim to be an expert--it my next life, I hope to be a geologist, but I forgot to study stones and minerals and so forth in this life. Still, from what I understand, it’s easy to grow crystals, and not that expensive. In fact, grown crystals are the only version of precious stones that someone like me is really able to afford. I love this stone; it looks like a tiny mountain range, all jagged and pointy, with depth and texture as well as color and shine.
Doug designed the setting, which I think shows the stone off beautifully. He was really pleasant and professional to work with, and I would recommend his services any day.
I managed not to buy anything this year, at either shop; given the state of the economy, I thought I shouldn’t splurge. But I hope to pick something up next year to add to my collection.