In early October 2019, Karen and I drove to Grapevine, Texas for a conference.
As one of the organizers, I got to do advance work in Grapevine and see some of the local sites in addition to the hotels. One place that the ladies out there — or the woman in your life, if you’re a guy reading this — might like to visit is the Gaylord Texan Resort and Carolyn Pollack Jewelry. I mean, with all this sheltering-in-place, and with many parts of Texas opening up, this would be a great time for a road trip and to treat yourself or your true love.
Before we talk about products which, admittedly, I’m going to describe from a guy’s standpoint, what I noticed was the personal touch of the company.
Carolyn Pollack is partnering with Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico to help feed families affected by Covid-19. They are donating 10% of proceeds to the food bank, the largest in the state. (As a nonprofit professional by training, I can attest that this is an unusually high percentage; most companies give between 1% and 5%.) This effort is being conducted in the month of May, so act quickly. But even if you miss this initiative, buying something for your wife, daughter, sister or niece for a special occasion — or just because you want her to feel valued after we’ve all been cooped up for a couple months — might be just the right touch.
“Happy Mother’s Day”
In her blog, Carolyn Pollack includes a Mother’s Day message.
I learned that her mother’s name is Linnea which, incidentally, was the name of the mother of my high school girlfriend, the first girl I ever loved. I don’t know if companies normally have blogs, or whether they’re so personal and relatable, or whether they are so transparent as this one is, but it’s refreshing.
If there’s a mother in your life, a daughter in your life who’s a mom, or simply a mother out there you want to say thank-you to, consider getting her that post-Mother’s Day gift.
Silver and Gemstones
Looking over Carolyn Pollack’s website, I noticed a lot of silver and a lot of gemstones. (See? This is where you get the know-it-all-not guy perspective. The same perspective of the one who wanted the extra slice of cherry pie last night. Not very deep, but definitely impressed, and visual.)
Karen used to make jewelry, in addition to her art, which she now sells through Slate Gray Gallery here in Kerrville, among other
places. So I learned a little about the jewelry making process — making a wax mold and so forth — and I definitely learned her style in both design and metals. (She’s more of a silver than white gold lady, and she likes mixed metals. In fact, I commissioned my oldest son, also a very artistic person, to make a ring for her.)
These pieces are a lot more ornate than she’d go for. Being an architect, she’s influenced by architects such as Carlo Scarpa, large brutalist designs, sharp edges, almost jigsaw-like pieces.
One bracelet that even this brutish male can admire is Carolyn Pollack’s “Five Stone Cuff,” which is part of the company’s “American West Jewelry” line. (This line is handcrafted in New Mexico, which is I suppose why there’s a charitable initiative this month in that state, versus Texas or somewhere else.)
There’s one bracelet in particular, studded with a gemstone I’d not heard of: variscite. The stone is sometimes confused with turquoise. It comes from a phosphate-based mineral that comes into contact with chromium, giving it its color. It was first found in Germany in the mid-19th century and named Variscia, the original name of the Vogtland. One of the places you can find deposits of this in the United States is in Utah. For that reason, it’s also been called Utahlite.
And, guys, if you don’t want to make the drive to Grapevine — because it’s 9 hours from El Paso and almost 5 from Beaumont — you can always get her a gift card.
One last thing: if you own a piece of Carolyn Pollack Jewelry, or if you recently bought one, please leave a Comment and let me know what you think! (I can always use tips for Mother’s Day, Valentines Day, Wife’s Birthday, Wedding Anniversary… all those capitalized holidays.)
What to do in Grapevine…when not shopping
You can visit Carolyn Pollack Jewelry at the Gaylord Texan Resort, if you’re not staying there already. (Looks pretty amazing.)
Or downtown — and there is indeed an old-west kind of downtown feel to this city of around 50,000 — there are a variety of restaurants and shops.
Also, consider these attractions for different members of the family:
- The LEGOLAND Discovery Center for kids
- For the whole family, there’s the Sea-Life Acquarium
- The vintage railroad offers 1-hour rides through downtown
- And various events here