A Gem of a Thought

I found a collection of my mothers costume jewelry a few days ago, unceremoniously wrapped in tissue paper at the bottom of a cardboard box.  I was so happy to see it that I examined each piece carefully trying to remember what outfit she wore with each brooch.  I recently wore this round piece, pinned at the neck of a gold J. Crew cardigan sweater.  It looked beautiful for its fifty years and she would have been so happy that it had been lovingly worn.  Once I removed it I found myself staring at that pin several times that evening.  The design seemed so familiar.  And then I remembered….

The Vatican Museums spiral staircase!  It is one of the most photographed staircases in the world, and considered one of the most beautiful. Designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, the broad steps are a combination ramp and staircase.  I remember it as a breathtaking conclusion to our tour of the museum, and couldn’t wait to take this photograph.   The pin is similar in shape and the intricate design on the walls of the stairs are similar to the engravings on the spirals of the pin.  Do you see the similarities?  It is such a fun thought, and my Mother would have loved the comparison.


  1. Wow! The similarities are amazing!!! Is it coincidence do you suppose or do you think the designer was inspired by the Vatican Museum stairwell? We’ll probably never know. On a side note, I can kick myself – we DIDN’T see the stairwell when were there. How can that happen? It was on my list to do first! Sometimes I get so excited (or impatient?) that I forget to follow the plan (list) and look what happens.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Thank you so much for reading my story! And yes it is so frustrating when traveling to place like Rome because it is impossible to see everything. You could spend a week in the Vatican City and still have only scratched the surface!!



  3. Not kooky at all! The similarities are uncanny and your photograph of the staircase is just beautiful! I love your backstory—finding your mother’s brooch in the bottom of the cardboard box—how wonderful! I recently lost my mother, a style icon in her own right, and I miss her desperately. Your story has inspired me to take a closer look at the brooches she passed on to me—who knows what I might see. Thanks for sharing—I am truly enjoying your blog!



  4. Thank you Mary and so sorry about you Mother, I know it’s difficult. Yes, go take a look at her jewelry, I am surprised how wearable my Mother’s are! Something to keep them a little closer….


  5. I love that you not only enjoyed wearing a piece of your mother’s jewelry in your own way but that it also back a memorable place for you. A new piece of jewelry could never tell your story in quite the same way. That’s inheritable design. Thanks for the great post!


  6. Elisa, you have such beautiful and creative imagination. Yes, yes, I see the similarities. It is amazing. It is the same flow of lines and circles.

    This is a very unique and very precious peace of jewelry. It is marvelous and very elegant and you showed its beauty in a wonderful way.

    And the second picture is so special also. You are a great photographer, Elisa!!!!

    And you are fabulous and fun!!!!!

    Greetings from Kaya.


  7. These two classic and equally beautiful representations do Fibonacci proud. I was startled by the sheer beauty of the brooch’s design. Then, I was startled again when I saw the staircase. The similarities are uncanny. That brooch design has to be based on the famous staircase. You are fortunate to have both. WOW.


  8. I do see the similarities between the brooch & staircase at the Vatican Museum – it’s a brilliant comparison & really lovely thought! 🙂

    Your mother clearly had exquisite taste – that brooch is absolutely gorgeous, so classy, glamorous & elegant! I’m really glad you have adopted it into your own jewellery collection now, as it is a piece that deserves to be worn again & again!!

    Beautiful post, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading!! xoxo 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for studying and noting the similarities! I did have fun with this, something I know my Mother would have enjoyed. I’ve already got my eye my nubby tweed jacket to pin a diamond rhinestone double-leaf design…..


    1. To think we were standing on the same spot leaning over the same rail……mind boggling!

      I loved Italy too. All these memories have me longing to return. What time is it there?? haha!


  9. A bit of time to visit your archives before picking up the girls at school.

    I’m quite impressed by your visit to the Vatican. When my dad was stationed in Frankfurt, while growing up, my mom wanted to visit the Vatican and Rome, and another trip to see the pyramids at Giza. American Express had different packages designed special for military personnel at the time. We didn’t get there, but has always remained on the wish list.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s