Monday, February 23, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany's...

Sometimes, even in Dubai, something exquisite happens that catches you off guard and thrills you to your toes. I had no idea, when I went with a friend to the new Dubai Mall late one evening after we both decided we needed a break from our domestic duties, that I would have my second Audrey Hepburn Moment.

Cathy and I had had one of those days and were trying to decided whether to go running or shopping. It was already dark, didn't really feel like hitting the pavement (ususual for us) so we took a little trip to the new Dubai Mall. Cathy had already been there and was willing to play guide for me. Low-maintenance girls, we both agreed that the World's Largest (yeah, yeah, we know) Plexiglass Aquarium and the new large book store were our destinations for the evening, and other than that we'd have some coffee and let the stores fall where they may.

The bookstore was great, picked up a few things, the aquarium hugely wonderful. I loved the stingrays in particular.

We'd wandered and shopped a bit more, and it was edging towards midnight. As we were wandering past the plethora of jewellery stores, the display at Tiffany's caught my eye. I'm pretty immune to such things...Dubai has bling everywhere, so it takes something pretty unusual to get my attention. The necklaces in the window were ususually beautiful and elegant. They looked like something Princess Diana might have worn.

I told Cathy "We have to go in there!" She agreed to be dragged. There were two gorilla security men in dark suits guarding the front. They were serious business, didn't speak or open the doors for us. Okaaay, we thought and went inside. Piece after piece, sparkling beneath the lights, this stuff was undeniably exquisite. The staff, who must have been very bored just before closing time, were watching us, and one struck up a conversation. It turned out that the pieces were part of a private collection and were there to celebrate the shop's opening. After chatting back and forth a little bit about the gemstones we were admiring, he seemed to decide something.

"I'm going to show you something very special." he said. "It's only here for a short time." He escorted us to a small room that I hadn't noticed in the center of the store. Through the door and my hands flew to my face. In the deeply carpeted room there were two chairs, a glass display case and

"It's the Tiffany Diamond!" I gasped, completely awestruck.

It was indeed. In its Bird on a Rock setting, the perfectly cut, enormous diamond gleamed yellowly. More than twice the size of the Hope Diamond, the Tiffany Diamond weighs in at a staggering 128.54 carats. It had been at the Smithsonian, last I'd heard...and now it was here in this little room with us.

The man who cut the diamond in 1878 studied it for a year before cutting it to its dazzling 82 facets, 24 more than is traditional to capitalize on its size and sheer brillance.

It was breathtaking.

Then, another sharp intake of breath. According to the little placard accompanying, the gem had only been worn twice, once by a socialite at the 1957 Tiffany Ball, and once, oh yes, by Audrey Hepburn to promote, of course, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

The jeweller was tickled to see our reaction, I am sure. He even gladly took our photo for us.

Who knew, bumming around a mall after bedtime in jeans and a T-shirt, something like this could happen?


Special thanks to Cathy Ogur ( and for the photographs.