Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hooked on Sardonyx (Affeto Sardonice)

It's a cloudy dreary chilly day in Dallas, which is fine because it all goes well with my mood today. Downtown, the streets are filled with people on their way to lunch.

I've just ducked into one of my favorite places called Porta di Roma, a Chinese takeout place. Just kidding, it's Italian food. The name means 'gateway to Rome', but no matter how many doors I open here I can't see Piazza Navona through any of them.

The food is really authentic and the view is great because it's directly across from Neiman Marcus, the famous high end retailer. People watching is at its best in Dallas here. You can see millionaires pull up in chauffeured stretch cars, or maybe a homeless guy wearing a baseball cap with wings slowly pushing a shopping cart with watermelons dressed like Cabbage Patch Kids (tm).

As for myself, I need to stop back into Neiman Marcus today because:
a) my personal shopper there has rent due soon and keeps tweeting me
b) they finally have their secret cookie recipe for sale as in the urban legend, or
c) I want to see if the sardonyx bowls that were full price last year on sale now

As is the case when taking tests, 'C' statistically is the right answer.

Sardonyx is a type of onyx / calcite with just the right red / brown colorations that nice sconces and lighting fixtures try to copy with patinated glass. But, this is the real mineral deal that was used for thousands of years and usually worth more than gold.

In Venice, in the treasury of the San Marco cathedral, they have wonderful sardonyx treasure cups taken back in the fourth crusade like this one with the lower section in the rare stone.

Going back further, first century Romans created great works with it as the cup of the Ptolemies and 'Great Cameo of France' below.

I'm kind of a sculpture guy first, so you can understand my appreciation for a material that is so workable like this from a carving standpoint, and also has such beautiful color and translucency.

Some nice sardonyx sconces are called for in my media room. It's probably not a good idea though to just hang the Neiman Marcus bowls on the wall with duct tape and bailing wire? I think they were $11,000 last year.


  1. Too bad you can't buy some of the originals - they are very beautiful. And of course the museums tend to get hold of them first.

    I want to make some pun with sardonic/sardonyx but I've been working on freelance article stuff all day (interspersed with horrible stuff like laundry) and I just can't get the wheels turning.

    The watermelon guy reminded me of someone I saw years ago in NYC arguing with his suitcase on Second Avenue. I don't know who won, though.

  2. I would've gone for the cookie recipe ;) Question....why do you not just move to Italy? What's holding you back besides your new pool?

  3. No, duct tape and bailing wire is not good; you've got to hammer those fuckers in. They'll never move then.

  4. I hope the weather is clear, warm and sunny tomorrow ... and I hope you can put your hands on that precious material you are seeking for and deserve!

  5. Ohhh those are so beautiful! Hope you get your scones!

  6. Lidian,
    Great minds think alike? I was working on the same pun but had trouble. Hey, was the guy arguing with the suitcase perhaps a ventriloquist?

    I hear you totally, I have my job which allows me to have no debt at all and save so I can afford to move there. :) I can picture you living in southern Switzerland taking photos of awesome food.

    Hahaha, you are a genius man!

    Dearest Nabi310,
    We'll see about the weather, every once in a while I get a ray of sunshine. But for the material, I guess I need a contact in Afghanistan or Egypt because Neiman Marcus didn't have the bowls. x

    I agree, and there's a famous coffee shop I might stop by to see if they have similar scones. :)

  7. If you'd pay eleven grand for a bowl YOU'RE the one who should be nailed to a wall, Tex. :) Even if they ARE purdy.

    PS If you can't find the bowl in Neiman Marcus you can probably pick up a lady who lunches, in between salon appointments. :)

  8. :D People watching..one of my favorite things!*waves*