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Colored gems no longer ‘vulgar’

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a beautiful amethyst bracelet and set of earrings as a birthday gift. I remember one of Grandmother Manners’ maxims was “Colored stones are vulgar.”

Will you please elaborate and provide context for this rule? Does polite society still eschew colored gemstones?

GENTLE READER: It is time to confess that the family suspects our much-beloved Grandmother Manners made that one up.

Of course, we also thought that she made up “A lady never checks her coat at a restaurant,” and that obscure rule turned out to be documented in the literature. We may just be bitter about the jewelry we didn’t inherit when she condemned it.

Please enjoy your amethysts in good conscience. Miss Manners will square it with Grandmother Manners.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my daughter married last year, my ex-wife and I both attended. I brought nobody with me, but my ex-wife brought along her current gentleman-friend.

I disregarded it, out of consideration for the Happy Pair, but I considered it rather tacky of my ex-wife to bring her boyfriend to her daughter’s wedding, when she was well aware that I would also attend. Am I being unreasonably sensitive?

GENTLE READER: The sensitivity is understandable and blameless. You are raw from the divorce, but managed to behave well.

However, Miss Manners must tell you that it is unreasonable to think that a divorcee will not go on with her life. She has had to tell many a lady to bear up in the presence of her successor.


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