When moving through life with awareness, there are gems to be discovered each day, provided you look. It requires you to slow down and see what is right in front of you rather than racing forward to some “better” destination. It takes the willingness to discover what is there even if others may think that you are being silly or impractical. It also may require a dose of childish enthusiasm as it did in the case of our young friend Milan, from Brooklyn, New York.
Milan’s interest in gems began at the tender age of six. What started with digging for stones in the park has now blossomed into a full-fledged passion. Like many children, he was fascinated by a piece of quartz found in gravel or an interestingly-shaped rock found by chance. Then his father introduced him to the field of gemology and now Milan has an extensive collection of books on the subject as well as a small collection of semi-precious and precious gems of his own.
Somewhere in his fledgling studies, Milan heard about an urban tale that sparked his imagination. According to lore, on 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Midtown Manhattan, home to the legendary Diamond District, is a place where you can find treasure. 47th Street is filled cheek by jowl with stores, each more gaudy than the next, hawking gold and jewelry, precious gems and bling, but according to this legend, the wealth was purported to not only be behind the plate glass windows and security systems. Young Milan had heard that if you look hard enough and if you are dedicated to the search, you can find loose stones on the sidewalk itself. He was told that if you take your time, you will find diamonds at your feet that have been dropped by careless couriers or unsuspecting buyers.
A silly notion some might say. Others might scoff at how ridiculous one would look, slowly meandering, nose virtually to the sidewalk. Practical parents might discourage this dream as childish and having no merit. Yet Milan’s parents did not. Both his mom and dad have repeatedly taken him to the diamond district so that he can scour the streets. There he has found two black diamonds, one ruby, four emeralds, six sapphires and fifteen diamonds. His largest stone, a triangular half-carat diamond, has been appraised for $600.
Now at 15, Milan continues to pursue his passion for gems and shiny things and has grown an extraordinary collection. He has also discovered that while finding gems fuels his enthusiasm and creativity, sharing them with others feeds his heart.
We rather doubt that most people have found wealth in the cracks of the sidewalk. It wouldn’t even occur to most people to look. But to us Milan’s childish dream is a gentle reminder to slow down and look at where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing. It is a simple suggestion to go about one’s life with awareness and persistence, for in this moment there are gems to be discovered if only one has the eyes to see.