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Commentary: The Business

Tammy Holt-Cote: Strangers No More



Jewelry can teach the power
of love in unexpected ways

Most times, jewelry is given as a token of
remembrance for special occasions and
happy milestones in our lives. Sometimes,
however, it is given for another reason — to
offer a ray of hope or shed a glimmer of light
on our darkest of days.

My story starts on a dark and rainy
October evening with slippery leaves littering
the streets. On my way home, a road
was blocked off and lit up with flashing red
lights of emergency vehicles. Something
horrible had happened, and I remember
having a feeling of sadness. I didn’t know it
at the time, but I would be forever connected
to this tragedy. The reason was revealed
two months later in December.

A man walks into my jewelry store a week
before Christmas, a man I have never seen
or met before. As I approach him, he bursts
into tears, sobbing and unable to speak. I do
not know his story yet but I feel his pain and
his kindness. I know I want to help him.

The pendant
resting on a
chain by her
heart, she
offered me
a smile that
lasted longer
than a split


He is looking for a pendant with three
specific birthstones to give his wife for
Christmas and apologizes for
being so last-minute. He tells
me they will not be celebrating
Christmas this year, but he feels
it’s important to offer a special
gift to his wife with hopes of
putting a smile on her face, if
only for a split second.

His story continued with the
tragic tale of their only child,
a teenage daughter who was
walking with friends one rainy
night in October. A driver lost
control of his vehicle, drove
onto the sidewalk and took his
daughter’s young life and the life of her

I summoned my magic elf jeweler who
had a full schedule crafting other gifts that
week. When I told him the story, no questions
were asked. He would do whatever it
took to make this pendant happen.

The power of this birthstone pendant touched our lives
that week leading
up to Christmas.
For the few of us
who pulled together
for its creation, we
were reminded
that life was fragile
and there is always
the uncertainty of
what tomorrow may
bring. It symbolized
the unspoken beauty
of a man’s love for
his wife and child
that was summoned
from their darkest
of times. I hugged
my boys more that week. I appreciated their
gift of life more that week.

I met her in January. The pendant resting
on a chain by her heart, she offered me a
smile that lasted longer than a split second.
We hugged together that day. We cried
together that day. Two strangers
brought together that day. A
friendship was born that day. A
friendship that would last.

It is said that people cross
our paths for reasons, and I
believe this is true. This man
who was a stranger, this woman
who was a stranger, their paths
crossed mine and I am grateful
because they have taught me
many things. I have learned that
strength comes from within
and also from each other. They
taught me hope is never a waste
of time. They taught me life can be cruel
at times but to also have faith in its beauty.
I have learned to appreciate others even
more. But mostly, they have taught me the
meaning of love.


We are strangers no more. We were
brought together by a golden pendant — a
symbol of love.

Tammy Holt-Cote has
been in this industry
for 35 years as a gemologist,
appraiser, store
owner and district manager
who now shares
her knowledge on her
from Edmonton, Alberta,



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