04 December, 2020

It Rings For Shakuntala

Wendy Doniger looks into the trope of jewellery that occurs so prolifically in myth, literature and culture and ties it to a wellspring of desire and eroticism

It Rings For Shakuntala

Renowned American indologist Wendy Doniger’s new book, The Ring of Truth: Myths of Sex and Jewelry, commences with a rather interesting personal anecdote about Doniger’s mat­e­rnal uncle Harry, who her mother claims is a ‘gemologist’. “Every weekday of his life, well into his eighties, he went from his home in New Jersey into the Diamond Exchange in New York; he also claimed to have inv­ented a way of making perfect dia­monds, very cheap, and to have been somehow cheated, or threatened, out of his formula by the De Beers cartel. Whenever Uncle ­Harry came to our house for dinner, after the dessert plates were cleared, he would take out of his inside breast pocket a rolled-up piece of black velvet, which he would unroll and unfold to reveal a series of pockets, each containing a piece of lov­ely jewelry, or a few unusual gems, particularly fire opals, all suspiciously inexpensive, no questions to be asked. My father would be pressured into buying some of them, and I still have several pieces that I cherish,...



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