· By Dillon Rose

"What to Expect at a Dinner with Dillon Rose" by Alicia Chesser

Local writer and artist Alicia Chesser attended our sapphire-focused gem dinner and had these beautiful words to share about her experience. We do always strive to incorporate "multifaceted magic" into our dinner events, we are grateful she was there to imbibe it! 

From their early years together, wandering Central America and the U.S. to learn their craft, to  their time here in Tulsa, thoughtfully cultivating a creative and personal home, artists and  entrepreneurs Rachel and Seth Dazey have always had a very special way of interacting with the  earth. 

You see it in their jewelry pieces, which echo mountain ranges and tide pools and the soaring arc of a winter sky. You see it in their community relationships, which open space again and again for people to see themselves and each other, not just their adornments, as treasures. You see it in how they dialogue with all sorts of beings – ancient like rock, contemporary like you and me – and in how that dialogue gives a very particular cast to everything they do, an  approach that feels both intensely present and spaciously timeless.  

It’s a way of love for what is real. For the everyday, ever-present magic of what’s real. 

Among the variety of events hosted by Dillon/Rose each year—artisan markets, open studio  sessions, sip and shop brunches—their gemstone dinners are a rare and beautiful offering. A  recent sapphire-focused evening exemplified the idea, a simple concept that quickly shows its depth. You arrive as one of ten guests for a three-course meal around a common table. As you  eat, a master craftsperson shares knowledge and experience about the jewel of the evening and  the jeweler’s art, and a master chef shares the elements and ideas that inspired what comes to  each plate. You pass around some gems for close inspection. Pass around some wine for  warmth and liveliness. Ask questions. Wonder about that streak of green in the blue stone, that  tiny sunflower petal in the blueberry trifle. Find out what happens if you use the jeweler’s loupe  on your salad as well as on the gems. Laugh as you eat, learn as you laugh. Lean back and rest in  the pleasure of the company, the setting, the light. At the end of the night, you might see the chef and the craftsperson trading quiet, intensely nerdy thoughts on how they work with the  sound and feel of their ingredients. (There’s a particular sound you hear, it seems, when a stone  is grinding in a certain way, a growl from the cutting plate that the chef likened to the particular  aural depth of something caramelizing in a pan.) 

These events focus the attention in more ways than one. Intense observation of dozens of gems  under the friendly tutelage of the gemcutter sharpens the eye, so that by the time the first  dinner course comes around, the colors on the plate seem vividly intense. The play of flavors  rises to awareness prismatically, just like the play of guests in the room’s gentle light, grounded  by the weight of the table and the giant monsteras that surround it. The night becomes a song  of the senses as thinking, feeling, and tasting each come in with their own notes. You’ll start to  see the curve of a sleeve next to you and the sweep of a leaf across the room interweaving with  each other like lines of harmony. Note the deep heat of horseradish buried in a plush pile of  parsnips and potatoes, arriving right after you look into the deep golden heart at the center of  an ice-blue gem. Appreciate in quick succession the modern cut of a lavender sapphire, the  keen science shared across the table, the sharp twizzle of a garnish on the plate. Savor the slow cooked sweetness of a short rib, the cozy glamour of well-chosen wines, the pleasure the gemcutter takes in his art, its chemistry and history, its risks and rewards.

Any vital moment shines more under this kind of care — not by piling on the glitz but by polishing the beauty of what’s there already, under our noses, beneath our feet, and by our sides. It’s about what the gem cutter at the sapphire dinner described as “chasing the depth,” finding where and how to let the light enter so it can keep bouncing around inside the stone  and come back to your eye. A good dinner party can do the same thing, and a good dinner party is what this is, combining sparks of learning with casual elegance and intelligent food, prepared  right next to you by a chef who’s let their imagination run gloriously wild in riffing on the theme. 

As the sapphire dinner began, the hosts shared with us some of the qualities associated with this gem. Faithfulness. Abundance. Wisdom. Sincerity. Positive intuition. Physical and spiritual  healing. The space resounded with those words throughout three courses, dozens of sapphires,  and wide-ranging conversations (from the scientific and to the practical), and I kept coming back to a fundamental question raised by the chef, the gemcutter, and the Dillon Rose team alike: 

How do we work with what is, as artist/stewards of the gifts the earth provides? 

Treat a gem or a plant or a friend just right, these dinners remind us, and it will become a one of-a-kind wonder, discovered and revealed instead of made. The limitations of a stone — like  those of an ingredient, a person, a place — are exactly the places where the beauty lives. These  dinners are an exhilarating, immersive, insiders’ experience of that special kind of art: the art of  appreciation, amplification, radiance. Looking at the sparkling eyes of the guests as they marvel  at the facets of a sapphire, their faces shining across the table like jewels in their settings, the  place settings simple and sparkling themselves with amber roasted carrot, blood-red beet,  grass-green arugula, a pomegranate seed bursting in my mouth with a ping like the starburst  inside the living ancient stone I was just holding in my hand and hearing the origin story of a  second ago — this is the sort of multifaceted magic only art can bring. 

If you appreciate any kind of creative experience — the more immersive and multidimensional, the better — make your way to a Dillon/Rose gemstone dinner. You’ll walk away feeling like you’ve never gotten so close to real magic before, not just to priceless stones and brilliant food  but to a treasure beyond words, the kind that exists in the exchange, the echo, the connection, the bounce of light inside a rock, across a room, within a lineage, under a canopy of leaves or through a simple human smile. It’s like when you’re standing in the desert, and sunlight on a cedar casts a shadow on the ground that suddenly rhymes with the shadow of a kestrel passing high above, and you look at your partner and see they’re gleaming with light and shadow too. The rhymes are unforced, natural, yet deeply surprising; the poets are just being what they are. It’s the rhyme of earth’s bounty, human and plant and stone, all at the table all at once, all fruits of the earth tended and shaped with care, speaking to each other with their own distinct voices in a space of wonder, laughter, gratitude. And we’re lucky enough to be there to be part of it, to open a little wider to the mystery of the earth, to appreciate our place among the gifts of the moment.

— Alicia Chesser 


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