[Orchid Nostalgia] Crystal balling 1997

Crystal balling 1997 - By Richard W. Hughes
December 1996

Every year about this time I find it useful to reflect back on the
meaning of the past months’ events, and relate this to what I believe
will happen in the coming year. Thus I present you, gentle readers,
with my predictions for 1997, in no particular order:

1 At a news conference, British prospector, Adrian Phallus,
announces a major new ruby find. The locality is Long Dong, in
Vietnam’s Phuc Yu province. Phallus, famous for his discovery of
ruby at Schlong Yai in Thailand, declares that the new material
comparable to that from the now-exhausted mines of Wanking, in
China. “It’s been a long time since the gem trade has seen
anything of Wanking quality,” Phallus enthuses.

  1. The US government announces sanctions against North Korea.
    America’s Secretary of State declares that only the United States
    should be allowed to possess the capacity to blow the bejesus out
    of the planet.

3 The Gemological Institute of America announces the retirement of
Ray Charles, Jr., head of its New York diamond grading lab. He is
awarded a seeing-eye dog in honor of his 50-years’ service.

4 America’s Jewelers’ Vigilance Committee announces the results of
their latest survey. More than 30% of karat jewelry is found to
contain traces of gold.

5 Martina Navratilova returns to competitive tennis, wearing a
tennis bracelet. One jeweler saw it as a sign from God, declaring:
“Now I finally understand what those damn things are for.”

6 Burma’s ruling military junta outlaws humanity, declaring it to
be a foreign plot. Amnesty International vigorously protests the
action. In a related development, Singapore outlaws humans after
one of them causes a subway door to jam.

  1. Songwriter Leonard Cohen visits Thailand. The visit provides
    inspiration for his latest hit: First We Take Gemopolis. It rides
    atop the Bangkok charts for months.

8 In a major policy about-face, De Beers desegregates the world
diamond trade, ending carbon apartheid. They announce that 20% of
all future sights will consist of black diamonds. “Black is
beautiful,” declares their chairman.

9 In the face of declining gem production, Thailand’s Department
of Mineral Resources hires the CIA’s vaunted psychic team. For a
reported $20 million, they locate a promising deposit of tektites
in the Northeast.

10 De Beers announces a new advertising campaign, with the theme
that one’s wife is worth at least 27 years’ salary. So guilty do
males feel, that the economies of the entire industrialized world
go straight into the toilet in the rush to buy diamonds.
Metropolitan areas are plagued by homeless men on street corners
holding signs reading: “Will work for ice.”

11 World Federation of Diamond Bourses president, Maury Goldman,
declares that Thailand deserves more than one diamond bourse.
Thais take this statement to heart. Soon, diamond bourses
outnumber travel agencies and brothels.

12 The International Colored Gemstone Association licenses
software from PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), for 128-bit encryption of
its treatment codes. Although this requires a tiny microprocessor
on each price tag, ICA members feel the added security is worth
"every damn penny." Unfortunately, the software, which can be
downloaded on the Internet by any ten-year-old with a modem, falls
under the United States’ munitions laws and thus export is banned.

13 Burma announces SLORC-The Movie. It stars a large ruby with
legs and a propensity for running away to Thailand. Animation is
by Disney Studios.

14 Lorena Bobbitt is made an honorary member of the Thai/American
Woman’s Club. In a prepared statement, Club President, Pornpen
Johnson said: “We like her potential, but feel her technique needs
a bit of polish. She’s obviously unaware of the duck finish, for
example. Anyway, her heart is in the right place.”

15 Iraq announces discovery of an amazing diamond deposit in
Baghdad, beneath the ruins of a powdered milk factory. Saddam
Hussein declares to the world: “We now have the mother of all
diamond mines.” Israel quickly normalizes relations. An Israeli
spokesman declares: “We do not feel that ostracizing the Iraqi
people from the world community is in anyone’s long-term

16 Thai traders discover yet another way to enhance the color of
corundum. It involves exposure to Bangkok smog, and was discovered
after someone noticed a traffic policeman glowing and shining. In
a related move, CIBJO announces that the treatment need not be
disclosed to consumers, since it involves “traditional” methods.

17 Thailand’s Gem and Jewellery Trader’s Association announces the
development of the OJ golf bracelet. It is an immediate hit,
particularly in those areas where “men are men” (and the sheep run

18 Following successful introduction of taxi meters, Bangkok’s
taxi fleets are equipped with integrated urine bags, for those
long delays in traffic. Stretch limos come complete with maids and
Patpong bargirls (that are not prostitutes), also for those long
delays in traffic.

19 Benny Tolkowsky takes the gold medal in color grading at the
World Diamond Games held in Antwerp, correctly identifying an
E-color diamond in the face-up position. He is later stripped of
his medal after testing positive for carrot juice.

20 The ICA launches a campaign to discontinue the use of the term
"treated" in reference to doctored gems, labelling the term a
prejudicial stereotype. They suggest substituting

21 Bangkok jeweler, Richard Brown, releases a new line of “planetary
jewelry.” The pieces feature empty settings, because, according to
Brown, the gems themselves have transcended the material world for a
higher plane. He claims the powers of these gems are far greater, as
the gems occupy the bullshyta caste.

22 Richard Hughes is put on trial for bad taste and crimes against
humanity. Defense testimony is offered by the Pasadena Little Old
Ladies’ Club, who declare that all of his writings appeal solely to
prurient interests, and they like it that way. Hughes enters a plea
of not guilty by reason of insanity, declaring to the court: “I am
sick. I truly am. Please help me.” He is eventually sentenced to
death. Prior to execution, the mark of the beast, a 6-6-6, is found
on the base of his skull.