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February 20, 2024

Big Anniversary

Adam Voith

I first learned of fake diamonds from my mother; talk of the house for weeks leading up to what must have been a big anniversary—maybe 15. I wondered if it was supposed to be a secret, the fact that it was made in a lab.

“Sort of, I guess,” she said.

But later, telephone cord coiling around her waist while she twirled around the kitchen cooking, she explained to a friend on the other end that Cubic Zirconias had been around since the mid-‘70s, but that lately they’d gotten much better. “You can’t even tell. We ordered mine yesterday. They make them in a week!”

And in that week, every friend on her call sheet got the story, too.

The jeweler called when the rock was ready, and we went to pick it up as a family. On the way home, in the passenger seat, my mom held her hand out the window, arm up like the Statue of Liberty. “Honk a little bit, honey,” she told my dad.

“Mom,” I asked from the backseat, “is it a lie?”