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Safe, sapphires and Mrs Shanin

Leida Ilo in the book “A-galerii. Eesti autoriehte galerii 20 aastat” (2014)*

* “A-Gallery. Estonian art jewellery gallery for 20 years”

A recall a situation from distant past. In 1964 I was gaining my first work experience in the art production company or Kopf Workshop, where the guild spirit and mystery still existed. I acquired invaluable skills under the instruction of old masters.

Missis Shanin (the storekeeper) was a dignified lady from the first independence period of Estonia, who aroused awe and respect with her posture and neat appearance. She sat in a small storeroom behind the table and behind her back there was a special door – a safe door reaching from the floor to the ceiling. My eyes probably stopped on it, and the strict madame grew sentimental, deciding to satisfy curiosity of a child. Blue sapphires were laid in front of me on the table on blue velvet and Missis Shanin said: “Sapphires, from the imperial era. This dark blue shine will not be forgotten, all their mystery and value.” Now the Safe is also the most dignified exhibition place and the safe door in A-Gallery is open to the public.