Two Degrees of Al Capone

The diamond we bought from one of Chicago's most famous and beloved jewelers!

The diamond we bought from one of Chicago’s most famous and beloved jewelers!

My husband bought my engagement ring while we were living in Chicago in the late 1990s. It was from an 80-year old jeweler who was, as it turns out, quite well known along jeweler’s row.

His name was Sherm Tucker.

GREAT NAME.

His office was in the famous Mallers Building in Chicago along Jeweler’s Row on Wabash. All I can remember is we had to go in this sketchy door, down a long hallway, and in an elevator that looked like it had been there since the time of Jesus. His “store” if you can call it that, was in the back room of the building. He carefully pulled out diamonds, one by one, draped in black velvet. He handled them with such care you would have thought they were newborn babies.

But this guy knew his stuff.

He talked to us as if we knew nothing. Which of course was completely accurate. He taught us more than just the four C’s when shopping for a diamond. He taught us to really pay attention and to know what we could afford. He was sweet and kind, but also very shrewd.

We chose a lovey marquis cut and although it’s been reset, it still makes me smile.

Sherm Tucker has become part of our wedding lore. His name pops up occasionally and can instantly make us smile.

When an acquaintance recently got engaged, my husband decided to Google Sherm Tucker just for the heck of it. Turns out, he lived a great long life and passed away last year at the age of 95. There’s a lovely write up of him in the Tribune.

Turns out also – that his family lore says famed gangster Al Capone bought a diamond belt buckle from Sherm Tucker.

Which of course means that I’m technically two degrees from Al Capone.

I’ll bet I’m closer than Kevin Bacon is.

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