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Exclusive, unusual gift for girl graduates

One of many fine rock carvings at an Elmhurst, Illinois, museum
Carol Stigger

Elmhurst, Illinois, offers memorable ways to honor girl graduates who will probably receive a lifetime supply of pricy pens and designer scarves. The reptilian sounding Lizzadro Museum, 220 Cottage Hill, is anything but. It is a small, elegant museum of lapidary art, which is the art of cutting and polishing stone. Intricate Chinese jade and ivory carvings dating back to the 1700s are elegantly displayed in cases that allow a 360 degree view of the pieces. Roman and Florentine mosaics look like oil paintings until your nose is almost touching the timeless scenes. Twenty whimsical dioramas display figures carved in Idar-Oberstein, a lapidary center in Germany.

A favorite carving is Ziggy, a bull elephant who lived at Brookfield Zoo until his death in 1976. Ziggy is carved from one of the elephant’s tusks and displayed in his native Asian environment. For sheer “bling” Castle Lizzardo is an 18k gold sculpture with diamond windows rising from a large slab of Brazilian agate.

Downstairs, your graduate will most likely want to skip the educational video and displays and head to the gift shop. There, she can select her gift from among a stunning selection of gem stone jewelry with prices ranging from $15 to the hundreds.
After the museum, Café Amano, 105 South York, offers a tasty selection of modern European dishes from Chorizo Stuffed Medjool Dates for the adventurous to their Classic Shrimp Cocktail. Main courses include inviting salads, a wide range of pasta dishes, and filet mignon. For a sweet finish day, ask for the dessert menu. The many choices include several versions of crème brulee, tiramisu with berries, and a lemon curd tartlet. If the weather cooperates, you can eat in the patio garden.

A gift such as this creates a memory to go along with a special piece of jewelry. And, you don’t have to wrap it.

Check around your town for similar gift opportunities!

To read more about my travel adventures and misadventures and useful, unusual things I find along the way, check the subscribe button beside my name -- or you can browse through this site for adventures in Paris, Italy, India, Greece, Mexico and U.S. destinations.

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