We all have that one piece that we will always treasure. It’s a ring, or a brooch, or some other bauble that was gifted to us, one that we inherited, or a souvenir from a special place. We keep it tucked away safe in our jewelry boxes, and pull it out when we feel sentimental or when we need a little bit of connection. It is a link to our past, the catalyst for a memory. What makes it precious is not necessarily the dollar value, but the story. From my own personal experience as both a jewelry owner and a jeweler, I know this is true.
As a maker, I hear the stories first. Warm, sad, celebratory, caring, and humorous — the tales are human emotion needing a new presentation. It’s not fantasy, or spectacular fiction. For me, it’s beautiful prose, waiting to be translated into precious metals. Told with the help of tools, yes, but delivered with all the emotion and life experience the artist can bring to the project. A funny travel story, a sweet sentiment, an interesting material source, a fascinating factoid, a curious custom request, an emotional, heartfelt commission –I’ve been lucky to have had all of these “stories” behind pieces I have made, and these are the ones that stay with me.
From my personal jewelry box, the items I hold close are the things that belonged to my grandmothers, the pieces my parents gave to me when I was way too young to take good care of them (of course I was thrilled to receive those pieces at the time, which include a pearl ring, and a name plate bracelet), the necklaces my husband has given to me, and the things I bought on a trip around the world.
I recently wrote the story of a bracelet I purchased at a pre-dawn, high-altitude craft bazaar that I stumbled upon in the Himalayas. It’s over on My Life in Jewels, a blog that tells the stories of what lies in our jewelry boxes. I love the concept of a whole site dedicated to these tales, because we all have pieces we hold close to our hearts. From fancy family heirlooms to precious macaroni necklaces, each piece is equal in emotional value because of its history.
I’m willing to bet you have a jewelry story or two to share. Please do!