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I Wanna Talk About Me


 

I don’t have a ton of jewelry, at least not compared to many of my co-workers. Amongst the women that I have worked with over the years, an awful lot of their husbands appear to have invested a significant portion of their retirement income into their wives’ jewelry boxes. I guess girls are supposed to be easily won over by sparkly things – I call it "magpie syndrome." Now, I do like nice jewelry, but we haven’t really had the cash for it the past few years. Okay, the past couple of decades. Besides, if you want to spend that much money on me I have this list of books I’d rather have... But of the various bits and pieces, I find that my favorites are all old pieces. Family pieces. I guess it points back to the things I had to say about the stuff of my grandmother’s that I’m going to be getting.

I suppose that an obvious answer to a "favorite jewelry" question for a married woman is the engagement ring. By today’s standards, mine is a small ring. I think someone once told me that the main stone is a quarter karat. But it’s a lovely setting, and I like the fact that it’s low enough profile that I can still wear gloves. The thing that truly makes it special though is that it was my grandmother’s engagement ring. The engraving in the band is "LJH – MB 6-20-36. At one of their milestone anniversaries Grandpa bought her a fancier ring, and she gave it to my mother with the suggestion that she could have the stone reset as a pendant or something. Mom chose to wear it as an engagement ring also (dad hadn’t been able to afford one,) and passed it on to me when I got engaged. As dad says, that ring has some good practice. The jeweler tells me that some day very soon the band is going to snap and need to be replaced. After seventy-three years of wear, there isn’t much of the band left. Ironically, my wedding ring doesn’t make the list. It’s pretty, and it was a real bitch to find a band that would seat properly next to the old setting of the other one but frankly, if something were to happen to it I’d go to Michael’s Jewelers and buy another one. Odd, eh?

The second real treasure in my jewelry box is a diamond heart that also came from my grandmother. Again, by today’s standards it probably isn’t much. But I remember her wearing that heart for all the years of my childhood. It fascinated me as a little girl. I had a tiny rhinestone heart pendant that I would always wear when they were visiting – so that I could be like grandma. I was expecting that it would go to my aunt, but Grandma wanted me to have it. Apparently she was originally going to leave it to me in her will. Then she decided that was no fun, because she wouldn’t be around to enjoy it. Then she was going to give it to me for my eighteenth birthday, but decided that would be no fun, because she wasn’t going to be there to see me open it. So she gave it to me for Christmas my junior year of high school, because we had gone out to Minnesota for the holidays while everyone was still here. It was the last time I saw her.

I wore it (and her ring obviously) for my wedding. Everyone in the family agreed that she would have been thrilled.

There was also a family ring from Bob’s family. Unfortunately when they got divorced, his ex decided to keep his mother’s engagement ring. I think that’s a pretty crappy trick, but it would have been a dilemma for me. I REALLY wanted grandma’s.

But my absolute favorite piece of jewelry is an amethyst lavaliere pendant given to me by my Auntie Blanche. She was the next door neighbor of my grandparents when they lived on Hamlin in St. Paul – no actual blood relationship. Her children were grown and gone and she seldom saw her grandchildren, so when I was visiting, grandma shared hers. I have to admit that I don’t remember her at all. I remember who she was, why I knew her, that I would work in her garden with her, but I don’t remember her. But for my seventh birthday a package came from her in Minnesota, and it was this gorgeous pendant (amethyst is my birthstone.) I was told at the time that it was close to 100 years old. My parents took it to the jewelers and had quite a bit of the chain removed so that I could wear it, but kept those pieces. I had them put back a couple of years ago, with the exception of a few pieces that were so worn that the jeweler deemed them to be a breakage risk. Aside from the fact that it is a very pretty, very unusual piece of jewelry, whenever I wear it I think of the woman who sent such an extravagant gift to another woman’s grandchild. It saddens me that I can’t remember someone I am told adored me, but I think of her many times every year, and someday when I pass it on, I’ll be able to tell Charlotte about her Great-Aunt Blanche who was family in all the ways that really matter.

Come to think of it, I’ve had a lot of family that isn’t really family if you’re picky about definitions. But that’ll be a topic for another post.


 

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
golden_meliades
May. 13th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
You're lucky; I have essentially no history. I do have a wooden chest that my grandmother left me in her will (because I used to love opening it to look inside, apparently) but I have no real sentimental attachment to it. (I painted it purple, which in a wood-worshipper's eyes is probably hideous sacrilege...but deep orangey wood does NOT go in my soft blue and purple room.) Oh and I do have two pendants my aunt Ruth bought for me when I was born, both stirling silver...I've posted a pic of them before, actually. I don't really feel many emotional connections to ANYTHING. My family has no real history or traditions, no particular interest in the past...everything has always been about getting today's work done, for my parents and their parents, too, especially on my dad's side (my maternal grandparents are dead and have been for a long time...my grandfather since before I was born, gramma since I was eleven.)

I'm not really into expensive jewellery. I have a single diamond necklace, a tiny solitare on a gold chain, that was a gift, and I do like it, but more as a memory. (Diamonds...well, I just don't really like them. They're just sparkly. They have no colour...no personality. To me, that is.) I like artsy individual stuff.

You should take a pic of your three precious items. :)
kls_eloise
May. 14th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
I have to agree - I'm not a huge fan of diamonds for the exact reasons you mention. I'm attached to the pendant and the ring because of where they came from more than what they are. Personally, I much prefer amethysts. Sapphires are good too, but amethysts are my favorite.

I shall take a picture.
isabeau_lark
May. 19th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, I like sparkly things. The men in my family, thankfully have good taste in them. All of my pieces are either inherited from my mom, or gifts from her and dad.

There's nothing outrageous, and after mom died, my sister-in-law, brother, dad and I went through everything and picked out pieces so that every niece, nephew's wife, sister and sister-in-law had something of hers. It was what mom wanted, and apparently there were lots of tears over that one. My one poor cousin thought he was going to find his father dead on the floor because of the incoherent call from his mom. We apparently picked the only piece of my mother's jewelry Aunt JoJo could have described to give to her.

The one major, expensive piece is actually from a stone my grandfather bought in Brazil. The fact that it is expensive was purely by accident. Everyone involved in the transaction thought it was one type of stone, when it was something else, much more expensive.

Since I can't afford to buy it, I make my own. One of these days I might even get my website up and running and sell stuff. Of course, that would require being able to afford an internet connection at home, which, since I need to buy a new (well, used) car NOW is not likely for a while. Sigh.
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