“Stories behind the Stones” by Star Sosa of Spectrum Art & Jewelry
The Family Jewels
Family “His-Story” or “Her-Story” as Told by Your Jewelry
We invest our jewelry with unique attributes unlike
any of our other possessions. We use it to make commitments, seal contracts and to celebrate accomplishments and personal milestones. It is portable wealth, elevates our social standing and provides heirlooms for future generations. So much of jewelry sends messages to the people we meet about who we are. It tells the casual observer if we are engaged to be married or have celebrated a big anniversary, that we have children or grandchildren, if we prefer unique and artistic designs or are drawn to classic familiar brands or love antique collectibles.
Ask anyone about some jewelry they are wearing and they’ll likely have a story to share. “This was my mother’s”, “my dad bought this for me when I turned 16”, “I found it in an antique store”, “bought it on a special trip (birthday, anniversary, etc.)”, “I designed it myself”. There are a million special tales. So many of those tales encompass family history and mythology and many more are very emotional, uplifting or touchingly tender. And in many cases the tale is as valuable, if not more precious, than the item itself!
If you find yourself the proud caretaker of such a piece, you owe it to yourself and your family to document those stories. Don’t count on the casual conversation to convey the personal importance that jewelry has for you. Your family may not remember or the facts may morph over time into a completely different idea. Write it down! Keep it with your important papers and jewelry appraisals. Thes
e things are so much more than the sum of their parts. Your kids might never appreciate the funny little brass pendant your Grandfather brought back from a trip to Peru in the 1920’s, because they won’t know that odd little object has that fascinating history unless you share it with them.
In my years as a professional jewelry designer, I have come across some amazing stories about jewelry. I have encouraged those people to document their personal histories. The longevity of metal and gemstones make jewelry a perfect vehicle for family history. And it is a delightful conversation starter when someone comments, “say that’s a lovely, or interesting, or unique, etc……”
And sometimes, jewelry really is just metal and stones. When you find yourself with a collection of old jewelry that doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t suit your taste or style, then it is time to restyle it into something that does. Then you will have created your own story to share about those objects. About the time you took your materials to the jewelry designer and working together you created this special new piece. Make your own mark in your family history and create something memorable and fun. Wear your story and share it with the world. What do you have so say?