Jewellery as a Token of Memory

Growing up, I never wore much jewellery; I was a shy, quiet child, and any jewellery I wore was a reflection of that. Now, as a maker of jewellery, it is interesting to reflect upon my intentions and values regarding jewellery in general, and what I make. Jewellery has different meanings and values to different people; some people like to wear it, and some don’t. Most of the time, the type of jewellery I prefer to wear has little to do with fashion, and almost always had a connection to, or an association with, something important in my life. 

When I was very young, I was really into making friendship bracelets with embroidery floss, and exchanging them with my closest friends. On trips to the beach, I always searched for shells and stones with a single hole so that I could thread them onto a cord as a necklace. From a young age, I had a desire to keep close and carry with me tokens of memory.

Later, I went through a phase where I was intrigued by lockets, and charm bracelets- jewellery that carried a lot of symbolism. My mother had both a locket pendant and a charm bracelet in her old jewellery box, which is probably what first piqued my curiosity in these types of jewellery. The photo in the locket, and each charm on the bracelet symbolized something from my mother’s past; the pieces held stories of places she’d been, things she’d seen, and people she had met. 

As I got older, the jewellery I chose to wear held much personal significance to me. My favourite pieces were those that had been passed down to me from different members of my family. A beautiful enamelled pendant, and a cat brooch are two pieces my mum gave from the collection in her jewellery box. For my golden (or champagne) birthday, one of my grandmothers gave me a gorgeous pearl ring that had once belonged to her. I am wearing that ring currently as I write this post. 

Perhaps the most special piece of jewellery I often wear is a gold charm necklace that belonged to my great-grandmother. She wore that necklace every single day since I can remember, right up until she passed away six years ago. This piece is particularly important to me, as it ties together several generations of influential and powerful women in my family: my mother, my grandmother, and my great grandmother. 

As a maker of jewellery, it is essential for me to consider the role of jewellery in my life, and what I want to offer through my work. The capability of a well-crafted piece of jewellery to become a cherished token of memory that can be passed on for generations to come is powerful. Of course I aim to design and create pieces that look elegant on the body, and that add a fun sparkle to one’s style. But above all, I want to create jewellery that will endure the adventures of many, and one day become a special point of connection between the wearers and their memories -just like the pieces that are most important to me.