Jewelry as Memory Tokens

I admit it. I love jewelry. It doesn’t have to be expensive. What it usually does have to be is meaningful in some type of way for me to love it and wear it. Don’t get me wrong – I can find meaning in a ring that is dazzling and sparkly, with shiny stones that I love if only for the simple fact that they are pretty.

I go through phases, depending on my mood, on how expressive I want to be when I choose what pieces to put on each day. I realized recently that for the last few months as we had been dealing with Marian’s illness and death I was wearing only very simple pieces, often none at all except my wedding band, not having the desire to think about wearing or picking out things that felt frivolous to me at the time.

The thing I love most about jewelry is that it can be empowering and expressive, and I especially love jewelry with a story or connection to a person. Marian wanted us to pick out pieces from her collection after she died, and I was immediately drawn to a stunning Tree of Life necklace that I wore to her memorial service. The other night I wore another piece – a necklace with a large gold pendant swirled to mimic the sun. Wearing it I could actually feel Marian’s strength and it gave me great comfort, and even confidence, to have a tangible part of her with me.

Many of you may know that I made and sold my own jewelry with my small business Katie Wood Jewelry. I’ve taken a break since we moved in April and I’m now a merchandiser for Chloe + Isabel – a fantastic company that empowers women to run their own businesses. I love that the jewelry is high quality at low prices, plus all pieces come with a lifetime guarantee! Right now, we are having a sale on all necklaces and bracelets – 25% off until Halloween – the links will take you directly to my online boutique.

To benefit Breast Cancer Awareness Month, special charity charm necklaces are available and 20% of proceeds are donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition to benefiting a good cause, these sweet necklaces come with different stamped charms, great for yourself or a gift for someone who may need Love, Peace, Faith, to Believe, be Brave, or just to Dream. They are only $33 with the current special!

I encourage you to look through your jewelry collection (if you have one!) and ask yourself: What special meaning, if any, does each piece have for you? Donate or sell any pieces that you don’t feel a connection to. Or have a jewelry swap party with your friends! I love having a pared down selection of the most special pieces that bring me joy, and when I gave away the ones I no longer felt a connection to, I was able to give someone else joy and their own meaning to cherish.

One of my earliest memories is pilfering through my Grandma Wood’s collection of costume jewelry. I adored trying on her fun and sparkly baubles, some fashionable and most antique. I have a ring from her that I was able to pick out after she died and every time I wear it I absolutely feel her energy through it. It has the most calming pink mixed with almost purple swirls on a simple yet elegant stone, nothing flashy, but beautifully unique.

My favorite necklace is also one of hers. It is a shiny antique gold with stunning purple amethyst stones and gold chains hanging down that curve up just above my navel. It makes me happy when I wear it – it’s so distinctly 70s and I try to picture where she would have worn it to. It makes it that much more special to me that it belonged to her. I even have some lovely jewelry that was my Grandmother Marston’s, a perfect reflection of her simple aesthetic in contrast with Grandma Wood’s sparkles.

Sometimes I worry that the joy jewelry brings me is superficial and hollow. My heart was definitely not in it when pain, suffering, death and sadness was at the forefront these last few months. Finding joy in wearing Marian’s jewelry has rekindled what is to me, at my core, a way I can still feel a connection with someone after they’re gone. I also believe that it’s okay if I love shiny, sparkly things!

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