The Story Telling Power of Jewellery
May is National Share a Story Month and, as stories are central to the Wild & Fine philosophy, we decided we could not let the month go by without marking it in some way. One of the reasons that everyone on the team loves “real” jewellery is that the durable nature of precious metals and gemstones mean that we all have key pieces that have been on adventures and are invested with important memories.
To celebrate National Share a Story Month, each member of the team has written the story behind their most precious jewels, exploring the memories they evoke and the people that we recall when we wear them.
One of my all-time favourite books is ‘The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins. Given a copy by my grandmother, it quickly became a well-read and dog-eared tome and subsequently influenced my interest in gemstones and, of course, one of my favourites, the moonstone.
Fast-forward a few years, and to my delight when my husband proposed to me, it was with a handmade 18ct gold & moonstone ring created by a local jeweller. Not only was I delighted with this personalised ring, but I also became fascinated with how it was made. At this point I had not so much as picked up a blowtorch, but it spurred me to sign up for a beginners jewellery course and well, the rest is history....
Last month marked the 10th anniversary of the death of my mum’s mum. When my brother and I were children, she and my grandfather (who we called ‘Ancient’ because he didn’t like any of the customary names for grandpas) lived four doors up the road from us, our houses book-ending the terrace of five 16th Century cottages.
We had an easy-going relationship with them, built on love and great affection, but sustained by their proximity and the fact that they had a TV and exciting snacks, neither of which were available in our house. Even after my parents bought a TV (after I had moved out to go to university), I would still go up the road to watch programmes with grandma when I was home for the holidays.
When I look back at our relationship now, I appreciate how little my grandparents asked of me. Aside from remembering my manners, I didn’t have to do or be anything other than myself with them. Home was for homework and household chores and planning the rest of my week/year/life. Grandma’s house was a space where just being me was enough and watching cartoons, vintage musicals and, later, Neighbours and Home & Away, was all I had to do. If I wish one thing for my sons, it’s that they can find a space like this as they grow up.
I have a sapphire and champagne diamond ring that was once my grandmother’s, which I wear every day and rarely remove. The stones are simply set in a rub over setting and, whilst the diamonds sparkle, there are very visible inclusions and imperfections in them that significantly reduce the ring’s market value. The sapphire is a bit battered and I keep wondering whether to get it re-polished or replaced with a new one. But then I remember how nice it feels to be treasured just as you are, and I know that I will keep it as it is.
It has been 17 years since my grandma's death. I was very young when she died, but I still have fond memories of playing with all of her fancy scarves, making forts or just playing dress up with her jewellery. We all moved to Spain together as a family but, shortly after my nan passed away, we got robbed and all of my mother’s jewellery was taken. The most sentimental pieces, passed down from her mum, were sitting in her jewellery box the day it happened and we lost all of them. Fortunately my mum never removed her mother's engagement ring, so one treasured item that used to belong to my nan did make it through such a horrible time.
A couple of years ago my mum had the ring cleaned up professionally and passed it down to me. I love wearing it and, when I do, I'm always reminded of her love and the bond between my mum and her mum, which will never be forgotten and can never be taken from us.
When I think about key pieces of jewellery that I have worn over the years, they all evoke memories of friends and travel. There are three pieces that instantly come to mind.
The first is a small beaded jade necklace that was given to me in India as a parting gift by a group of fellow travellers. I was 20 and travelling on my own, so the people I met along the way became my family for the short time we were together. I wore the necklace for years until it broke and it now sits in a little Indian papier-mâché pot.
The next piece is a silver St Christopher that was given to me by a close friend to keep me safe on my travels in Africa. When my best friend’s daughter decided to go off to Indonesia for six months, I passed the St Christopher onto her to keep her safe. It is very endearing to see photos of Ruby wearing the St Christopher and it reinforces the connection I have with her, whilst simultaneously recalling the travels I undertook wearing that same talisman.
Finally, when I started to work for Wild & Fine, I was instantly drawn to the starfish charm and it was the first piece I purchased. I have worn it everyday since and it reminds me of the first time I saw a starfish, when I was snorkelling in the Philippines.