Yours Truly - OG Little Gem
Every parent says they don’t have a favorite child. Being the elder of two and the only daughter, it’s my duty to conclude that I am obviously the favorite child. Much like there are favorite children, I have favorite jewelry pieces that get all my love and attention (insert obvious jewelry babies joke here). None of these pieces could cut glass, or require a Brinks truck for transportation, but they are all invaluable to me. These are their stories.
As I’ve alluded to, my maternal grandmother, Isabel, had a big influence on my fascination with jewelry. I have memories of being with her when I was young; the kind of memories when you can’t recall your exact age, but you remember a fuzzy feeling of innocent joy, freedom and curiosity. Like that blissful feeling of being able to run around your backyard on a hot summer day in nothing but your underwear.
My grandparents lived about a 3-hour drive away from us and often came to visit us in the summer, so those warm memories embody their presence in my mind. There are many cherished memories of these visits, but one of the most vivid is the silver bracelet that my grandma always wore.
She had an enormous collection of jewelry, both costume and fine. Her collection filled full-sized chests of drawers, so there were many options in her rotation, but this bracelet was one of her daily pieces. It’s a simple, twisted silver cuff, but when I was younger I was so fascinated with how the metal was twisted like that. During my jewelry design studies I had the chance to recreate that technique and finally found out that it was a simple filing technique. But it didn’t take away from the magic of the bracelet.
That cuff became mine when my grandma passed and my mom and I spent the day going through all of her pieces. Her collection was so vast that her bedroom was essentially transformed into a walk-in jewelry box.
She had more lockets than a pawn shop and every time I came across one I would open it to see what was inside. Sometimes it was a photo of my grandpa, sometimes it was the stock photo and sometimes there wasn’t anything inside. But there was one locket that I came across and instantly fell in love with. It had an antique feel, with beautiful etchings on the front and when I opened it, there was a picture of 2-year-old me inside grinning back. That very girl who used to run through the sprinkler in her Care Bear underwear.
The locket didn’t have a chain with it, so I slipped it on the chain of another special necklace that was given to me by my mom to wear on my eighth-grade graduation, wrapping up three known generations in one necklace.
I love that jewelry can be simultaneously beautiful and also magically mechanical, like a locket that holds a story inside, or my little purse necklace that slides open to reveal an evil eye bracelet.
When I was leaving Toronto to move to New York, some very close colleagues generously gave me this red evil eye bracelet. They all had matching mini ones, but figured that I was going to need an oversized one to take on NY.
Being an optimistic skeptic, I didn’t adhere too closely to the whole warding off evil thing, but I did start to notice that whenever I wasn’t wearing the bracelet, bad things would happen. So of course, from then on, I had to wear it all the time. Until it broke. So now it lives in a woven silver purse necklace that was a gift to myself. I’m no longer as crazy about needing the evil eye on me at all times, but I do still make sure I have it on me whenever I’m flying.
Everyone who knows me well knows that I’m pretty much impossible to buy for. I know what I like and I’ve been *told* I can be picky (who me?!). So naturally many of my favorite pieces are self-love pieces. My silver ring, black diamond ring and silver beaded bracelet were all self-gifted while traveling, which I always feel is the best way to take a trip home with you.
I bought the silver ring at a young designers’ market in Nolita on a trip to New York with my childhood best friends in 2010, before I had moved to the city. Since then I can count the days on one hand (ring pun!) that I haven’t worn it. I love this idea of a piece you wear every. single. day. Something that is so you it starts to feel like a part of your physical being. Now that I don’t see those best friends as often, that ring is a reminder that they’re not as far as they feel.
I fell in love with the bracelet as soon as I saw it at the silver market in Mexico City. I was there with a good friend to celebrate my birthday and we completely fell in love with the city. If you haven’t been, go! Now!
Everything about that trip was perfect. My birthday is in January and after enough blizzards and sub-zero temperatures had snowed on my birthday parades over the years, I vowed to escape winter and celebrate my birthday without needing snow shoes. Sure enough, while I was in Mexico, New York was hit with a massive snow storm that we completely missed.
We stayed at Hotel Condesa DF, which was definitely the move for New Yorkers in Mexico City. Memories of al fresco breakfasts and rooftop margaritas, wandering through Chapultapec Park, Parque Mexico and of course Frida Kahlo’s home are all highlights. So, every time I wear the bracelet I get those special travel feels back. I love how it feels like a giant silver, beaded friendship bracelet. And I was queen of the friendship bracelet back in my camp days, so…
Finally, my last and newest daily piece is my black and white diamond band. I found this gem while visiting London. My travel rule is usually to visit a place I haven’t been to before, but London is one of those cities that pulls you back for more no matter how many times you’ve been; there’s always something new to explore.
I’ve also recently gotten over that unwarranted anxiety (and self-judgment!) of traveling alone, so when my wanderlust kicked in back in late 2016, as it often does, London was the answer. Full disclosure, I had a friend there at the time (shout out Sarah!), so it wasn’t fully solo, but it was the best of both worlds: I could explore whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, but could also connect with a familiar face when I craved.
Solo travel is like cilantro: some people love it and some people hate it. As an Aquarius, I find it truly liberating to spend some time in delicious solitude in a foreign city. It makes you feel more like a local, it forces you to rely on your own problem solving skills when you get lost and it gives you a badass opener when you strike up a convo with random strangers, which you absolutely should do. In short, traveling in the company of yourself is kind of like when you were a kid and you finally learned how to tie your shoe: “Look mom, I did it all by myself!”
In my opinion, there is no better place to get lost in London alone than at Liberty, the storied luxury department store. The building’s Tudor style makes it look like a gingerbread house and it is definitely full of goodies. Of course, I went straight for their jewelry department. While I had no intention of buying anything, I visited this black and white diamond band from Annoushka three times before I decided it was the perfect memento to celebrate my independence. I’m a big fan of buying local while traveling and so this design from London born and based Annoushka Ducas, who also founded Links of London, really spoke to me. It complements my collection and is my daily reminder to keep doing instead of waiting.
So those are the pieces that help tell the story of me. They all happen to be silver, but I’m actually a big fan of mixing silver and gold together and do it regularly. More on that later. For now, thanks for peeping my pieces!