I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
My journey with jewelry began in high school. I started to wear big, bold earrings, chunky necklaces, and clunky bracelets. I can remember a classmate of mine sitting behind me in Algebra II flicking my dangly earrings. I'm sure it would have gotten on my nerves had he not been really cute! ;-)
Of course, one of my most precious pieces of jewelry is my wedding ring. Ed proposed to me in a most romantic way that only alumni or current students of Miami University would understand - under the Upham Arches. We were married in 1989, and I remember how that marriage was sealed when he slipped the wedding band on next to the engagement ring. In 2006, that ring set, which was beautiful and chosen by him and his father, broke. He redesigned it for me, using the original diamonds, and said I could only have it if he gave it to me under the Upham Arches again - twist my arm! Unlike the first time, my girls were there!
When I was a teacher in the 90s, I fell prey to the themed jumpers and had earrings to match (cows for my farm jumper, Santa Claus teddy bears for my Christmas jumper, ABCs for my school jumper - you get the picture). There was also the jewelry-making phase. I had multiple kits - the tiny pliers, beads, cords, earring backs, etc. Here you go, Leigh Anne:
A Christmas jumper! Unfortunately, I didn't have my Santa Clause earrings in, but I have on a handmade angel pin!
Another phase I went through was with Brighton. My girlfriends and I take a girls' trip every summer. We started this tradition when I lived in Pittsburgh. We'd go to Nemacolin Woodland Resort, and there was little shop there that carried Brighton. We all loved it and started buying a piece every time we went. We also asked for it on birthdays, Mother's Day, and Christmases! We even won a picture contest one year with them because I sent a picture in of Karan and me wearing lots of it. Brighton sent us a $200 gift certificate!
My aunts and cousin were also jewelry fans. My aunts always wore stylish, artsy necklaces. My cousin, Erika, started a website called The Sparrow's Nest Studio in which her handmade jewelry's proceeds go to help combat human trafficking. My friend, Karan, also makes jewelry. She used to sell it on Etsy, but has concentrated on her pottery, so no longer does that. We get the benefit of her artistic pieces, though, as gifts!
The jewelry journey continues...my roommate from college, who is still one of my best friends, decided to sell Silpada several years ago, and I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. I loved Silpada jewelry and had a lot of fun holding home parties and collecting many of their pieces. I stopped having parties because of the extra time it took, but I still enjoy layering the jewelry I got and adding new pieces every once in a while. Annie once invited me to a fused glass blowing workshop in Pittsburgh. We had fun with that - we made a few of the more successful pieces into jewelry. For her 40th birthday, her talented artist friends and fellow jewelry enthusiasts made her an amazing necklace of words we sent in that describe Annie. It was beautiful!
This brings me to my newest interest. For Christmas, a sixth grade student gave me this bangle:
I liked it so much, I looked up the website of the company that made it, Alex and Ani. I had never heard of it before, and I was instantly hooked on the company's positive message. Charity is a big part of its mission. The first video is the company's story, and the other two are about its charity missions. I included Living Water International, specifically, because water charities are something I've been involved with lately.
See why I'm becoming a fan of Alex and Ani jewelry? When my family and I were in St. Kitts, I decided I wanted to buy another bangle and begin a collection. I chose this sailboat one since it had to do with water, and we were visiting an island. When I told my mom about it, she was intrigued, and looked it up. She discovered its meaning. It goes right along with my OLW this year: JOURNEY! I love it! The jewelry journey continues...
A sailboat symbolizes peace in times of change. Representing courage through transitional times, sailboats also symbolize the breath of the Holy Spirit. Wear the sailboat to celebrate the adventurous spirit that keeps you moving.
*I'm adding this as an after-thought: I thought of another jewelry journey from the 80s! I had a very preppy best friend in high school who I loved and still keep in touch with on Facebook. She was the quintessential prep, and I tried to emulate her style. Penny loafers, Keds, Izod, Laura Ashley, Sperry, Talbots, and Ralph Lauren - you name it. Argyle crew-necks, pink sweaters tied around the neck over a polo with pop up collars, the whole works. I LOVED her style. She had an Add-a-Bead necklace - remember those? Of course, I had to follow suit!