jewelry opinions, part 1 - a visit to Aladdin's cave

By the time I'd finished school, my jewelry collection, such as it was, was items others had wished on me. Despite best intentions of family, friends, boyfriends and a (brief) fiance, nothing was something I'd have chosen myself. I had a gold charm bracelet that featured jobs and professions that held no interest for me, places I never wanted to go and events I had no desire to commemorate. Never wore it as a kid, never wore it as an adult, couldn't throw it out. When someone who loves you and wants to please you gets it wrong, it's painful. Same for the pearls for graduation; every female in the family had a string. I'd have preferred a giant 3-language dictionary, but the little string of pearls meant more to the giver. Same for the "tributes" from hopeful young males that should have come with magnifying glasses.

Epiphany! Clutching a paycheck, I walked past a clothing store and over to 47th Street. We pause for a quick lesson: 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues is called the Diamond District. This doesn't tell you enough. You can buy anything made of decorative minerals, at almost any price. Every window glitters with gold, silver, platinum; you like enamel? you like coats of arms carved into old stones (even tho it's not your family, that griffin is sooo cute!) -- you like last year's Tiffany catalog? keep going!

Pick a nice-looking storefront towards the middle of the block (overhead is higher at the corners), and step inside: each counter is a different business. Each business has a different specialty: antique jewelry, repairs, vintage charms, name designers, really good copies (18K gold without the signature)...

If someone looks like they're not busy, slow down and start a conversation by explaining that you came in to learn. And learn you will. And remember what you've learned when you troll EBay for Signed Tiffany Earrings....

Now about those graduation presents. One of the most important things I learned on my lunch hours among the minerals is that almost all jewelry can be recycled, one way or another. The 16" string of pearls looked skimpy with grown-up clothes, but worn with a v-neck and holding a pendant, quite nice.

Obviously this kind of fooling around with what you already have - or figuring out what you can buy to make something wearable of stuff you already have - can be done without a trip to New York. The trip to New York is a little more fun, but excavating your jewelry box and the pockets of old jackets is probably more practical.
Oh, and here's a pendant that looked lost on a gold chain, out of place on a leather thong, and quite happy on a string of red beads:

1 comment:

  1. Southern Belle Ph.D.April 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM


    Thanks for sharing. I enjoy learning about life in New York and your ideas as well. I truly LOVE pearls. Maybe a southern thing but I love my MMs, my JC freshwaters, and Brooks Brothers glass pearls. I am a pearl girl for dress, tees, and sweatshirts!

    Look forward to part 2!!


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