The Ambiguity of Jewelry

The Ambiguity of Jewelry

Jewelry's Intrinsic Value - Our Second Skin

The stories and the emotions connected to our jewelry make our pieces not only unique, but also priceless to each of us. Whether it's those gemstone earrings we received on our anniversary or the chotskie bangle we bought with a girlfriend in Bangladesh; a deep meaning often emerges beyond the pieces' beauty and monetary value.

When we look at a piece of jewelry we immediately size it up: Is it attractive?  Is it wearable? Is it trendy, classic or niche? For connoisseurs, a piece of jewelry is respected for its craftsmanship, rarity and/or artistic execution.  These are all legitimate ways to value a piece of jewelry - but what about connection?  Jewelry has an intrinsic value that transforms into a meaningful part of our essence.  Most of us have those special pieces that we find ourselves wearing all of the time - if not every day. The opportunity to design pieces that resonate in someone's life is an important reason why I chose to become a jewelry designer.

Jewelry Creates A Connection Between Time & People

We've all heard of the many jewelry pieces that resale at auction houses for waaay more than their dollar value simply because of the back story that goes along with the piece. We are constantly labeling ourselves as a materialistic culture, but in our defense, we are also an emotional and feeling people who love a good story whether we are a part of it or not. We desire connection and want to hold onto special moments and replay them in our hearts. Perhaps sometimes the closest we can get to connecting is through a material object. Why else would Czechoslovakian glass beads valued at $500-$700 sell for $211,500?

Jackie Kennedy wearing triple strand pearl necklace

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was famous for her triple strand of faux pearls (painted Czechoslovakian glass beads).  These were the pearls she was photographed wearing time and time again.  You could almost say they were her second skin.  In 1996 Franklin Mint purchased the necklace at Sotheby's Auction House for $211,500. The actual value of the triple strand was $500-$700.

Pablo Picasso's 18k gold Sun Pendant owned by Paloma Picasso

One of Paloma Picasso's most favorite pieces is an oversized 20 karat gold sun that her father Pablo Picasso made for her mother. 

Jewelry For Pleasure

Coco Chanel wearing matching white enamel Vedura cuffs with gemstone encrusted maltese crosses

Coco Chanel photographed by Man Ray in 1935

White matching Vedura cuff bracelets with jewel encrusted maltese crosses

Coco Chanel was rarely seen without her famous Maltese cross cuffs which were designed by Madame Chanel and made by Italian jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura.  Chanel, herself, felt that jewelry wasn't about it's dollar value, but to find pleasure and enjoy the beauty of adorning oneself whether it be real or fake jewelry (to read the full story about Chanel's Vedura Cuffs, read The Story of Vedura's Maltese Cross Cuffs, by Marion Fasel).

Elizabeth Taylor wearing diamond necklace from Richard Burton

Elizabeth Taylor's stunning jewelry collection had handfuls of extravagant pieces and a story to go with each.  From the pear shaped diamond pendant she received from Richard Burton that she wore to the academy awards - to the Krupp diamond ring (also from Burton), Taylor's jewelry was undeniably a part of her essence.

The next time you are sorting through your jewelry, pay special attention to your emotions as you pass over certain pieces. You might be surprised how much you value some of those baubles because of their meaning and not for the price tag.

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