Thursday 31st July 2014
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Ten Thousand Things: an homage and a very exciting giveaway

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Before Ten Thousand Things became part of my life, I never quite related to the peculiar kind of spell that comes over a women when she encounters a ring, or a bangle, or a pendant she needs suddenly and desperately to own. But  that’s because previous to Ten Thousand Things, I never quite understood jewelry’s power to transform. No other adornment is nearly so personal, or has the capacity to make us feel not just prettier or more stylish, but actually more self-assured and stronger, too. David Rees and Ron Anderson, the designers behind Ten Thousand Things, have gotten this from the start. Their shapes are very feminine and organic, and elegant as the day is long. You feel more like a woman the moment you put them on.

susan s

Which is probably why they’ve managed to amass one very fabulous following—several members of which agreed to be shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for a special 20th Anniversary portfolio featuring special one-of-a-kind pieces—which are all being auctioned to the charity of the wearer’s choice.

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How fantastic does dancer/writer/all around legend Heather Watts look here? There are some hot young cookies in this portfolio (Kristen Stewart, a couple of super-big models), but to me, the most compelling shots are all of ladies who’ve been kicking around the block a for a bit. You look in their eyes, and you just know there’s something interesting going on behind them.

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And now we get to celebrate too! In honor of their big birthday, Ron and David (who, full disclosure, are my pals, and two of the loveliest and deathly funny guys  this town has ever seen) have given me this gorgeous keshi pearl necklace to give away to one very lucky reader. All you need to do is describe in the comments below the most meaningful piece of jewelry you own. Those of you who don’t wear jewelry can get creative and describe anything in your life that has tailsman-like powers. Deadline is noon Thursday.

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Posted on February 25th, 2013 207 Comments

207 Responses

  1. leahz says:

    I have an vintage enamel butterfly that belonged to my grandmother. Sounds tacky, but its not one of those cloisonné 70s butterfly’s. It came from Korea in the early 20th century and every time I wear it I think of my lovely, quirky grandmother. It sustains my memory of her and makes me feel wonderful.

  2. Angela says:

    My husband gave me a diamond necklace for my 40th birthday. I’m not usually into diamonds, but he chose three diamond of different sizes and had them set in a circle: The biggest from him, and two smaller diamonds from each of our children. It was a sweet gesture.

  3. Kara says:

    My cherished jewelry is a sterling silver Swiss cross necklace I bought from Tiffany & Co. when I turned 25 (the pendant is shaped like the Swiss Flag logo). It’s important to me for several reasons: I had never owned anything nice, jewelry-wise, and it was my first piece of jewelry that was a splurge and therefore special; I had just successfully negotiated myself a promotion at work (I am very shy so this was a big deal) and was very happy with myself for stepping up and sticking to my guns; I have loved that symbol of the Swiss cross since I was a kid; and I just gotten dumped and needed a pick me up. I wear that necklace every year on my birthday because it reminds me that I am independent, smart and hard-working, and deserve to treat myself sometimes! Everyone does and should, regardless of how (fresh flowers do the job every time for me).

  4. Daffodil says:

    It’s cliche, I know, to say that my wedding band is my most meaningful piece of jewelry. But it also happens to be true. There are ten tiny diamonds channel set into the band. The diamonds came from a ring my husband’s grandfather gave his wife for their twentieth anniversary. (They were married for 55 years.) Grandpa died before my husband and I met, but Grandma lived to see us get married, and the way she looked at this ring and at my husband and me, I knew she was happy about where her diamonds had ended up. I am too, but I’m even happier about where I ended up. And I think of that every day I put on my ring.

  5. Sara C. says:

    Certainly my engagement ring – it’s a tension set diamond in a sleek, modern setting. Cool part is, the stone itself came from a two-diamond ring once owned by my husband’s great-grandmother, and my sister-in-law wears the other one.

    But I also love this long, gold necklace with a small, enameled, filigree egg on the end, which came from my grandmother’s Russian family.

  6. laura says:

    I have a ring that is a mace. It has this wonderful weight to it, so that when I wear it I also feel it. And the feeling is confidence. I love it!
    (It also secretly reminds me of Hawk Girl, a most favorite superhero. I can hear her saying “less talking, more hitting” and it works like a charm on my overly reserved tendencies.)

  7. Achariya says:

    Yesterday I bought a house. I went to unlock the door for the first time (quite a moment), when a neighbor interrupted me by hollering cheerfully across the street. (This is normal, I live in the south.)

    I went to greet her. Within minutes, she reached for my neck.

    “What’s that?” She asked, reaching to touch my pendant.

    I stepped back reflexively, covering it with my hand. I am Thai, and all Thai people wear Buddhas on necklaces, much like Catholics might wear a cross. This one is tiny, a Buddha carved in stone set in a gold encasement, dangling from the thinnest gold chain. It’s from the Wat (temple) where my grandfather is buried.

    I was reluctant to go into it. Sometimes I can summarize all that in a sentence or two, and sometimes not. But she noticed my hesitation and laughed.

    “Ah — I won’t touch it, sorry.”

    “It’s a holy symbol from Thailand,” I explained.

    She got it, so I suppose I can move in now.

  8. Janet says:

    My engagement rings – they are vintage wedding rings from my family (there are two of them). I had to have them sized and made sure to keep the initials and dates that were inscribed. The history of them and the memory of getting engaged make them really special to me.

  9. Rachael says:

    My grandmother was a world traveler and picked up all sorts of interesting things everywhere she went. At some point in the early ’80s, I’m not sure where she was headed but she got stranded in Ethiopia for a week. She of course explored the markets she found there, and ended up buying a gorgeous, heavy, amber and silver necklace that must weigh over two pounds. When I turned eighteen, she let me pick a piece of jewelry from her collection, and while I could have picked from Cartier and Tiffany pieces that Granddad had given her, this piece she wore a lot and she had found herself on her travels and so meant way more to me, and to her (she commented on my good taste when I picked it). I can’t wear it all that often because two pounds of amber and silver are a bit heavy for my neck, but every time I look at it, I think of her and her fearless adventures. If I can be half as adventurous as she was, I’ll be doing great.

  10. marjorie says:

    I love that this is tagged “Badasses.”

    My fave is my grandfather’s watch. He died before I was born, and now my dad is gone too. Here’s my grandfather on his honeymoon w/Grandma, a cruise to bermuda in 1938: http://www.flickr.com/photos/snarly/4968040850/ — you can see the watch on his wrist. It’s engraved on the back “To Morris from Saul and Zelda, 1925″ (could I possibly BE more Jewish?). It was in honor of his graduation from college in an era of MAJOR quotas. Despite the barriers, he went on to med school and become a doctor who made house calls and treated poor families and everyone loved him. He died when my dad was only 15. I love it because it’s a gorgeous watch, a symbol of a family member I never got to meet, and a nice reminder that comparatively speaking, whatever I’m bitching about at any given time isn’t that big a deal.

  11. Karen says:

    The last proper vacation I got to take with my mother was to Portugal. Through distant relations, we got to stay at a cousin’s (sort of cousin, anyway) house in the Algarve.

    My mom, at the time, had put cancer into full retreat. She was still wearing wigs — the crazier, the better — but she was healthy, for the first time in years.

    We — she, me, a cousin and an aunt — ended up at a little store that sold mostly trifles, nothing of any real value. We all bought a few things, happy to be able to bring home cute and brightly colored souvenirs.

    My mom bought a ring, with a green stone stone set against silver. Nothing special, and certainly not valuable. But when she bought it, she made sure it fit both of us, because, as she said “You’re going to remember a lot of things, but I hope you remember the fun we had today, too.”

    Shortly before she died, almost 14 years ago now but then only 2 years since our last trip together, she gave it to me. Battling invasive cancer that was eating away at her brain, she said she wanted to give it to me while she could see, understand and remember my reaction.

    My reaction, of course, was grotesque sobbing. But I understood. And I would not have had it any other way.

    I wear the ring when I can bear to, as proudly as I wear my few expensive pieces. As she died, after she died, I learned that “precious” and “priceless” are truly in the eye of the beholder.

  12. Bex says:

    I often wear 2 rings that belonged to my mom. One is a delicate gold band with channel-set diamonds and emeralds. The other is a very heavy silver knot-work ring. I jokingly refer to the big silver one as “mama’s slappin’ ring”, not because she ever physically slapped us, but because she did NOT suffer fools gladly and never hesitated to verbally slap someone down if they were being a jerk. When I wear those rings, I feel that I’m channeling some of her poise and power.

  13. Camille says:

    My favorite piece of jewelry is one I bought for myself in Santa Fe about 15 years ago. It is the work of the amazing silversmith James Faks, and it fits my hand as though it was made for me. It’s simple, elegant and still very a very strong form; I like that it does all those things (like so much of James’s work) so well.

    It also marked the transition from one rather hellish moment in my life to a much more beautiful one. So I cherish it. I don’t wear it every day–almost–but I do feel less like myself without it.

  14. yunah says:

    back in the early 90′s i was working as a junior associate at a law firm on 5th ave. after a long closing, that capped off many 70 hr weeks, smoky conference rooms, reflexive sexism & tears in bathroom stalls, i went to saks & bought a jordan schlanger silver bangle. very simple, organic shape, embellished with an 18k gold cube. it was almost the cost of my monthly student loan payment. i had a scarlett @ tara moment – i vowed never to work at a firm, at a job that made me cry, for people who were so casually cruel. i kept my promise & i still wear that bangle every day.
    thanks for this post kim, i love TEN THOUSAND THINGS & visited their beautiful store when i was in nyc. those 2 guys are beyond brilliant.

  15. Laura says:

    When my grandmother passed away, I inherited her wedding silver. One little teaspoon had been through a terrible ordeal in the garbage disposal, so my silversmith friend cut off the bowl and turned the (undamaged) handle into a ring for me. I realized after a little while that when I looked at that ring, I didn’t just think of my grandmother. I could see the faces of all the people (grandparents, mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends) who gathered around her table over the years. It’s a memento of my entire family.

  16. kbrooke says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is the delicate silver rosary my grandmother left me in her will. She died when I was in third grade; a few weeks later it simply turned up, wordlessly, on my nightstand. My family is mysterious like that.

    When I hit my 20s and formally declared myself a lapsed Catholic, I started wearing it as a necklace. (Also because Madonna gave me an excuse.) If I had to defend myself, I would say I consider it both a feminine and feminist statement. But really, it’s just a beautiful, unique, and sentimental object that I can’t stand to leave packed away in the tiny gold coffin it came to me in.

    My grandmother’s initials are engraved on the back of the crucifix, and I like having this bit of her out in the world and close to me, even though–or because–I can barely remember what she looked like. Probably if she saw me wearing her rosary, she would dutifully tell me I was going to hell. I allow myself to think she’d secretly admire me for it.

  17. tc-cat says:

    Easy – the engagement ring my father-in-law made for me. He was a dental technician who mostly made teeth for a living, but would play around with gold, silver, and other filling materials for fun when he had some down time. My fiance had almost no money, and certainly not enough for a diamond, so instead he had his dad make a ring with the flowers of our home states, and a heart uniting them. It’s beautiful, and a lovely memorial to my father-in-law, a dear man who has since passed away.

  18. Maria says:

    I think my most meaningful piece of jewelry is my wedding ring – a not-terribly expensive silver ring with a running celtic knot pattern. My husband and I were married in Edinburgh, Scotland, where we were living, and didn’t have much money, so we bought simple silver rings. All these years later, I have more expensive jewelry, not not more beloved jewelry.

  19. Rene says:

    I am lucky enough to have a ring from each of my 2 grandmothers and 2 great-grandmothers all of whom I remember. None of them were wealthy, so the rings are simple, a diamond chip here, a garnet there, some seed pearls. My great-grandmother’s wedding ring was a simple gold band, now worn quite thin on one side, a reminder of how long she wore it and the hard work she did while wearing it. My grandmother’s 50th wedding anniversary ring has their wedding date engraved inside (which recently won me a family trivia contest, as I was the only one who remembered their exact wedding date and year). When I look at these rings, I don’t just see them on my hand, but on theirs as well and I remember where I came from and the women who helped make me who I am today. When I’m going through anything difficult or sad, I look at the rings and remember some of their life experiences (my great grandmother lost her mother at a very young age to murder. She outlived 2 husbands and 2 of her 3 children. And I never once heard her complain that life isn’t fair.) Suddenly my life seems quite easy by comparison. Anyone else wouldn’t look twice at these rings, they lack any “wow” factor. But to me they are the loveliest rings I’ve seen.

    • Viajera says:

      Great story! You’re very lucky, too. I only got to know one of my grandmothers.

      • Rene says:

        Thanks, I really do feel lucky. And I’m hoping their genetic gift for living long healthy lives is passed down to me too! :-)

  20. Jenn says:

    I’m lucky to have several beautiful inherited pieces of jewelry, which all provide this indelible connection to loved ones in my family… But my most meaningful piece jewelry is probably one I purchased for myself. After collecting antique pieces for almost a decade, but on a very limited budget, I finally splurged on a Georgian ring that had been tempting me for years. It took me almost a year to pay off, but ring is so special that I would have waited even longer! The ring from about 1780, and has what was once a common shape: two hearts joined by a diamond crown. I wear it often, and every time I do, I daydream stories about who made it and the ladies whose fingers it adorned; about how it has been spending its days over these past 200 years (!!) until it showed up on my doorstep.

    Also, I’m completely gaga over Ten Thousand Things. I first read about them ages ago, I think when Keri Russell was photographed wearing a beatiful necklace of theirs. That pearl piece is supremely lovely!

  21. Kathryn says:

    For college graduation, my aunt and uncle gave me gold earrings – simple lever backs with gold balls. Five years later, my apartment was broken into and all of my jewelry (mostly cheap costume jewelry, let’s be honest, but also my grandmother’s cameo ring, my 16th birthday ruby ring, and the big opal I bought for myself when I got my first raise) was stolen. My gold earrings were the only things that survived. I don’t outwardly believe in luck, but I like to think that my little gold earrings are somewhat lucky. They were with all my other jewelry and yet somehow they were left behind for me to enjoy today, fifteen years later.

  22. Jessica B says:

    My most prized piece of jewelry is, rather boringly, my engagement ring. Boring answer, but not a boring little ring! It’s a sapphire surrounded my diamonds. My husband looked for the right ring (he’s quite particular) for months before finding this one. He ordered it and proposed to me the day it arrived. He loves it just as much as I do, still. He’ll casually ask if I’ve cleaned it recently, or if anyone’s commented on it lately. He’s such a pain in the ass, but he’s all mine!

  23. Margo says:

    I’m a flea market gal who loves old things. Sentimental, too. Dangerously close to 50, I’ve amassed a collection of jewelry where each piece tells a story. My lifestyle is not nearly cool enough that I have places to wear these things anymore. Still, I love them and look forward to passing items along to my two daughters and niece. While not necessarily the most meaningful, a chunky, sterling, men’s Claddagh ring has special powers. Years ago, I attended a Q&A where my beloved Gabriel Byrne was speaking. He wore a substantial Claddagh (among other beautiful jewelry) and I decided I needed one too. It was very difficult to find but after a few years and a persistent search, eBay came through. Wearing it connects me to my Irish heritage and huge, lasting crush on Mr. Byrne. P.S. KBrooke, I have a similar story, a sterling rosary that belonged to my devout Irish grandma. So lovely and delicate, it’s a necklace now as well. Cheers!

    • Kbrooke says:

      Wow you are the first person I know of who also has one of those rosaries. It’s a real treasure, isn’t it? Nice to know you wear yours too. I do get flak for it once in a while but hey, I know my own heart. May yours continue to give you much joy as well!

  24. asheisele says:

    A gorgeous simple Tiffany necklace from my husband who has never bought me jewelry before. Hilariously, he FOUND a Tiffany band in the dirt on a vacation of ours & it fit my finger perfectly. I was so tickled over his discovery that he decided he had to actually buy me something to match so he could take full responsibility for my joy. He’s a good one.

  25. Cate says:

    The most important piece of jewelry to me is actually a piece that disappeared out of my life. It was stolen a few years ago. Picture a oval-shaped opal surrounded by smaller opals, it was a ring my mother bought it for herself when she and my father divorced, a symbol to her that she was going to make it on her own. She gave it to me when I turned 21, setting off, with my spanking new degree and a couple of suitcases, to try to make it in NYC. She told me that though opals were considered to be unlucky by some, this ring had always bought her luck. My mother died a few years ago. I often imagine the ring, and wish I had it to pass on to my niece when she turns 21.

  26. Jana says:

    My mother died when I was a teenager, so my most precious piece of jewelry–indeed, the most precious thing I own–is her wedding ring. It’s simple and elegant, and every time I look at it, I feel her warm spirit.

  27. Rebecca D says:

    My most cherished item ever is an antique ring I wear every day that was a great-great aunt’s. It’s classic, delicate, unique and deeply connects me to my mother’s family. I never knew the woman who originally owned it, but when my mom passes, it will remind me of her and her jewelry box forever. It was one of my favorite places as a kid.

  28. Desert Flower says:

    We were 15 years old, our eyes met across the parking lot at A&W where we were in separate cars with separate friends ordering teen burgers and root beers through the drive in speakers. It was summer vacation. Unbeknownst to the other, each of us was convincing our friends to arrange an introduction. We spent the summer together and when fall came and we began to think about being separated, going to different schools and living far apart – at least in the mind of young people without cars – and realized that we were both in love for the first time in our lives. He gave me a promise ring, a thin gold band with the tiniest pearl. It was the first gift of jewelry I’d ever received from a boy, my first boyfriend. Turned out to be my only boyfriend. I married him 5 years later. We are still married and the little pearl ring is still my most precious piece of jewelry. It makes me happy to look at it.

  29. Nan H. says:

    Delurking, lured by the bling!
    And I’m also making this a harder question than it needs to be because I’m ruling out my wedding & engagement rings. They probably are the most meaningful but that’s so obvious, it takes the fun out of it, I think? But then, WHAT A HARD QUESTION this becomes! Almost all of my jewelry is meaningful to me – I’m one of those people to whom jewelry always seems to be THE favored gift to bestow, so I have piles of it. I can be as delighted with a thrift store score as I am with a precious gem.
    I guess I need to answer this by choosing a ring I inherited from my mother’s mother because that’s the one piece of jewelry I’d feel super-devastated to lose. I have no idea what it meant to her but she saved it in her jewel case from her youth when she was considered a ‘beauty’ (and she was). It’s a cameo made of coral set with gold floral leaves and little diamonds and makes me think of her even though I never saw her wearing it.

  30. sara says:

    When in New Orleans a few years ago, I stopped into one of the cheesy little voodoo shops off of Bourbon Street and bought a 99 cent evil eye pendant. It cost next to nothing, and is starting to turn green now after so many years, but I feel completely naked and unprotected without it. Somehow this cheap little charm manages to wrap up everything I loved about that city and the mindset I was in at that time and place, while also giving me great comfort about the future.

  31. mmkay says:

    I love jewellery and wear lots of the staff. As I happen to have awful allergies to anything non pure gold or silver my collection is small but hand picked and very much loved.
    On top of the list is my nose piercing which has been with me for 15 years, half my life that it. It was kind of fuck-you gesture at the time but it grew with me (if that makes any sense) and it’s a part of me and will always be, so when in an incident involving a face towel and a hotel room I watched it go down the drain, I made a bunch of people take the damn thing apart and quite irritated in the process, while sobbing like crazy. I got it back though.
    One that didn’t make it though was a silver snake bracelet, a gift from a beloved cousin-more-like-a-brother, which also had never left me wrist for more than 10 years, but sadly was a victim of car make-out session. I’m still suspicious of the guy, that he found it and kept it or something. I miss it so much.
    There a lot of necklaces in heavy rotation, but probably one of my favorites is a black tourmaline number, another gift from an ex-boyfriend/current-best-friend. It’s beautiful but even more jaw-dropping was the small speech/explanation of its thoughtful choice. You know how guys rarely get gifts right? Yeah, not on that occasion. Kind of restored my faith in men, that thing.
    I could go on…

  32. Robbi says:

    I am fueled by a small rose gold ring with a “P” on it. I believe the “P” stands for Power (not in the religious sense!)and when I wear this ring, I can do whatever it takes. Several years ago, I became so ill with a vestibular disorder that I was unable to get dressed, drive or work for months. It was devastating. Around the same time, my mother in law passed away…a double devastation. I found the “P” ring among her things and when I put it on, I felt the Power! Eventually, I was able to return to work. I wear the “P” ring every day, would not go without it! (In reality, the “P” stands for Plymouth High School but I ignore that fact.)

  33. Nancypie says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is a pink cameo necklace. I’ve never seen another pink cameo. This was my grandmother’s, then my mother’s, and now mine. I have to assume this was I expensive, as my grandparents didn’t have a lot of money, nor the kind of marriage where expensive gifts were given, but the necklace is striking and I receive complimens whenever I wear it.

  34. Kathleen Trail says:

    I have the plain white gold band that was my grandmother’s engagement ring (and for 25 years, her only ring) from 1924. My grandfather engraved the inscription inside himself: “To my Ruth – Always your Leon”

    My grandmother gave it to me, pressing it into my palm with her farm-worn hands and telling me to cherish the 60 years of love and marriage it represented.

    I love it more than I love most things. :)

  35. Julie says:

    Of course, I’d be a meanie if I didn’t say my wedding ring. So, yep… my wedding ring. But also my grandmother’s wedding ring, which to me encompasses all the love of my grandmother and grandfather’s 55 years of marriage, and the legacy of that love… my mom, me, my husband, my daughters. It all started with Alice Jean’s ring, and I’ll cherish it until I die.

  36. Hmm, let’s see. I think it’s the thin silver ring I wear on my right middle finger. It’s a 1921 silver dime, drilled and stretched into a ring. From a distance it looks like plain silver band, but up close you can read “1921″ and “Liberty” on it still. My grandmother was born in 1921 and I think of her every time I look at it.

    It’s also the first “nicer” piece of jewelry I ever bought myself. I got it on my very first trip to NYC in 2001.

  37. Jenny says:

    My Elsa Peretti cross from Tiffany. I bought it for myself right out of college and have worn it for some of the most special moments (my wedding, birth if my daughter). It’s been a constant in my adult life and I love it!

  38. Viajera says:

    Wonderful stories!!! More photos would be nice — you all make me curious to see…

  39. mira says:

    tiny gold heart earrings i got when i was a little girl with even tinier rubies in the centre. they remind me of being a little girl.

  40. Carol in Denver says:

    Once my daughter & I were browsing in antique stores. I exclaimed over the beauty of an old, green, celluloid(?) and brass necklace, long and elaborate.

    Guess what was in my box from her the following Christmas — that treasure of a necklace from my treasure of a daughter.

  41. Edie says:

    Does a watch count as jewelry? I’m thinking probably yes. I love my father’s old Hamilton driving watch. It has an expansion band, and a piece of the “expanse” is missing, so it catches on everything. But never mind. The watch has an odd shape–it’s higher at the 12 ‘clock end than at the 6 o’clock end, so if you were driving (a new, cool sport back in his day), you could just glance at the elevated face of the watch and know the time. My father and I had a challenging relationship. Had you asked me if I would ever want his watch when I was a teen, I’d have given you my best eyeroll and said never. But now I wear it all the time–it seems to look good with everything, which is its own kind of message. And it reminds me of Dad, who loved me.

  42. Trish says:

    What a stunning necklace for the giveaway! I adore 10,000 Things and have for years. I also love freshwater pearls.

    My most treasured piece of jewelry is my engagement ring which my husband got for me (after I proposed!) at the Clay Pot in Brooklyn. It’s simple and understated and I love it.

  43. beth says:

    I’ve always admired my mother in law’s taste. In spite of my not being jewish she has always loved me and accepted me and even gave me a makeover several years ago when she dragged me into Kookai and forced me into some pretty flattering clothing.

    I adore her.

    My favorite piece of jewelry is a very pretty gold ring with tiny diamonds very roughly hewn. I told her I liked it and she took it off her finger and gave it to me.

    Years ago I had Christmas dinner with David and Ron in my friend’s tiny tiny tiny Chelsea apartment. She was always wearing these incredibly delicate beautiful beautiful little things around her neck. Since then I’ve acquired many of their pieces and given my mom some which I inherited back when she died.

    Good luck to the winner! And happy birthday to two people who make startlingly lovely jewelry!!

  44. Lisa says:

    My second wedding ring. I chose a plain band for my wedding day, one that matched my husband’s, determined to prove to the world how practical and unfussy I was. It never felt quite right. I lasted a year with that ring before realizing I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself, and if I wanted something shiny and not-so-utilitarian, just because it made me happy, that that was okay. So I bought myself a sparkler. Ten years later, I still love it. Fortunately, my husband required no upgrades.

  45. Danielle says:

    I’m going to cheat and cite two meaningful pieces of jewelry! Each is from one of my grandmothers, both of whom are amazing, wonderful people (and still very young and vital, in their late 60s/early 70s).

    My two grandmothers could not be more different from one another. One is the kindest and most patient, selfless, innocent-bordering-on-naive person I have ever met. My other grandma, while also kind and selfless, is cynical, foulmouthed, hilarious, and tough as nails.

    I have rings from each of them, and I treasure them both equally. I wear my sweet grandma’s ring, which features a simple setting of a big, beautiful opal that she found in Australia, when I need to call upon my patient, caring side. I wear my cynical grandma’s ring, which is an off-white pearl set between two small diamonds, on days when I feel like I need a bit of an ass-kicking spirit.

    I love starting the day with a conscious reflection on which ring I should wear (and, consequently, which grandma’s personality I want to invoke that day).

  46. Brynn says:

    My husband gave me a watch, which has become the most important piece of jewelry I own after I lost it. I thought I accidentally threw it in the garbage can while I was making dinner. Through the Dept. of Sanitation we were able to locate the truck that picked up our trash and follow it to the dump in NJ. We were given masks and gloves and allowed to search every garbage bag in a hangar for as long as we needed. We found our garbage bag after a long search, but the watch wasn’t there. I was devastated. A week later I took out the cookbook I had used to make dinner and when I opened it up to the page with the recipe there was the watch. I had taken it off to mash the ingredients and put it inside the cookbook. The search for this watch with my husband at the dump through hundreds of bags of garbage in the middle of the night has made this the most meaningful piece of jewelry I own.

  47. BS says:

    Please use these initials… BS

  48. K says:

    I guess it’s cliche, but my favorite jewelry is a necklace that was given to me by a very close friend who was just coming through a very difficult pregnancy, and unbeknownst to us at the time, on the verge of a very serious, and very scary cancer diagnosis.

    It has the initials of my four children on it, and every time I wear it, I not only think of my family, but also of my personal friendships. I feel like it encompasses a larger (and more private) picture of me than anything else I own, and I feel truly touched by those relationships in my life for which I am grateful, every time I put it on.

  49. aiwa says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is a ring I had made from a ring my parents gave me for my M.A. graduation and my parents’ wedding rings. (They got separated after 30 years of marriage and I sort of inherited their wedding bands.) I didn’t really know what to do with the wedding bands, but then two unexpected events happened: My mother died of a stroke and at the same time I received the offer of a tenure-track position in the US (I’m from Europe). So I had that ring made and engraved with the date of my move to the US — new start, new life, but a very visible connection with my old life.

    The piece of jewelry I LOVE the most, however, is a platinum ring I had made for my Ph.D. I don’t come from a background where people have platinum rings, nor Ph.D. degrees, for that matter, but the day I submitted my thesis, I walked into a goldsmith’s studio and asked him to sketch a ring for me. It seemed a very bold and slightly unrational decision. I still love that ring.

  50. Martina says:

    I inherited my grandmother’s engagement ring. My grandfather brought the diamond home from France, after being stationed there in WWI. He gave it to my grandmother, and she wore it on her hand for 82 years,until she passed away at the age of 104. Every time I look at it on my finger, I’m reminded of their love story, and their marriage which lasted for 53 years, and survived the depression, the death of their oldest son, as well as many wonderful times. My grandmother missed him every day for the rest of her life.

  51. Katie Lynn says:

    My favorite piece of jewellery is a little gold ring with a sapphire in it. It belonged to my grandmother and sadly doesn’t fit me (too small for my ring finger and too large for my pinky!). I am torn as to whether to have it re-sized or not.

  52. R says:

    An 18k gold ring with a huge smokey topaz is my favorite piece. It belonged to my great grandmother and I wear it every day. When I wear it I feel a sense of connectedness to the women who have worn it. It is a tangible piece of my life history.

  53. Heather says:

    I’ve worn a small silver ring since I was twelve. It’s a constant companion, shifting fingers only when I have something to remember. The ring itself has changed over the years, but I always buy the simplest, slightest, band possible. It’s nothing much to look at, but it’s part of me now.

  54. Debra says:

    This may sound corny but my favorite is a cheap bracelet of plastic pearls my husband found in the ocean while we were diving in Mexico. I will always remember him swimming up to me with a giant grin on his face and handing it to me as if he had the Hope diamond in his hand. I proudly wear it alongside my “real” jewelry as a reminder that not everything needs to be expensive to be valuable.

  55. Alexa says:

    The wooden St Anthony charm bracelet my cantankerous, terrifying, charming Hungarian grandmother gave me off her skinny arm in the nursing home one day last year, with an eyeroll when I winced at its cheapness.

    ‘It’s not Hermes, but you, my darlink, need him to look after you,’ she said.

    The bracelet is ugly and cheap, and I’m hardly religious, but I’ve found I wear it all the time with my “real” jewellery. Not sure why, because my grandmother is hardly the comforting type, but it comforts me.

  56. Leen says:

    I think the most magical piece I own was a locket that hung on the chain of my great grandfather’s pocket watch. His name was Salvadore Pelligrini, and one side bore his initials while the other had a crescent moon and a star inlaid with tiny diamonds. It was given to him by his parents, who were grocers in the French Market of New Orleans. I love to think of him wearing it each day while walking around the French Quarter in the early twentieth century. Later, my grandmother wore it around her neck, and I would wonder what was hidden in the locket (she never told!). That locket somehow survived Hurricane Katrina, though it floated around in a lockbox in a flooded bank vault for some time. When my grandmother passed it down to me shortly before my wedding, I was speechless. Every time I wear it I am floored by the many layers of the history of my family it represents.

  57. Amy says:

    My wedding ring – a plain, gold band with the very unromantic name of “comfort fit.” After 20 years of marriage, I can honestly say marriage hasn’t been “comfortable” but also never boring. I also am often reminded of the deep love that some rings can carry as my mother-in-law wears three gold bands: the wedding ring of a daughter who died too young, her husband for 55 years who also died, and her current companion of three years.

  58. Dee says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is a simple gold bracelet that’s native to the island of St Croix. Like this: http://i.imgur.com/rQ8H2fk.jpg

    It’s a staple among locals, who wear it to promote their relationship status: single & looking (hook facing outward) or taken (hook facing inward). For me, it has a completely different meaning.

    Our small family – my mom, brother and I – moved to St Croix when I was still a kid, with my new stepfather who, it turns out, was a sad and conflicted man who had a drinking problem. But the island was our playground – I remember dark dark shoulders and bright smiling faces, endless oceans and color everywhere. When their marriage crumbled, we were forced to return to Texas, but by then I was already a woman, I had grown up there. The island and the bracelet for me represent new beginnings, feeling free, and most important, the strength of our little trio – my mother, brother and me.

    We’ve spread out so much since then and it’s rare that we’re all together in the same space anymore. She’s living in Germany and graduating university top of her class at age 54. He’s freshly divorced, still in Texas and re-discovering himself and his music. They both recently visited me here in NYC, and we talked about old times, and what will come next. All three of us were wearing our bracelets.

  59. saintvictoria says:

    I have a 7 band puzzle ring made out of silver, I have had it for over 20 years. It was handmade and means the world to me. Whenever I travel I wear it, and it might not be expensive or flashy but to me it symbolizes me coming to live in America, leaving my whole support system behind, and following my heart. My heart didn’t want anything fancy, but rather a chance to live a life on my terms without the weight of expectation. The ring means all that and more to me. With my ring I have travelled the world, gotten married, gotten divorced, and lived to the fullest.

  60. Kandyce says:

    My Grandpa gave me his wedding band for my 18th birthday. Technically my step grandpa, we blew nuture vs nature right out of the water. Grandpa passed away late last year. My Grandma got rid of everything leaving me with the only one who has something physical to hold onto. So much of who I am is because of him. I plan to give his ring to my step daughter when she is older. Like Grandpa and me, we aren’t blood, but you would never know.

  61. Stacy says:

    My parents divorced when I was eleven but for my 40th birthday my mom gave me her old wedding ring. She had the engagement ring and wedding ring remade into thick gold mesh band with the diamonds from both rings on top. I would never buy a diamond or any ring like his but I wear it all the time. It’s unique.

  62. Shanna says:

    My grandmother was always my biggest hero growing up. She outranked my grandfather in the army, spoke a bajillion languages, and was one of the smartest people I’d ever met. While living in Columbia, my grandfather gave her an emerald and diamond ring as a testament to their love. My mom gave me that ring after my grandmother died and I now wear it as my engagement ring as a symbol of my own great love.

  63. Laura says:

    My favourite piece isn’t expensive by any means, but it’s dear to me. It’s a simple silver band with a phrase from the Song of Songs printed in Hebrew (“ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” or ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’).

    My first real boyfriend bought it for me when I was about 22. We were young and simultaneously in love and terrified by the reality of being in love. There were many break-ups, reunions, and something-in-betweens that went on for longer than was probably healthy, but that’s what we did at 22. We were devoted to each other and completely weirded out by the prospect of actually being together, yet we didn’t want anybody else. Eventually we moved to different cities and lost touch, and, truthfully, he became somebody whom I didn’t really want to know. At a certain point I didn’t try too hard to stay in touch, and perhaps he didn’t either.

    I still have the ring, and I still wear it every day. I haven’t thought of him while wearing it for close to a decade, though! When I’m dating somebody seriously, I’ll think of him when I put it on in the morning, but, whether I’m single, taken, or something-in-between, the ring is always positioned to show the first and the last word on the band: “ani li,” or ‘I am to me.’ I like to think of it as reading, ‘I am my own.’

    It’s been lovely reading all of your posts!

  64. krat says:

    When I was 19, I was dating a young man who worked for a rather lovely older woman as her personal assistant. She was quite obviously sleeping with him, which should have been deeply shocking to me as his girlfriend, but instead was illuminating in a very profound way.

    To be clear, they did not flaunt it in any way, I simply understood as soon as I spent more than a few minutes with her. She would drop by the boutique I worked at and take me to lunch, sometimes with him along and sometimes not. The last time I ever saw her was one of these lunches, after which she presented both of us with stunning bracelets. She let him go the next day, as did I.

    Seventeen years later, I still fondly wear mine and it transports me back to when I was just coming into my own as an adult. There was a certain flow to our conversations, such camaraderie; I believe she truly enjoyed our lunches.

    The man in question? I doubt either of us remembers much other than how wonderful he was in bed.

  65. Michelle says:

    For the briefest period of time, I was privileged to wear the same wedding ring that my mom wore when she was married to my father, and my oldest sister wore for the first twelve years of her marriage.

    It was a simple, tiny solitaire set in yellow gold, but I can’t describe how much I loved wearing that ring around my finger. I knew it was just a ring, but it made me feel so connected to my mom and sister. Unfortunately, my marriage was short lived as my husband started abusing me as soon as the wedding was over. I love that ring so much, and every so often I take it out of the jewelry box and look at it. I can’t bear to wear it yet, but I look forward to the day I can.

  66. Shaney says:

    My grandma was married twice and divorced twice, something completely unprecedented in middle Ohio at that time (I am nearing 40). After the second divorce was finalized and she found a home for herself and her three boys, she asked her aunt, a jewelry designer, to transform her two engagement rings into something new. Some may consider this bad luck to wear, but when I wear my grandma’s ring, I feel the spirit of a woman bold enough to make choices that were far outside the realm of normal for her time. She passed when I was nineteen.

  67. Meg Martin says:

    I moved away from my best friend two years ago but took several pieces of jewelry she made for me. It feels so good to see them and know she’s still with me.

  68. Susan says:

    I have so many pieces of sentimental jewelry- things inherited, things bought.. but my favorite is what I call my “journey necklace”.

    It started when I was 15 and my sister gave me a small jade bi disk from Taipei and my mother gave me the gold chain to string it on.. I wore it alone for many years until I got a new job/promotion that I wanted to commemorate and I bouhgt a little vintage gold wishbone charm.

    I then inherited a very tiny little gold replica of a liberty dollar that my grandfather gave to my mother.

    A few years later I went on a trip of a lifetime to India with my exboyfriend and his then- 89 year old grandmother who remains one of the most influential women I have ever met.. she bought me a Jaipur star ruby set in gold.

    Next came a beautiful tiny amethyst geode set in gold that I bought while living in a brand new city and someone was selling in a stoop sale… rarely do things speak to me like that.. but it was so rich and natural, and different..

    Finally I added a victorian gold and garnet filagree charm that was passed down through my dad’s side of my family…

    Everything looks like it “goes” together.. When the charm necklace trend was/is happening- I get questioned all the time about where I got it.. but it is an evolution of items. It shows my path and helps me with my future, I use the whole thing as a pendulum when I am confused and need guidance.

    I always have half an eye out in my constant travels and my life for the next little charm to go on my journey necklace.. Each charm and stone bring me luck and memories.. But even though I am looking, I know that these charms I do not find, they find me..

  69. Sarah Phillips says:

    My mum got married at 19, so the engagement ring she had picked out was best suited to someone young (platinum band, small sapphire, art deco setting). When she got older, she replaced it with something more her current style (yellow gold band and a much larger diamond, haha), and she gave me the original ring, which I have worn on my right hand since I was about 16. Funnily enough, when I think about what I would like my engagement ring to look like, I always think “platinum band, blue stone, antique setting”, so I guess it runs in the blood!

  70. Rutabega says:

    My parents bought me a watch to celebrate my undergraduate graduation. What they did not realize is that they had bought the SAME EXACT watch for me in celebration of my high school graduation. Fortunately (or maybe not), just one week before the end of my University days, the face of that first watch had fallen to the floor and cracked. I was in need of a new watch…
    More amusingly, the watch is a SWATCH knockoff, and has had it’s style outs and ins. It has faux Egyptian hieroglyphs running across the face. Back in undergrad, during anthropology classes, I became friends with an Egyptologist in training who thought the watch was a riot. That person is now an actual Egyptologist. He determined that that watch said nothing in particular.
    However, the watch is what I need it to be. I can take it off, I put it back on, I sometimes treat it poorly, and I take care of the thing. It’s family. It’s sort of an orange color and I’ve been pleased that orange has been back in style for the past few years. That, and I can spot it easy.

  71. Maggie says:

    I cannot compete with all these great stories and am not even trying to. Certainly disregard this post in the context of you conest! Just wanted to say that I have a tiny cameo I put on a good, delicate silver chain that people always comment upon (I am not, as you’d see if you met me, a cameo-wearin’ sort). When you look closely you see that the lovely lady in profile on the pendant is, in fact, Miss Piggy.

    • Viajera says:

      I love Miss Piggy too. Such attitude.

    • ljchicago says:

      I gave a Miss Piggy cameo necklace to my sister once. She loves it! Glad to see she’s not the only one. I love how delicate it is and then upon closer inspection, you see her.

  72. genny says:

    When I am worried about having a stressful day, I wear my garnet earrings. They are simple dangle with square cut stones and a single stud. They were given to me as a thank you gift from a friend for being me. I like to think of them as my grown up blankie.

  73. PageH says:

    I don’t have a lot of fine jewelry, mostly bibs and bobs that amuse me, and in the case of one ring, entertain me. I have a silver ring that has a second ring around it that can be spun by my thumb. I used to wear it on my the finger that now is the home to my wedding band, and I’d spin it when I was bored, or anxious or antsy.

  74. Melanie Simmonds says:

    I have a ring with the face of a lioness holding a ruby in its mouth. It belonged to my mother, my grandmother, and her aunt who raised her. I took it to the Antiques Roadshow and they said it was common, but I have never seen another like it. It has lived on my first finger of my right hand since my mother gave it to me for my 15th birthday. The band has been worn through twice. It grounds me and connects me with my past and I feel naked and a little panicky without it after all this time.

  75. janine says:

    I would say my engagement ring – it’s got diamonds in it from a watch that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. She passed away before I met him, so I never got a chance to meet her, but I feel like I know her from all the stories and photos, and I like feeling connected to her through my ring. I also have a ring that used to belong to my grandmother – it’s the only thing I have that used to belong to her.

  76. LMM says:

    Mine is a turquoise ring I bought 15 years ago while on a cross-country road trip with my sister that we took after I graduated from college. I bought it in Santa Fe. It’s oval-shaped and has a sunburst-like red pop in the turquoise, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Because I bought it while traveling, I now wear it anytime I travel (car, train, plane, any distance). Turquoise is meant to guarantee health and I like to think it keeps me safe. It’s also just a really gorgeous memento of an amazing trip that I’ll never have the time or energy to do again.

  77. corrin says:

    The only piece of jewelry I’ve ever worn consistently is a Tiffany heart necklace that my parents got me when I finished grad school. It’s so much a part of me that my little cousins point it out when I’m not wearing it and it’s in the sketch that’s part of my blog header.

  78. Anne says:

    My mother has a large enameled brooch from Turkey, that belonged to her grandmother, the matriarch of our extended family. It’s turquoise and quite elaborate, but had a simple jeweled drop hanging off the bottom: an opal surrounded by sapphires, all together about the size of a fingernail. Opal is my birthstone, and from the time I was little, I would beg my mother to give me the drop. I never wanted the brooch, which we called “THE BROOCH” (imagine this said with a vauely yiddish accent).

    When I turned thirty, my mother gave me the drop. I wear it often, and especially when I need a little boost of good luck. It connects me to four generations of strong, intelligent, talented women. When I wear it, I feel all of their power and protection.

  79. Tina says:

    When I was five, I spotted a blue rhinestone pin on my great grandmother’s vanity. I thought it was the most beautiful piece of jewelry I had ever seen, and I was thrilled to death when she gave it to me. I still wear it, it was my “something blue” on my wedding day.

  80. Sarah says:

    My mom was the original jewelry magpie, and wore all pieces with passion, often losing an earring here or a stone there. So when she passed away I inherited more baubles and bits than I knew what to do with. I took a pile to her memorial service and passed out earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, and rings to all of her friends (some pieces were even gifts from them to her over the years). The remainders went to one of my friends who makes and sells up-cycled jewelry. One piece she made was an amazing necklaces fashioned from all the best bits, certainly worth a boatload at any craft jewelry show. Instead she presented it to me as an amazing memento of my mom and the value of friendship. I cherish it (and her!).

  81. Rebecca says:

    My mother’s diamond earrings were reset in white gold and given to me for my 25th birthday. I love feeling connected to her!

  82. Maureen says:

    I bought myself a really good piece of jewelry to celebrate graduating from business school. It’s a pink sapphire ring that I wear everyday that I bought in a local boutique, made by one of my favorite jewelers. I had literally wanted to own one of her rings for years. I bought it to remind myself that I can do anything I want to, after putting myself through grad school while working full time and surviving the end of a very long romantic relationship.

  83. Colleen says:

    A Cape May diamond necklace, given to me by my Mom when I was 12. Inexpensive and no longer polished, but it means the world to me because of who gave it to me. I feel very fortunate to still have my Mom in my life, so every time I see it I’m reminded of that. Interestingly, I manage to lose or misplace the necklace nearly every year, but it always magically returns to me.

  84. Diane says:

    My most memorable piece of jewelry is a ring. It was given to me by my mother’s good friend, who sold bric-a-brac from her garage (to me it was an Aladdin’s cave). I was 8. It was my first piece of jewelry and I was in heaven.
    The ring looks like a gold soccer ball (10K GF) with nine stone chips set like stars. I thought it was magic. Once I dreamt lights shot out of the stones to protect my mom and me from a demon.
    The gold plate is mostly scraped off now and only two stones remain – one white, one ruby red – but it is still a treasure.
    Thank-you, Alice.

  85. Tara says:

    Shortly after finishing graduate school and getting my first professional job, I decided to take a jewelry making class. It felt like the first time in my life I was living completely independently and taking care of myself. While in the class, I came upon a beautiful, round tiger eye and made a ring out of it. It’s just a simple silver bezel ring, but twenty years later it still looks cool and modern to me and I wear it all the time. It makes me feel strong and capable to know that I created this piece myself.

  86. Shannon says:

    I have two pieces of jewelry that connect me to my grandmother. One is a beautifully simple Ralph Lauren choker – wearing it makes me feel gorgeous and elegant, like my grandmother in her youth. The other is a somewhat hideous flower-shaped pendant, the center of which (a black stone) is that my mother had made from the flowers on my grandmother’s casket. I would NEVER chose a pendant like this myself, but I wear it ALL the time, because it makes me think of her as I remember her from her later years.

  87. Kate says:

    My grandmother’s engagement ring.

    My grandfather bought it in a pawn shop in Manhattan during the Great Depression – they were married in 1933. I would love to know the story behind how it arrived in that little pawn shop.

    It’s a 2.5 carat emerald cut stone with two emerald cut baguettes on the sides, set entirely in platinum. I inherited the ring as the oldest grandchild, and have been wearing it since 1998 – on my right hand. I loved looking down at it and thinking of my Nana, every day. I put on a little weight and had to have it cut off in August – I and can definitely say that I’ve missed wearing it.

    In the interim, I’ve lost the weight, and have met someone – who is ready to put it on my left hand. He just asked for my parent’s blessing (who are we kidding) on Sunday.

    I turn forty next January – we hope to be married before then. USing my grandmother’s ring.

  88. Dakota says:

    My dear grandmother had a very 1970s set of monogrammed clip-on earrings and a brooch. Several years after she died, my mom had the earrings made into necklaces. She gave me the necklace as soon as it was ready and saved the other for my sister in law. We gave the necklace to my sister in law after she got engaged to my brother. My grandmother was very special to all of us and every time I wear the necklace I feel as if she is with me.

  89. a.d.s. says:

    My mother had this ornate silver bracelet that I always loved as a child. It’s from my father’s family in India and it’s shaped and patterned like a snake but it’s hollow, with silver balls inside that jingle when you move your arm. As a kid I used to run my fingers over the textured patterns and the snake heads (there’s one on each end) and put the bracelet on to hear it jingle as I imagined greeting people at a party or gesticulating as I told an amazing story. When I graduated from college my mother gave this bracelet to me and its weight, its beauty, its history make me think about how jewelry can live on in families through generations and become more meaningful as it accumulates history. (As an aside, Kim, thank you for talking about Ten Thousand Things. I love their jewelry and have followed their work for years. Their jewelry is outside of my budget, but someday!)

  90. Emily H. says:

    The most meaningful piece of jewelry that I own is a small, plain gold bracelet from my mom that was my grandmothers. My grandmother wore it on her wedding day, as did my mother, my aunt, and my older sister – I wore it on my wedding day and as the last girl to get married in our immediate family, I was the lucky one who got to keep it. Every time I wear it I feel like I have a little secret…to everyone else it may look like a dull, worn, tiny piece of jewelry but to me it makes me feel so much more connected with the awesome, strong, beautiful ladies in my family!

  91. Christine says:

    I have a 16″ 14k yellow gold rope (maybe 6mm thick?) necklace that was my grandmothers. It is not a very stylish piece of jewelry but it makes me feel grown up (um, I am 40 in April). My grandmother gave the necklace when she moved out of her house and into a nursing home, and I try to wear it when I go an visit her. Even though her eyesight isn’t what it used to be she always spots it.

  92. cp says:

    For me, the item is one that now only exists in my mind, but is treasured and cherished as if I still could hold it in my hand. My mother came to this country many many years ago to meet my father and establish a ife for their chidren in a free and democratic country away from corruption and inequality they saw in pre-Communist China. They gave up their families and privileged and luxurious lives for their as yet unborn children and went through hardship and uncertainty. My mother brought with her very few things, but one such treasure was a set of handmade jade and pearl buttons, lovely circles of intense green encircled by pure white. Those buttons always represented the life my mother gave up for me, and she promised I could have them for my children to remember her by. I have lost my lovely mother but I always hold her close to my heart, as well as her little buttons.

  93. Michele Heaton says:

    My wedding band…my grandmother’s first wedding ring (don’t ask, my family gets a little entertaining in the marriage department). It’s a little gold band, with tiny diamonds. She gave it to me when I was ten, and I never lost it, which is amazing. The ring is nearly 100 years old now.

  94. Larissa says:

    My mom knows I have ‘borrowed’ her wide, yet delicately made gold cuff bracelet that she received as a present when she graduated from university. It’s engraved with her name, and cuts in a bit on my wrist it’s so tiny. May my two sisters never find out I have this treasure!

  95. Samantha says:

    Years ago my mother had my great-great-grandfather’s silver fob-watch chain made into a bracelet for me. I suppose its from around the 1850′s. Its wonderfully ornate, but chunky and strong. I love that it has such a long history, and its one of my most cherished possessions.

  96. SamiJ says:

    A ring setting that was my grandmothers. She could not afford a lot of jewelry, and this ring had lost its stone. But after she passed, each grandchild was given a ring, and I kept it unworn until I could afford a stone. Now it is a reminder of both my grandmother and as a reminder to move forward, and to own your happiness.

  97. Sam says:

    There’s a jewelry shop in Minneapolis I’ve been going to for fifteen years. The founder, Lowell Lundeen, was a lovely man who showcased local artists, and it was always a mix of beautiful and funky, nothing you could ever see elsewhere. I started going there when friends had their committment rings made there. When my partner and I decided to have a ceremony, we asked Lowell’s daughter-in-law, who had taken over the shop when he died, to help us have a necklace made by one of the artists whose work they show. It’s a toggle-clasp lariat necklace with eight silver oblongs strung between delicate but tarnished matte gold links. Each oblong is different, strung with gold wire, engraved, patterned and gouged. It’s heavy and the toggle hangs in the hollow of my throat. Vaguely industrial – one friend calls it my fishing lure necklace – and yet totally handmade, the lariat end is weighted and moves with me when I walk. It’s perfect, strong and delicate and heavy and fluid and one-of-a-kind, just like a relationship. I only take it off in the shower.

  98. patricia says:

    I have a simple garnet ring that I inherited from my grandmother. She was 6’2″ with huge fingers and the ring, which she wore on her ring finger, is too large even for my thumb. She once told us we were descended from trolls so the ring feels like something out of a fairy tale.

  99. Julee says:

    We were living together in a dumpy 5th floor walk-up on Avenue B when we decided to get married. Declaring our undying love for each other in front of everyone we knew and loved was terrifying. It was too personal. And we didn’t want to wait that long. So we got the license and on a cold, February day went to the only jewelry store we knew of—Tiffany. We, in our black clothes and 1990′s East Village grunge—waited in line behind several bridge-and-tunnel couples, each of whom tried on band after band, discussed the merits of each, then asked the clerk to write down style numbers and prices before walking away. On our turn we pointed to two plain, gold bands and chose our sizes. We said, “we’ll take them,” and the clerk was stunned.

    The next morning we went down to the Municipal Building on Center Street with our two best friends and got it done. Drinks at the Algonquin after and later, dinner at Tavern on the Green. It will be 18 years tomorrow, we’ve left New York, and that simple gold band from Tiffany is a daily reminder of the single best decision I ever made, and of that magical day in the world’s greatest city.

  100. Angie says:

    A turquoise ring, the surface almost the size of a nickel, the stone greenish with a silver leaf curved against it. My mom gave it to me, told me she shopped carefully for it (we are Native American and would not want to own things stolen from graves)and showed me where it was signed and that it was old. She gave it to me just after I was a teenager who left and lost things and I moved back to Oregon from NYC where I left and lost a lot of things after dropping out of college. She did tell me it would protect me and I believe it.

  101. Susan Ranis says:

    When my husband proposed, standing on a sand dune, he proffered an open jewelry box. I shut it and wouldn’t look. Not because I had any intention of turning him down! But I didn’t want to be distracted by a ring–because what if it was a BAD ring? So I said yes. And then did the important things like smooching and crying and and hugging.
    Only later did I look in the box. And oh, what a lovely, lovely surprise. A perfect ring–my husband gave me his grandmother’s ring. A ring I would have picked for myself in a wild fantasy–round stone in a square setting with stepped diamonds down the side. It fit perfectly.
    Grandma was very important to my husband–and I was honored to realize that this was also a gift from my future mother-in-law. It was her ring-and she chose to trust me with it.
    I wear this ring every day and pause often to think of its history and the love that came with it.

  102. Jill says:

    My husband bought me a pink/purple druzy set in a ring of recycled gold for our anniversary last year (11 years!). It was the first piece of jewelry that he bought for me all on his own. I consulted on my engagement ring and other pieces he’s purchased, but this ring was all his idea. It is so beautiful and sparkly and it warms my heart when I look at it.

  103. Jana says:

    My mother’s gold St Christopher medallion necklace…by far. Not for religious reasons but for sentimental…worn daily as a sweet reminder of the wonderful woman she was and of my sweet grandmother who gave it to her. Priceless

  104. Jody says:

    My family isn’t big on jewelry and it’s a part of fashion where I’m pretty clueless. It was my 30th birthday and I went to Egypt for 10 days to celebrate. It was a trip of trying new things, and buying jewelry was just one. I bought a chunky silver bracelet for myself. It’s a lovely cuff with a soft shape to represent the lotus flower.

  105. Patricia says:

    My most cherished piece of jewelry is a Louis Vuitton dog collar. It was worn by my beloved cocker spaniel, Madison, for fifteen years prior to her passing last month. I had it re purposed as a wonderful bracelet.

  106. Christine says:

    What amazing connections to family and self are here. Thanks for letting me join you, ladies!

    Three years ago, I was literally ripping the flesh off my fingers, I felt so separate from the world. The summer before, the love of my life told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and then promptly never called me again. I ran away to Nepal to try to finish my PhD research, but the community I wanted to study turned me a cold shoulder and I spent most of my time there huddled under a blanket with a can of Pringles and a glass of sour Aussie wine. La. When I finally decided to quit the program, a friend wrote to me from South Sudan: If you’re tired of being up in yr head, he said, come get your hands dirty doing public-health work here. I was, and I did.

    My first night in the village, everyone came out to stare at the new idiot Western kid. At least, that’s what I figured they were thinking, a huge crowd of statuesque men and women, kids stronger than I’ll ever be. But then my program officer Lokaran started up clapping, shouting, THIS WOMAN NEEDS A NAME! The teenage girls giggled. OOOOOO, C’MON! THIS WOMAN NEEDS A NAME! The boys crowded around, smiling and cracking crude jokes. WHAT WILL WE CALL HER IN TOPOSA?

    The men started laughing, too, and a woman came over and started shaking my hand. She tied a black band around my wrist – a length of bra strap, pretty rare stuff in Toposa country – and said, She’s orange, like abeyo fruits… Let’s call her Nabeyo.

    NABEYO? IS IT GOOD? (Nabeyo!). IS THIS WOMAN NABEYO? IS IT GOOD? (Go ahead and call her Nabeyo! That’s good!). WELL, THEN, WELCOME, NABEYO! (Ha! Welcome, Nabeyo!). IT’S GOOD, NABEYO! (Hahaha – it’s good.). Everyone was shaking my hand, shaking my shoulder, greeting me, warming me. Naming me.

    I haven’t ever in my life felt so all-at-once accepted in a place. But Toposa folks are proud, and rude, and stubborn as all hell, in addition to their lovely moments, and the next two years were the hardest of my physical life. A nice welcome didn’t mean that people liked me or respected me – I had to work to earn that. And I did.

    I haven’t taken off my black band, and won’t until it falls off or I die first. ^_^

  107. Anne says:

    Oh, that’s an easy one. It’s my fingertip-size, swimming-pool blue opal pendant, on a gold chain. My husband bought it for me on the one overnight trip we’ve taken without kids. It’s like a little excellent vacation every time I wear it.

  108. Carol White says:

    Without a doubt, the sapphire and diamond ring my great aunt left to me. When I was a kid I used to snuggle up to her when she was wearing one of her furs (it was okay back then) and fiddled with that ring. She’d say, “one day this will be on your finger.” Of course being only five or six at the time I had no idea what that meant. After she died my mother (who settled the estate) gave me the ring. “Here, this is for you. Aunt Rose knew how much you always loved it.”

  109. Sara P. says:

    I have a very funky cocktail ring that belonged to my Grandmother. It is very 1950s, and not really my style. But I love wearing it! It signified that a good time will be had by all on the evening I slip it on.

  110. Tracey C Kretch says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is a necklace that I made using an old brooch of my grandmother’s, chain from my mother’s wedding necklace and my great aunt’s channel set ruby. I think of all of them every time I wear it!

  111. LeopardPrint says:

    OMG, I’ve gotten LOST in all these amazing stories! Someone should make a coffee table book of all of you with your special jewelry.

    Mine is a jade bracelet given to me by a Buddhist Nun – she called it a “Buddhist Rosary”. It’s round green jade beads with two curved pieces in front, connected by little engraved silver linking beads. After I’d been wearing it for several years, those “power bracelets” with the round semi-precious beads came into vogue, and I always felt like I had the best power bracelet of all.

  112. Elena says:

    I remember when my father gave the necklace and matching earrings to my mom. He had been on a trip and lord knows what he got up to at his conferences. My mom certainly had some idea for she was no fool. But when he gave her this gift, I knew immediately that our lives would be good for a while, that he had gotten it right at a time he very much needed to. Of course I could not have verbalized it then, at age 7 or 8, but when he fastened this necklace around my mother’s neck , this silver and black enamel set I own today, it must have felt to my mother that he understood her, something deep and important about her. The necklace is from Denmark. I only discovered the artist today because I never bothered to look it up before: Jens Tage Hansen, a modernist who worked between ’54 and ’64. It is silver and consists of alternating squares and rectangles on which are etched simple lined pictures of Inuit people. It is both modern and primitive. It was perfect for my mom, who liked to think of herself as a woman of the world, although not quite in the way my father would have liked.

  113. Susan Gosman says:

    My favorite piece of jewelry is a ring that I actually do not wear very often, but it is front and center in my jewelry box and makes me smile every time I open the lid. It is a tiny gold snake that my grandson gave me when he was just 5. He talked his parents into letting him buy it (with their money), and gave it to me with such excitement and pride. I cherish that little ring and will never let it out of my sight.

  114. Lainie says:

    The most meaningful pieces of jewelry I’ve had are all – strangely and sadly – lost or stolen pieces. None wildly valuable, but all significant to me. A garnet ring that was my mother’s as a teenager, a ruby earring that was a gift from someone who broke my heart and still owns a piece of it. An opal ring, my birthstone, that celebrated a new job and a happy time. It seems that these gifts all came for just a short time, maybe to help teach me to let go.

  115. Tere Kirkland says:

    Some of these stories are really choking me up!

    My favorite piece of jewelry is a poison ring that belonged to my late stepmother. She’d had it since her hippie youth and always said it made her feel powerful. It’s too big for me, but I wear it on a chain near my heart on those days when missing her feels like it’s too much to bear. Having that talisman of hers helps me remember how she made the best of everything!

  116. Kathy Zeidler says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is a diamond necklace that my three sisters and I designed after our mother was killed in a tragic car accident when we were young. The necklace contains five diamonds. The center and largest diamond is from my mom’s engagement ring. It is surrounded by four smaller diamonds, representing each of us – her four daughters. My sisters and I all share the necklace. Every three months, a different sister gets to have it. We happily share stories of our mother with our daughters and nieces – her grandchildren, who will inherit the necklace when we’re gone.

  117. Nay says:

    My Grandpa’s wedding band is the most precious piece of jewelry I own and something I can’t wear. But I hold onto it in the hopes that I’ll have a partner who will treasure it as much as I do.

    My grandparents live on the other side of the world, as is the case for so many immigrant stories, but they raised me. And I have them to thank for my stubborn, spoiled ways. The summer before I graduated high school, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and the cancer spread faster than anyone expected. I wasn’t able to make it to see him take his last breaths, but he made sure to let everyone know to pass the ring to me, who was on an airplane to him, for the husband I would one day have.

    I’ve thought about having it resized, but hope that his hope will one day come true.

  118. KD says:

    My husband and I love to travel and have always done so on a very small budget. When we were planning our modest wedding we knew we’d have to get some rings and weren’t sure what we wanted or what would be best for us. I love jewelry, but my husband isn’t a huge fan of it for himself. We had an opportunity to take a trip to Chichen Itza and Tulum right before the wedding so we used the money we had set aside for the rings to go and figured we’d sort it out somehow when we returned. While in Mexico we found a couple of very suitable rings priced 2 for $5. We tried on at least 20 each out of the little box of rings to find the two that fit each of our fingers well enough and that was it. I haven’t taken mine off in the 10 years since we got married. It’s silver (I think) and still looks great actually. I love it for the obvious reasons, but it also makes me think of the beautiful places in Mexico we saw on that trip, how fun it was to go through that box of rings with my husband, and how much I love to travel with my him. We have two beautiful boys now and don’t get to travel much at all. Someday we will again and my fantastic little $2.50 ring will be right there with me I hope.
    P.S. My husband lost his original ring and the one I bought him to replace it. He’s been on ring 3 for about 6 years now. Men.

  119. Gail M. says:

    Several years ago, my husband and I walked by a vintage jewelry shop. We didn’t have money for expensive jewelry, but a ring caught my eye and I couldn’t help but go in the shop for a closer look. The shop owner told us the ring was very old, over 100 years. It was a simple gold ring with a large oval ruby colored garnet in the center. The light came through the garnet and was the most ethereal luminescent color, I actually felt a warm feeling in my throat, like I’ve felt after taking a sip of very fine aged red wine. The color seemed to stay in my vision even after closing my eyes and I could still feel the warmth as we walked out of the shop. I remembered the ring and mentioned it to my husband more than once over the coming year, a year in which I conceived and gave birth to our son. It wasn’t an easy birth (they usually aren’t!) and what was even harder for me was the weeks of recovery and the homebound/nursing/colicky baby/poopy whir that was the first months of motherhood. What really anchored me though, was the garnet ring that my husband had gone back and bought me as a gift after giving birth. The ruby ray of light was something beautiful I could keep with me all the time, even when I was changing diapers! It is with me now still, years later, bringing a small ray of beauty into my everyday life wherever I go.

  120. Leah says:

    Lovely!!! I have a few pieces that mean a lot to me. My wedding band was designed by my husband and me together. Our two bands just slightly match, with swirly designs and musical notes. I also have a giant 70′s style mastodon ivory and turquoise and silver bracelet that my dad made way back when. I love that thing. It’s one of a kind and gorgeous and my dad made it. What could be more awesome!

  121. Robin says:

    A locket with two pictures of my son. I placed him for adoption and at the time I didn’t know if I wanted the adoption to be open or closed. She gave me the Tiffany silver locket and it have proven to be a pledge to all of us of the power of love.

  122. Elyse says:

    My husband is not a big believer in jewelry. Neither is/was he much of a believer in marriage. He, himself does not/will not wear jewelry. Thus,after some years of cohabitation when we decided to legalize our union, I wound up going alone to Kohl’s in order to buy a wedding ring for myself. It’s a plain thin gold band. It was inexpensive. At the time,I fully intended to get something much nicer eventually. However, after ten years, I must admit my heart still melts a little whenever I gaze upon my wedding ring. And I smile. So I think I’ll just keep this one…

  123. mims says:

    a necklace I bought myself as a college graduation present in a small antique shop on Dempster in Evanston. It is largish pieces of abalone/mother of pearl shaped into tubular beads alternating with lovely polished turquiose lumps strung on a brass chain. It is adjustable so can be worn as a choker or dropped down to be worn more like a standard neck adornment. I have it almost 30 years now and still looks lovely and still takes me back to being young and possessing a firm jawline.

  124. Cait says:

    I’ve got this cocktail ring that my grandmother gave me- it is possibly the most ridiculous thing in the history of the entire universe. The gem is an aquamarine that’s fully an inch across, in an equally giant gaudy silver band.

    I mean, what? Where did she think I was going to wear this? on what occasion? to what function did she think that her rock climbing tomboy granddaughter would wear a ring the size of a robins egg?

    I keep it because it’s a perfect reminder of who she was as a person- clueless, but with great love. Every time I see it I smile.

  125. Julie says:

    My dad’s watch, now my most treasured possession jewelry or otherwise. He bought it in France, where he was stationed (in the Army) right after the Korean War. Like all the jewelry he bought for my mom, my sister and me throughout the years: it is simple and elegant, timeless (ha).

  126. maggie says:

    I don’t own/wear a lot of jewelry, but I would say the most meaningful piece I own is a watch that my dad gave me for my 16th birthday. He wasn’t ever great at picking out gifts and usually would get my mom to buy them for him, but when I turned 16 he took me out watch shopping, and helped me pick out a new watch. He died three years later. I’m not particularly sentimental and haven’t held onto a lot of mementos from my past, but I plan on always keeping this watch. It’s the last watch I’ve owned, what with the advent of cell phones as time pieces. I really do need to get the battery replaced and actually start wearing it again.

  127. Jamie says:

    I have the necklace my dad gave my mom when she was voted his fraternity’s sweetheart. It’s a heart-shaped gold pendant with the Greek letters engraved on one side, and a tiny sapphire embedded on the flip side.

    It’s my favorite because, well, my mom was a giant dork. She was shy and modest and loved her family but didn’t have many friends and she liked making crafts most of all. Now that she’s gone, I have this necklace that is a symbol of who my mom was (a fraternity SWEETHEART? Seriously?!), before I was born, that is completely at odds with how I remember her.

    It reminds me that people are complicated, which helps me get along with them better.

  128. Lisa says:

    I have a sterling silver dog tag necklace with a diamond number “4″ on it. The number 4 is a very significant number for me in my life for the following reasons: I was born June, 4; I got married on April 4, (4/4); My daughter was born on April 13 (4 and 1 + 3 = 4. Everything wonderful and significant has happened to me on a month and/or day that is a number 4 or adds up to 4.

  129. Kim says:

    I’ve been given two pieces of jewelry in my life, both rings.

    My parents had me when they were barely out of their teens. They were very young and were distracted by the things that they wanted to be and to do. Also, maybe they were too puzzled by the shy, moody, bookish girl that I was, to know what I needed. But my grandmother loved me unconditionally, fiercely. Although, out of necessity, she was frugal, when I was about ten years old, she gave me a gold ring, with a small topaz, my birthstone. I recall being disappointed that my birthstone wasn’t a sapphire, because blue was my favorite color and at first, I wore the ring mostly out of politeness. But, I came to love that ring. I wore it for years, switching it to different fingers as my hands grew. I remember looking down at the ring and seeing that the stone had fallen out, after so much wear. I found the stone later and put it and the ring in a box, vowing to one day have it fixed and resume wearing it. Decades later, despite my best efforts, that ring is long gone, but still with me as a reminder of being really loved, really treasured, during an otherwise difficult childhood.

    The other ring was my wedding band, hastily purchased by my then soon-to-be husband, who was late to work and leaving me to finish the sales transaction, while he rushed off to a meeting. The marriage did not fare well and I stayed much longer than I should have. But, finally I got the courage to leave. I’d stopped wearing the ring years before leaving. I wasn’t married in the ways that most mattered to me and the ring had come to feel like a mockery of me and the person I’d become, the life that I had. Like the topaz ring, the wedding ring was put into a box. It wasn’t something I treasured, but I wasn’t ready to get rid of it. Then, while looking for hairbands, I was surprised to find the ring in a plastic shoe box. I knew I still had it, but had forgotten where I’d put it. Without further thought, I picked up the ring and tossed it into my kitchen garbage can. It felt good, freeing, forward looking.

    So, for one ring, the magic was in the having and wearing; for the other, the magic was in the gradual letting go.

  130. Vicki says:

    When my grandmother became very old and could no longer live alone, she had to downsize from her large house to move into assisted living. One day she brought me into her bedroom and opened up her jewelry box. She told me to look through it and take what I wanted. I chose several pieces that I cherish that day, but my favorite is a large antique oval peridot set in a gold filigree band. When I wear it, I am reminded of my grandmother’s green eyes (which I inherited), and how we are but caretakers of jewelry.

  131. Sherri says:

    Many moons ago, my older brother moved from NYC to Paris for his job. Since we both lived in New York after he graduated law school and I graduated from college, it was hard to see him go (this was before the digital age really kicked in).

    Maybe a year or two into his tour of duty, his friend visited him in Paris then made plans to see me for drinks in NYC not too long after, right before my birthday. The friend presented me with a note from my brother and a round orange box with a brown ribbon–that’s right: HERMES. The note contained many lovely things about how my brother was proud of the person I had become, and the box contained a brown leather cuff with the signature Hermes gold links encircling it. It was (and pretty much still is) the nicest piece of jewelry I own, and certainly the most meaningful because of what it signified.

    I think of that pivotal moment in my life and my brother (who now lives in London, darn him!) every time I put it on.

  132. Stakra says:

    OH CRAP – there is no way to compete with stories of family heirlooms or tableware made into sentimental pieces. My treasured piece is a simple sterling sivler Tiffany bracelet that has the shape of a Gerber daisy as it’s detail. It was the first holiday gift my then boyfriend (now husband) gave me following a gift of an actual Gerber daisy when we first started dating. I wear it most days and it would play so nice as a silent partner to that BADASS keshi peal necklace around my “girl of a certain age” neck.

  133. sophia says:

    For my senior prom, my parents let me spend a whole hundred dollars on a dress (which was by far the most expensive thing I’d ever worn) but this sadly left me with no budget for any additional frills like jewelry. My mom’s friend, who is like an aunt to me, liked to make bead jewelry as a hobby and she graciously made me a pair of HUGE chandelier earrings in sterling silver hardware and crystal beads. It was probably the best part of that entire outfit – it certainly made me feel like a movie star, which is how every girl wants to feel on prom night. I don’t have much occasion to re-wear them (those things are shoulder-length and I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to everyday jewelry) but I love seeing them in my jewelry box; they’re a lovely reminder of a fun night and also of the lovely woman who made them for me.

  134. Pam says:

    This might seem weird, but it is the ring my husband gave me for Christmas last year, right after I found out he had been having a long-term emotional affair with a woman at work. We are not together at this point, he hasn’t been able to give her up and come back to live with his wife of 22 years and two kids, but I put it on now and think, “Screw you dude, I am a strong, beautiful woman, who can live through this, perhaps becoming happier with someone else, and I will look at this ring you gave me, along with the lies and hurt, and tell myself never to settle, or tolerate, or let anyone, ever, walk on me again”. The fact that it is a green-colored stone reminds me of Spring and rebirth. Kinda corny, but there you go.

  135. Flora says:

    My very first eBay buy–a tiny gold chevron necklace with three super-tiny diamonds. It was a child’s necklace, but I got an extender so I could wear it. This is pretty dorky, but I was soooooooo psyched to have won my first auction–I got up at 3 a.m. to make sure I got it.

  136. Jan says:

    A few years before she died, my mom and I went on a road trip through the southwest. While driving through the Navaho reservation we stopped at a roadside stand whose wares included jewelry, so my mom picked out a pendant which I bought for her and now look at daily (if I’m not wearing it).

  137. Sheri says:

    My mom passed away when I was 5 and she was 40. I wear her Chai necklace everyday. It means “life” in Hebrew. I feel that it protects me and makes me feel close to her.

  138. Heidi says:

    My favorite piece of jewelry is one i wear everyday and was given to me by my girlfriends before i was about to embark on a crazy divorce/life change. Its a simple sterling silver band with a turquoise six petaled flower. The band bends and so i have to adjust it all day long when it spins around my finger. Little girls and grown women alike have complimented me on it. I wear it on my right ring finger to remind me of the value and priceless nature of a great group of girlfriends and how they helped me get through a messy time in my life. And are still my best friends to this day. Great girlfriends are the key to a happy life!

  139. Nava says:

    Before I leave my apartment in the morning, I put on a little silver ring that my former husband and I bought for ourselves when we were on our honeymoon in Rome. The inscription says: Carpe diem.
    I put it on to remind me that things change daily and that the most important part of my life is the moment I’m in. When I look at it throughout the day, I remember that I need to go for what I want and at the same time, surrender to what comes.
    Thank you for your blog, it’s awesome!

  140. Rene says:

    I love reading these stories, thank you everyone for sharing. I think it’s really cool that it makes no difference if something is from Tiffany’s or a gumball machine – it’s the memories/thoughts/intentions/attachments/people that make an item’s true worth.

  141. Julia says:

    When I was 25 I went to Tiffany and bought myself a mesh gold ring in cash. I was in graduate school at the time, and had saved up my Christmas and birthday money from family. I went in with my ratty used books, my stack of twenties, and walked out with the ring on my finger. Ten years later, I still wear it every day (although once I went back to check the size and the snooty salesman looked at me pointedly and said, “I think you stretched it.” Sigh.)

  142. Elizabeth says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry I own is my watch. It’s not the Cartier watch my husband-at-the time bought me on an outrageous and showy trip to NYC celebrating the sell out of his start up. That watch was stolen when my condo was broken into last summer – good riddance!

    The watch that means something to me is the small, brown mesh skagen that my boyfriend, the first, last ,and only since my divorce, gave me the first time we celebrated my birthday together. It’s handsome, understated and true – just like he is.

  143. Catherine says:

    I would have to say my wedding ring. I’m very sentimental that way and it’s the only piece of jewelry that my husband purchased willingly! I feel naked without it and have even gone back home to retrieve it if I should forget to put it on. Makes me happy when I look at it!

  144. FV says:

    My most cherished piece of jewelry is missing somewhere inside my home. My husband bought me a silver necklace that’s a garland of tiny stars for our fifth anniversary. One day, my son, who was three at the time, took it out of my jewelry drawer and played with it. I didn’t notice it was missing until days later. He admitted playing with it, but couldn’t remember where he put it. I’ve looked at all of the obvious places he could have stashed it, but kids tend to put things in strange places. Case in point, he hid my husband’s wedding ring in the door latch jamb of a bathroom and we couldn’t find it for months! Thankfully, my son is out of the jewelry bandit phase. I’d love to be reunited with my necklace though.

  145. Beth Ellen says:

    I have a chocolate diamond ring from my husband that was a big surprise–he rarely buys me surprises of this magnitude–I can think of less than 5 times in our so far 23 year marriage. I love it–it draws many compliments and is unusual and special.

  146. Pat O says:

    My mom’s wedding band. I have worn it always since she had Alzheimer’s so far gone that she couldnt wear jewelry. She has since died and I think of her always. My wedding ring has broken and while I’m in NYC this spring I’m going to pay Ten Thousand Things a visit!
    Thanks

  147. Julie says:

    I’ve had a life-long needle phobia, probably caused by my then-pregnant mother fainting during a blood test and my 3-year old self thinking she had ‘died’!

    Eight years ago I was unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which meant chemotherapy, endless blood tests, scans, etc. I struggled with my needle phobia and worked hard to control it.

    In celebration of my survival, I bought myself a necklace with the Sanskrit word Abhaya, which means Fearlessness. I’m not always fearless, but I try.

  148. A says:

    My husband bought me a Jeanine Payer necklace that has a phrase from Goethe engraved on it, and I love it. I wear it any time I am doing something physically or mentally demanding. It says, “Courage, strength and hope possess my soul. I will stand firmly and without fear.” I wore it on my first summit of a 14′er, and the first day I was called up to be promoted to a pretty big-deal role. It’s my ‘reminder to be a badass’ necklace.

  149. Dina Baloyan says:

    Hi Kim,

    Ten Thousand Things happens to be my *most* favorite jewelry line ever created! I am lucky enough to own a few of their pieces! My one meaningful piece of jewelry is a yellow citrine cluster necklace on blackened sterling silver from them. When I got pregnant with my son I wore that necklace as an evil eye protector and to this day I believe in it’s power. Despite the complication I had I was able to carry our son to term and have a healthy baby!

    This keshi pearl necklace is absolutely gorgeous and I am keeping my fingers crossed!

    Xoxoxo,
    Dina.

  150. Sue says:

    I have two, sorry :) They are very different however and I am finding it impossible to choose. One I wear almost every day and the other rarely sees the light s so precious.

    The everyday piece is of course a ring …and all that that implies. Rings and girls have such a history, especially rings and young girls. Its a petite gold clagddagh ring, brought back from Ireland by a boy in 1985. The basic first love with its freshness and no idea of an end. The part I like about the ring is that it is flawed; it has an extra glob, dubbed a tumor, on one side of the heart. Foreshadowing. But I like the history of it, of what it meant and now means as a much older semi-wiser woman (really just an old girl). That ring means more than my wedding ring somehow, as its me unformed in a way.

    The other piece is a beautifully made costume cocktail brooch that my father brought back from France at some point in the 60s for my mother (who he was dating/wooing at the time long distance). They are one of those couples who met in highschool …almost mythical now. Anyhow. The brooch. Its a squirrel, the belly of the body is a round hematite stone and the tail is twisted gold metal wire sprinkled with white and amber rhinestones. Its really beautifully constructed. I “borrowed” the brooch at some point in my 20s and I rarely wear it now as its become so precious to me as my parents fade away with illness, especially my mother. (stroke)

    Its funny I used to wear that pin so casually, with denim and leather. It looks stunning against velvet. Now I cannot bear to think of scratching it – it gets taken out, tried on and put away mostly. Maybe if I attend te Oscars :)

    So my two pieces are about love I suppose. How its an odd changing beast. I think jewelry is very personal to women; we never know which piece will be the one that strikes deep.

    Or something like that. Anyhow – I also love Ten Thousand things – I always coveted (in a nice way) their pieces and they do seem so quiet and personal. They seem to always suit the person wearing them, somehow.

  151. Sue says:

    Ugh – I really need to proof stuff – hope that ^ is readable.

  152. EG1972 says:

    These stories are all so neat. Mine’s a little trite, but it’s a silver necklace with the initials of my young sons. I tell them it’s so I can keep them close to my heart when I’m away from them.

  153. Kate says:

    Mine is a locket that belonged to my great-grandmother. She was the sweetest! The locket holds pictures of my grandfather as a child. I loved playing with it when I visited and pulled out all the old family belongings, and he gave it to me for Christmas when I was 10. She died a month later. I wore it the her funeral, and all the time, still. It has a long chain and goes with pretty much everything, and I feel like it helps me keep her memory and spirit with me, even though my memories of her are pretty fuzzy.
    Beautiful line and a really fun contest! I’m enjoying reading everyone’s stories.

  154. Laura Kahl says:

    My most treasured piece of jewelry is a sterling silver mermaid pendant I bought for myself when I lived on a beautiful little island. It was made by an artisan there and is curvy and beautiful and a little abstract. Often people ask what it is and when I tell them, they cock their heads and say, “Ohhhh… NOW I see it!” It reminds me of a beautiful place and a special time in my life.

  155. Jackie says:

    I have a pair of carnelian drop earrings from Ted Muehling. I bought them when I achieved my 3 month mark being sober. They were the first thing I had bought for myself that had real meaning. I had saved the money and considering I had nothing to my name, materially speaking, they were quite a commitment. At that time, a treat was being able to afford a cup of coffee. I’ve since brought them back to be fixed when one chipped. They repaired them and they are beautiful. They were special then and continue to be now that I have been sober for over 12 years. I don’t tell people that they have this meaning, it’s just for me and remind me that I’m worth it.

  156. Joan says:

    All of my jewelry is meaningful to me. The earrings I wear almost every single day are simple diamond studs that I got from my parents for my 18th birthday. I begged for them. A few months after my birthday, I dropped them on the floor of my room. I went down on my hands and knees–and made my sister do the same!–but we couldn’t find them anywhere. It took me a few weeks before I was willing to confess to my mom that I had lost them. My bedroom floor was carpeted and got vaccumed about once a week.

    A year after I lost my earrings, I found them nestled into the carpet behind the legs of my armoire! I have been wearing them basically everyday since.

  157. Tiffany S. says:

    Outside of my wedding ring, I have two incredibly meaningful pieces of jewelry: my grandmothers wedding set (with her teensy-weensy diamond in it), and my father’s wedding ring when he was married to my mother. They divorced when I was six. Those rings are part of the few things I have that are truly precious to me.

  158. Lynne says:

    My most favorite piece is a simple, gold cross given to me by my 92 year old grandmother. It was the first gift she ever received from my grandfather when they began dating. It was still in the original box and, as he did with every necklace he gave her throughout their 68 years together, my grandfather left the price tag on just to impress her. $8.95 was quite a sum in 1939.

  159. Wow. Lots of comments.
    My mom gave me the pearl drop earrings my dad gave her for her first Valentine’s Day with him. They were screw on, not pierced. (My dad had been dead for years when I got the earrings).
    Horrors! I lost one. I gave the survivor to my husband and wailed,”FIX IT.”
    About one year later, I got a very special Valentine. My husband gave me a new earring made to match, and both earrings were converted to pierced, so another tragedy wouldn’t happen,. The best Valentine gift ever — I have been married 25 years.
    One week later, my son found the lost original in the laundry room– more than a year after I first misplaced it. So I have all 3. Magic love.
    Lynn

  160. Heather says:

    I have my “strong woman” talisman. Its a long gold chain that came with a pendant I now wear on another chain. But on it I have put 1) the locket I was given when I was a year old, 2) the locket that my mother (deceased) was given when she was a year old, 3) the initial pendant that belonged to my (deceased) grandmother (we have the same first intiial), 4) a pearl I was given for my Sweet 16 from my mother’s sisters, 5) a gold Chai that matches one worn by my sister, my daughter and my two nieces, 6) an “I am healed” pendant to celebrate successful prophylactic cancer surgery, 7) a jade heart given to me by my sister — green being my favorite color and 8) an oval pendant made of compressed and laminated heather twigs in tribute to my own name. With all the juju from those women, I can face anything. I never get on a plane or see a doctor without that necklace around my neck.

  161. Jen says:

    I love jewelry, but edit mercilessly. Simple, perfectly designed things that don’t necessarily cost a lot work best. But if it has personal magic too, well so much the better! My never-fail-to-induce-a-fabulous-mood piece of jewelry is a brilliantly simple lucite snow-globe glitter ring from MOMA’s gift shop that one of my my best girlfriends gave me over a decade ago when I married and moved away from my beloved NYC. It never fails to conjure the sparkle, love, energy, and fizz of electric friendship that I was lucky enough to have for almost a decade in Manhattan. It reminds me of who I am. Whenever I wear it, everyone asks where I got it or if they can try it on. It IS pretty awesome I must say.

  162. Pilar says:

    My grandparents gave me a special medallion when I made my first communion that I lost when I was in college. My heart aches when I think about it. When a friend was going to a jewelry maker abroad, my husband arranged for a very close replica to be made for me. It is the first time that I burst into tears when getting a gift. I was so moved by it, and by his thoughts of me that went into it.

  163. Kathleen says:

    Great aunt Bert dated a pawn broker. When I was 6, she gave me an aquamarine ring in an art deco setting with four diamond chips. My older sister and mom also got rings.

    I held on to the ring throughout my childhood, remarkable because I was such a rambunctious tomboy that my dad called me the Wild Woman of Borneo and I knocked my two front teeth out playing. Also remarkable because my family moved every year or two because of my dad’s job.

    By college I’d come to truly treasure this ring, now scraped (I remember vividly scraping the stone against the painted cinder block hallway of an elementary school as I walked)and the band resized.I had barely known Aunt Bert (she lived in Chicago, and we moved around the South) but I appreciated having an heirloom, such a sweet heirloom.

    On my daughter’s 6th birthday I gave her the ring. We went to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. She fidgeted with the ring, excited to have it on her finger, and when we got home, the ring was not on her finger. She sobbed so much I couldn’t yell at her. I was mad and frustrated but got over it sooner than I expected. I had had a good run with the ring, and it was now out of my hands.

    I gave it to my daughter on her 6th birthday.

  164. Lauren says:

    My tenth anniversary gifts are now my most meaningful pieces: a ring and a bracelet. The ring is a rope pattern of yellow diamonds set in yellow gold between two bands of white diamonds in white gold. My husband and I picked it out together and agreed that the rope pattern was like a repeating infinity sign. It reminds me of our journey so far and what we mean to each other. Coincidentally, he had also custom-ordered a white gold/yellow gold cuff bracelet inset with 4 stones representing us and our two kids.

  165. Victoria says:

    My three-diamond engagement ring. I am no longer married to the man who bequeathed it to me. My sister was oh-so-lucky to have worn it for the last seven years. I couldn’t be bothered to look after those gems.

    Upon request, it was sent back (and she did oh-so-love flashing those diamonds around). The middle diamond will be bequeated to my oh-so-mature son of 23, recently fathered. He will be asking the oh-so-lovely Ruthie to marry him. I am so lucky in that I oh-so-LOVE-her! And baby too! xoxoxooo

  166. jen says:

    …my husband’s dog tags, though he wasn’t my husband when he gave them to me.

  167. Laura Serna says:

    Oh, it’s my birthday on Thursday and that reminds of the square cut amethyst ring my dad bought me when I turned twenty-one(twenty-one years ago). He’s not reslly a jewelry guy but it is so lovely. I wear it to this day.

  168. Sarah Ripp says:

    Thirty years ago when we were newlyweds, my husband gave me a simple gold bracelet , a small flat chain-which I wore everyday. The clasp would occasionally pop open, but I was young and not in the habit (as I am now) of worrying. Alas, one day the bracelet fell off my wrist and was lost. We looked everywhere but to no avail. My husband, who was a journalist at the time, was doing a series of interviews with the late, great Isaac Bashevis Singer. I am nearly immune to the aura of celebreties, but I badly wanted to meet Mr.Singer. In an uncharacterictic move I tagged along with my husband on the last interview. And indeed, Mr. Singer was as charming and charismatic as I expected him to be. Somehow the subject of my lost bracelet came up in our conversation. Mr. Singer told me, very matter-of-factly, that an “imp” had taken the bracelet and that I would find it. While I am by nature a skeptic, it was was hard not to believe a man who himself looked like an imp. Shortly thereafter, the bracelet turned up under the cushions of my parent’s sofa.

  169. melissa says:

    an obvious choice, but my wedding band. it belonged to my mom, and is a simple white gold ring engraved with a pretty floral pattern. that, plus the small gold hoops that belonged to my great-grandmother are my go-to pieces of jewelry.

  170. Lisa shafer says:

    I am 48 years old. When my children were young I convinced myself I did not like, want or need special jewelry. When I came to my senses, I discovered that I really love meaningful, traditional as well as creative, and special pieces. My favorite thing is a 32 inch strand of large mikmoto pearls that my husband gave to me. I wear them with everything and mix them with all kinds of other pieces; traditional, contemporary and craft fair. I love the weight of them, the feel of them and the way they make ME feel. They represent a turning point….. Coming into my own in my forties. It is a good decade. They represent a good marraige….my husband really listened and made a point of getting these just right… Not 30 inches but 32…. Just right. I take them on every business trip and every vactation….. Why have them if you don’t wear them. I think I would have sex in them and sleep with them but a girl does have to draw the line….. Wouldn’t want to part with them for repair!

  171. lexi says:

    A tradition of mine ( is it a tradition if its only me?) has been to buy a piece of jewelry to remember friends or family who died. When I wear that piece, I try to think of the person and share my day with them– I try to take them places they would enjoy.
    One of my most constant companions is a 20’s silver and faiance blue glazed Egyptian revival scarab bracelet, but to me it is also my college friend, Dee, who should still be in this world, but isn’t.
    When I wear the bracelet, I feel like part of her is with me, and it makes me think of her by making me remember her unique beauty and original spirit. The bracelet is as cool and different and as
    exotic as Dee, and I try to “take her with me” to places I think she would enjoy.

  172. Nancy C. says:

    Most meaningful is my wedding ring set since it marked a huge turning point in my life. However, the Celtic cross necklace my husband gave me for Christmas is meaningful too because every time I wear it I’m reminded how much he loves me and knows me so well.

  173. Mary Ann says:

    I have a pair of gold hoop earrings that have a stamped flower shape on them. My parents gave them to me on my 21st birthday 35 years ago. The earrings were a gift that my grandmother gave to my mom. My grandmother had them brought over from the old country (Italy). So they are so very special to me because they are from my mom and grandmother! They are cherished and loved!!

  174. Wendy says:

    My most dear piece is my grandmother’s engagement ring. It is a teeny diamond in an old-fashioned silver setting but I love it. As her only grand-daughter, I inherited it and always felt special because of it.

  175. Jiuan says:

    My gold bangle with loop and ball clasp by Vivianna Torun. As suggested by my traditional Chinese family, my husband gave me a gold bracelet as a ritual wedding gift. My parents were shocked that he would drop good money on a piece of jewelry that was, to their eyes, “not real gold” – not 22K or more. He felt I would enjoy wearing it and express my aesthetic.
    I never imagined, back then, that I would be steeped in domesticity, or change careers. I have picked up my babies without a second thought to the bracelet scratching them, plunged my hands into dirt, cleaned chickens and it has become beautifully patinated. Vivianna’s bangle is wearable genius – while the ball clasp has come undone on occasion, the bangle has never slipped off my hands. It just conforms to the shape of the wrist. It has accompanied me through the phases of our lives, looking as good with jeans as it does with designer suits. It is a testament to my husband’s good judgment, in jewelry as in everything else. It reminds me of everything that is wonderful about our marriage.

  176. Dina Gold says:

    My grandfather was a hand engraver and my father was a dentist, which allowed him to cast gold jewelry for his daughters and wife. My most cherished jewelry are the pieces my grandfather engraved for me and that my father cast for me. Truly labors of love!

  177. Lauren says:

    The most important piece of jewellery I own turned into two first-edition Shakespeare anthologies last July.

    My grandmother left me her engagement ring when she passed away. I wore it on my right hand for months before my friends made me take it off, saying that it was scaring off would-be suitors. So I had it in a little bowl on my dresser where I would give it a silent salute every morning.

    And then my apartment was robbed – and the only thing taken was the ring. I called my grandfather sobbing and he said “Lauren, she’s dead. She doesn’t know it’s gone.” His harsh practicality stopped my crying and I tried to explain that it was the significance of the ring that made it so sad to lose. A few days later two giant leather-bound volumes arrived at my door with a note from my grandfather saying that these were her favorite books. They now sit under my coffee table and I give them the silent salute each day as I walk out the door.

  178. Laura says:

    Seventy-three years ago, a girl named Jane and a boy (well, man) named Charles went on a walk around a park in Madison, Wisconsin. According to Jane, it had just rained and the grass was thick and green and wet. Suddenly, Charles bent down and plucked something from the grass. It was a tiny, brilliantly green four-leaf clover. He presented it to Jane with great ceremony and asked that she press and dry it and give it to him for good luck, as he went back overseas to continue fighting in the war.

    She did, and he came through the war and asked her to marry him. On their honeymoon he gave her a bracelet with a single charm: a tiny dried four-leaf clover, encased in a glass and gold bubble.

    They went on to have 3 children, my father among them, and were married for 67 years, until my grandfather’s death at 94. Shortly after, she gave me the bracelet. I wear the charm on a necklace now – I’m wearing it as I write this – and if my house were burning down, it is the thing I would save.

  179. EM says:

    I don’t wear it now because it became just too savage (catching on and tearing scarves and tights, getting hooked on things inappropriately) but for at least 15 years I wore a strange silver ring with a amethyst so dark it looked black and I never ever took it off. I must have gotten it at a craft fair with my parents and for whatever reason glancing at it (and It always resided on my right index finger) reminded me of the person I wanted to be (creative, unhindered) and my family (to whom I am very close). As I got older, the ring achieved a really non-circular shape, molding itself to the exact shape of my finger, and pieces of it came off so that it was very thin and jagged. I ended up retiring it when I realized it would probably break one day when it attacked its next shawl and I couldn’t bear to lose it. It lives in a jewelry box, and my right index finger is ring-free.

  180. Jessica Kauphusman says:

    My fiance was very broke at the time he asked me to marry him. My mom was sweet enough to give him the diamond from her engagement ring to have a new ring setting made for me. We have been married 11 years and going strong, and I will cherish this ring for the rest of my life.

  181. Margit says:

    I have never understood that pull that jewelry has over people, but I witness it in my mom all of the time. Ironically, the piece of jewelry that is the most meaningful is not from her, but is a gift from my mother-in-law.

    My Indian husband was expected to have an arranged marriage and live at home as the eldest son. But he left his family and his country and married me and we have three young boys of our own. 16 years ago, my mother in law told me she didn’t want her son to marry me and our relationship has always been challenging coming from different cultures and speaking different languages.

    On one of our visits to India, my mother in law bought me a 22karat gold ring with an oval ruby. I designed the ring with a jeweler in Bangalore and I love it because it is beautiful and just my style. I never remove it because it reminds me that in spite of everything, she thought enough of me to give me this gift. As a mom, I understand what she gave up and how disappointing it must have been to have a daughter-in-law who could never be truly close to her like she imagined. But we both try our best and I am thankful to her for that.

  182. Kelly H says:

    My favorite piece of jewelry is a set of antique amethyst earrings from my husband. I’m sure it sounds like a cliche, but these are an extravagant gift from a not often extravagant man – and the stones are such a deep purple they just make me happy.

    What a wonderful set of stories. Thank you for the chance!

  183. naoko says:

    I bought a bracelet for myself when I was freshly transferred to work in NYC. I hadn’t made friends yet, my birthday was coming up, so feeling a bit lonely (it was winter). A sort of pat on my back for surviving so far.
    It’s a three strand charm bracelet with imitation pearls varying from purple to pinkish, and silver abacus charm (I worked in the financial market), angel, and an squiggly thing that I’m still not sure what it means.

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  185. ljchicago says:

    Kim, I hope Ron and David are going to help you sort through these and decide who gets that stunning necklace. It won’t be an easy task – there are some fantastic stories here.

    My piece is the Laura ring. I don’t know who bought the ring but its first owner was Laura Grievish, my great-grandmother’s first cousin. When she died, the ring was given to my grandmother, legally Laura Margaret Dunkelberg Pratt, but she always went by Margaret. (She also went by Rusty, because of her hair color. My sister has a beautiful tattoo of a heart with RUSTY running right through it in honor of Grandma Margaret.) Laura Grievish’s daughter, Ruth (Rich Cousin Ruth, as she was known), gave the ring to my grandma. Grandma Margaret always wore the Laura ring and later in her life every time I saw her, she would say, “You know you get this when I die.” So now the Laura ring is in my possession and will pass to my cousin Maggie (Margaret Laura) when I die.

    Grandma Margaret was quite a woman – she had four children and worked full-time as a home economist in northwest Iowa in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, she joined the Peace Corps and went to Jamaica for two years to continue her work with women and children. She died in 1999 – I miss her.

    The ring itself is platinum with a large diamond in the middle and smaller diamonds surrounding it. The large diamond has a noticeable flaw but that does not decrease its luster or meaning to me.

  186. Sandra says:

    The most meaningful piece of jewelry I own is a sage green jasper Wedgwood pendant from my best friend’s mother.

    When my best friend and his twin brother were quite young, their mother purchased a few pieces of very nice Wedgwood jewelry on an UK trip to give to her sons’ wives when they got married.

    I was in my late 30s (my best friend is a year younger than me) when he told me that his mother had given one of the pieces to him with the directions to give it to me when the “time was right.” She knew that her son was gay and looked forward to the time when he would have a partner to share his life, but she worried that the jewelry was much too feminine so she wanted to get sometime more appropriate. She also wanted to recognize my role in her son’s life because we had been best friends since the ages of 18 and 19.

    My best friend gave the pendant when I graduated law school a couple of years ago to show me how proud he was of my late-in-life legal amibitions. I wore the pendant while I took the bar exam, met my first client, and proved up my own divorce at a family court hearing, and I knew that I had my friend’s support the entire time.

  187. Maggie says:

    My pearl earrings. My given name means pearl, so I’ve always felt a strong draw to wear my namesake.

  188. Kate says:

    When my grandmother died, my sister and I got to keep an amethyst necklace and earring set. We divided it-she got the earrings and I got the necklace. When our house was robbed, they diidn’t take all my jewelry, but they did take grandma’s necklace. For Christms, my sister had the earrings made into two necklaces identical to the one that was stolen. Opening that gift was like magic, seeing an item gone forever right in my hands. I could say it’s a metaphor for how we never really lose some one, but that isn’t really what I feel in my heart. But the necklace does still feel like magic.

  189. Judy says:

    My beautiful antique styled diamond engagement/wedding ring is the most meaningful piece of jewelry I own. It was given to me by my now husband who didn’t have much money at the time but had somehow managed to save up enough for this ring.

    We had gotten married at city hall between Christmas and New Years of 2012. Then in March, while on our honeymoon in Paris, he surprised me as we were walking beneath a bridge. He had gotten down on one knee and proposed again with this ring. You can imagine my surprise as we were already married and I hadn’t expected anything more than our commitment to love and to cherish one another, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.

    I would wear the ring and admire it constantly all the time til we found out shortly that we were to be expecting. Then as I got bigger and bigger thru out my pregnancy, my fingers got more swollen and I had to stop wearing it. We now have a wonderful baby boy and I can not wear the ring as of yet as I still have a little extra weight to lose. I hate thinking that my precious ring is just sitting in its box and waiting to be adorned again. But I look at my darling son and loving husband and know that having them in my life is what’s most meaningful to me.

  190. Kerry Dankers says:

    My husband designed my engagement ring with the help of my sister and then we designed our wedding bands together. I especially love our simple wedding band and it makes me feel pretty and strong.

  191. Amanda L says:

    I have a gold bracelet that my mother bought me for a Christmas gift- it is truly beautiful.

    Amanda

  192. hindulovegod says:

    My most meaningful piece of jewelry is my high school class ring. I grew up in a working class suburb in Missouri, with a single mom on welfare. We rarely traveled. No one in my family even had a passport. As far back as I can remember, though, I had wanderlust—bad. I became obsessed with the idea of boarding school. I wanted to be in a different place, with people who had seen more of life. My mother thought my plans were ridiculous and never gave them a second thought. I, however, believed I could do it. I took the PSATs early, began researching schools with the help of my local librarian, and started applying. I got in to the oldest girls’ school in America and managed to figure out the financial aid forms (thanks again to the librarians). It took my mom a while, but she finally came around and allowed me to go my junior year. I loved it. The student body came from five continents and more countries than I can remember. The dining hall accommodated Lent, Passover, and Ramadan. Every interaction opened entirely new worlds to me. Now, as I approach 40, I look at my class ring and remember the girl who made that happen. It helps me be brave and pursue ideas that, on the surface, seem out of reach.

  193. Tracy A says:

    I had a magical childhood. The oldest of a large adopted family,
    I was also fortunate to have a single mom who loved animals as well as children.So we grew up with ponies and dogs and all sorts of creatures.
    One of my most meaningful pieces is my thumb ring, which is
    a simple silver band imprinted with horses. I wear it every day and it reminds me of all the horses I have known and of the great gift my mom gave me: a childhood filled with time outdoors and in the presence of beings who are as wise as any of us humans.
    It has been so much fun to read everyone’s stories here.

  194. Alexa says:

    My most sacred, favorite piece of jewelry is a pair of diamond stud earrings given to me by my mother ten years ago. They were given to her by my great-grandmother. We had a more- contentious- than- most relationship for much of my twenties, so the transfer of the earrings was deeply symbolic to me. I wore them virtually every day, everywhere, though they are more conservative than my usual ” look”.
    When my parents died two years ago, the earrings took on even greater significance. I inherited the rest of Mum’s jewelry, but the earrings were the ones she GAVE me, on purpose, and took pleasure in seeing me wear. The thought of losing one gave me panic attacks.
    Until last week, when I was returning from a run, messing with my earbuds, and lost one earring down a storm drain. It’s not just lost, it’s *gone*. And somehow, the world keeps turning…

  195. Andree says:

    A 50′s gold heart-shaped locket with a little diamond in the center that was my mom’s sweet 16 gift from her dad. When I had my first daughter I really wanted a locket so that I could wear a photo of her when I went back to work. My mom offered me her locket, but thought there was no way I would want to wear a heart. How wrong she was! I loved the meaning behind it.

  196. J.J. says:

    A guy in my life finally got jewelry right—not a tiny trinket, not a gaudy bauble, but a chunky silver bracelet. Twenty square silver beads strung with round polished stones. When he was nine, my son emptied out his money jar to purchase Christmas gifts. We went to the downtown holiday market—artisan cheese, terrariums, felted mittens, wooden toys…he bought his nana tulip bulbs and his sweet-tooth dad a bottle of cherry cider. Then he asked to shop on his own.
    He returned, face flushed, with a brown bag. For the next two weeks he walked around bursting with anticipation. He managed to hold out for Christmas morning. And before even checking on Santa’s stocking, he brought a carefully wrapped package to my bedside.
    “I could see it was perfect for you Mama—it’s small but it’s strong. It’s beautiful like you. And the colors are the ones you paint with.” I wear this bracelet and it solidifies me. I feel beautiful and capable—and the bracelet backs me up, because it’s proof that I am those things to those who know me best. I would have loved this piece had I seen it window-shopping. But for me, wearing it means that I have been seen and recognized for who I am.

  197. rebecca says:

    My favorite piece of jewelry is a simple ring with an smooth oval of Middle Easter turquoise bezel-set in 24K vermeil. It wasn’t expensive and it is not large. But, as opposed to gifts from my husband and friends, it expresses my own style. I feel good wearing it and it gets a lot of attention for such a simple piece. It has been a lesson to me in expressing my own vision of myself, rather than others….

  198. Hilde A says:

    My most meaningfull pieces of jewlery are those I’ve bought for my daughters and for my daughter in law. Each time I’ve been thinking of them and hoping to find something that would make them say “Wow!”. Either because it’s been totally unexpected, because it would make them feel loved or because there is no way they could spend that kind of money on themselves. Mostly for all three reasons. I have not always succeeded, but it has always ment a lot to me.

  199. Kate H says:

    For many years a hand coloured photo of my grandmother hung in my parent’s house. Taken in 1901 when she was 2 years old she was a sturdy child with auburn curls dressed in a froth of starched white linen and lace. Around her neck was a gold filigree necklace hung with charms depicting the anchor of hope; the cross of faith and the heart of charity. It never occurred to us to wonder where the necklace was but after her death we were going through some bits of ‘minor’ jewellery and to our delight found it and hung it on the picture. When my Mum and Dad downsized picture and necklace came to me and I decided not to leave it on the picture but to wear it in memory of her- possibly the first time in a hundred years it has been worn. By the way I am from London but I stumbled across Ten Thousand Things about 6 years ago and bought a lovely pair of earrings in twisted gold that I am very fond of.