WOMEN AND JEWELRY. Part I of a Series

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I have always loved to shop in Mexico. Our house is so full of Mexican crafts it feels like a museum. But, I have always drawn the line at buying jewelry. During the many years that I designed and sold jewelry, I only wore my own.
So it has surprised and interested me that on this trip I have been buying and putting together a whole collection of jewelry, just for me. I started feeling an almost primal urge to have a wardrobe of jewelry from this particular place and time. I have zeroed in on some very specific things and I find I have approached buying and putting these pieces together in the same way I used to approach designing a collection of my own jewelry line at the studio. I have put together two very different looks, and they are both the same very definite statement and style, even though the individual pieces have come from randomly different sources. One of these looks is built around Chiapas amber, the other around Mayan jade. The amber pieces I bought from a local man who deals only in amber from Chiapas, and the jade necklace (and its companion piece in Tibetan turquoise with more amber) was designed by Gloria Esperanza, the original “flower child” of Zipolite. (More about her in a future post). Each ensemble is accented with bracelets that I have found that are made by South American hippies, and a couple of woven ones from a Chiapan beach vendor that are an alternative look I couldn’t resist. This is all completed by a couple of rings that I brought from home that work perfectly. I am really enjoying wearing these pieces and comfortable that they represent my own personal style. They are great for going out for dinner here, and I think I will enjoy wearing them anywhere I go. I have also had a lot of fun shopping. I had pleasant interactions with everyone I bought from. I spent a lovely afternoon in Gloria’s home looking at many pieces that she has done over the decades and hearing her story. I will think of each of these people when I wear the jewelry that I have bought from them.
This process of buying other people’s jewelry for myself has given me a new appreciation for some of the clients I had when I was in this business. First of all, you don’t have to design and make jewelry to fully understand the aesthetics of it. I had several women who shopped with me who knew exactly what pieces would work for them and had a keen sense of how to put these things together. They had a really well-developed personal style and when they wore my jewelry, they wore it so well it looked like I had designed it just for them. I truly believe they will continue to wear and enjoy these pieces for years to come. While I always enjoyed interacting with them, I now have a better understanding of the importance of that interaction.
I had a moment when I was considering a piece that wasn’t really right for me, and even though it was very beautiful, I walked away from it. If you are shopping to express your own style you will understand that you buy only things that are right for you. You don’t buy something because it is beautiful, or because you “like it”, but because you feel a true connection to it. The right piece will simply speak to you, and you will know for sure.
I had the experience many times when a woman was overjoyed to find a piece that was perfect for her and then to buy it with no hesitation. Sometimes it was fun when her significant other was with her and approved the purchase. And, I might add, nothing makes a woman feel more special than for her significant other to pull out the wallet and seal the deal. But, on the other hand, it is very empowering for a woman to buy jewelry for herself. Jewelry can cast a magic spell, and I have always felt that the jewelry you wear says a lot about you. No matter how much jewelry you have, it is still such a thrill to wear something new.
The closest thing I’d come to this was to fall in love with one of my own pieces and announce to Fred that I was taking it home. I am glad for every piece I’ve kept and I will wear them for as long as I live, but this jewelry shopping thing is new, and I like it!

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