My first pieces of jewelry weren't particularly glamorous. I wore stick-on earrings for way longer than is appropriate, at which point I graduated to slap bracelets and candy necklaces. Junior high wasn't much better, with intricate anklets and stretchy chokers followed by puka shells and stick-on rhinestones in high school. But jewelry is always something I've loved and as my taste has become a bit more refined over the years, I've also come to appreciate that almost every piece I have has a personal story associated with it. Here are five of my favorite items and what they mean to me.
My engagement ring. G and I talked about marriage pretty early into our relationship, but we never discussed rings. I'm not that traditional in most aspects of my life (I mean, we moved in together after dating for eight months), but I felt strongly about not being involved in the whole buying-the-diamond part. I wanted it to be something that he chose for me and not something that I'd simply picked for myself. The stone is an Ascher-cut diamond, which G said he liked because it felt "unique and classic" like me, which I thought was so sweet.
Chain link bracelet. I get more compliments on this piece than anything else I own (plus it distracts Sloan when she's upset, which is great). My grandfather bought it in New York in the '70s and I inherited it from him once he passed away. It's substantial but simple, and I love that it's something I can wear on a daily basis.
Diamond necklace. My mom gave me this necklace on my wedding day. The diamond had been part of a ring that belonged to my grandmother and she had it made to look like it was floating on a whisper-thin chain. I'd been really torn about what kind of jewelry to wear when I got married - it felt weird to wear nothing, but since I'm not a big earring person and a substantial necklace would have been too much, this was the perfect piece. I wear it everyday paired with my 'Sloan' necklace.
I bought myself this ring after my college boyfriend and I broke up. I'd recently moved to L.A. and didn't know anyone, so I was feeling particularly sad and lost. This was the first piece of jewelry I bought that wasn't just a fleeting, throwaway purchase (the rest of the rings I owned were tarnished metal that turned my fingers blue). It felt so empowering to do something for myself and every time I looked down at my finger, I was reminded that I was strong and independent and that I was okay on my own.
Turquoise necklace. I've never been into turquoise since it feels a bit costume-y and too Southwestern for my taste. But at some point during my freshman year in college, I came across an editorial in a magazine that showed a girl wearing a chunky turquoise necklace interwoven with a bunch of other pink quartz necklaces and I fell in love. It was the first time I'd really taken an interest in fashion and casually mentioned it to my mom while we were on the phone. For my birthday that year, she sent me a package, with the page from the magazine laid out on top, as well as replicas of the necklaces she'd made for me. Even though I don't wear the pieces all that often, I still remember how excited I was to receive that gift.