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Jewelry Has Meaning
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What does jewelry mean? It has been part of mankind since the dawn of time. It is inherently human, incredibly rich, diverse, and sometimes complex.

To me, each piece of jewelry has its own meaning whether associated with a loved one or a specific moment. If you are lucky enough to own a custom piece of jewelry, it becomes unique. The personal intention that binds the precious components from their inception makes a distinctive piece.

It can have a collective, almost universal meaning. A ring on the wedding finger - a clear display of love and commitment binding spouses.

It may convey a sense of belonging to a group or community. A discrete cross on a gold chain. A broach of Fatima's hand holding a scarf. The thick silver neck bands of the Bonda.

It can bring a flood of emotions, instant tears when handling a precious item. A loved one on their knee offering a ring in its opened box - tears of joy, memories to come. A loved one's favorite necklace rediscovered after their passing - tears in grief, memories past.

It may express one's individuality or rebellious streak. A pierced lip. A studded nose or eyebrow. A striking piece making a fashion statement.

It can be used to display one's wealth or establish ranking. Rappers' bling. Ring-clad hands. A royal crown.

It can be purely functional or worn daily without even thinking about it, almost forgotten. A watch. An ear stud.

It can be hundreds or thousands of years old, withstanding the test of time and revealing specific customs and beliefs about past civilizations. Lavish gold amulets and beaded necklaces adorned the deceased for their send-off into the afterlife in ancient Egypt. Gold nose rings worn during religious ceremonies by the Inca.

It can be the stuff of legends, believed to hold mystical powers.
Its crafting can be considered a sacred task by an elite group of highly skilled workers. Fashioning beads was reserved for a chosen class in some Native American tribes, whilst in others it was just the women. The compagnonnage movement, rooted in the trade brotherhoods of 13th century France, presented a unique way for artisans and tradesmen to convey working knowledge and know-how about all the materials and methods of the day.

Its trade was (and may still be) associated with violence and greed, pillaging the earth's resources, and exploiting the weak. Pirates' treasure. Blood diamonds. Illegal gold mining.

It can be the stuff of legends, believed to hold mystical powers. King Solomon had a valuable ring thought to control spirits and demons. Arab lore says something about lightning making opals as it strikes the ground. In J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece, a legend comes to life with "One ring to rule them all."

May you continue to enjoy jewelry, whether it brightens your day, enriches your life, or tells a part of your story.

Posted by Caroline D.: February 14, 2019

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