Monday, April 15, 2013

52 Steps to Yesteryear - Wear Vintage Pearls

For centuries mothers and grandmothers have pressed precious gems into the hands of their daughters and daughters-in-law for special days. They've promised strings and beads little girls have admired, for that one day, when clips will adorn younger necks, wrists and ears. 

My uncle and aunt on the day of their engagement - 1967
When one of my dear uncles passed away, his widow gave up wearing her jewellery. One afternoon while I visited at her kitchen table, she brought her pouch of jewels and let them spill onto the tablecloth. It still held crumbs from lunch, but we brushed them aside. From her stash, she bequeathed a gold bracelet her mother-in-law, my grandmother, had gifted her when she married my uncle. And her pearls. Her pearls. The ones her groom gave her on their engagement day. She gave them to me. 

How did she know those pearls had captivated me for years? She probably didn't, but she chose to give them to me anyway. After years of staring at the photograph of my uncle slipping the necklace on his fiance, I now had them to treasure for myself. 

And I could not cherish a string of pearls more. No siree. A beribboned set from a Tiffany's box would not thrill me the way these do. Mine have history, meaning. They're part of my story. If the photo above were clearer, you'd see my aunt's pearls around her neck, along with other engagement jewels. (I'm in the photo too, kind of. In my mum's belly. She's the tall babe, showing a little leg, and my dad's the handsome charmer, second from the right.) 

As time passes and loved ones leave us, we're often left with tokens of love and life, as it's handed to us. So I keep my pearls safe, together with other keepsakes which mark special days. Not only do I wear them in their honour, but I plan, like many women before me, to pass them onto my daughter and those who will become my daughters-in-law. 

It's one way stories travel from generation to generation. When childless aunts brush away tears as well as crumbs, tell their stories, and trust us with a small part of who they are. 

Has anyone passed on vintage jewellery to you? Did it come with a story? What family jewels did you watch closely as a little girl? 

Enter to win these pearls! 
Leave a comment below and you'll be in the running to win, yes WIN this gorgeous string of Swarovski pearls with angel wings. Isn't it beautiful? Made by my dear friend Faye at WearableArt Celtic, this necklace is designed to be worn with the clasp in the front. One lucky Ink Dots friend will win it, and you won't be disappointed if it's you. I'll announce the winner next Friday. Thanks Faye, for your beautiful craftsmanship. 

Good luck, dear friends, 
And blessings for a wonderful weekend,