Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Colette Patterns made a recent post on how our style and sense of fashion is influenced by our family and our heritage. Well, really, by our grandmothers. There will be a post coming up to wax proud about my grandmothers and the influence that they have had on me, (probably after Colette's post is long past current) but this is actually a post on how someone's grandmother, whom I have never met, has recently influenced my style.

One of my coworkers recently lost his grandmother, and brought some of her old belongings to work to share. The fact that he was willing to share was touching and impressed me.

Though it is awkward to rummage through someone else's life, I do find it an empowering experience to be part of celebrating their memory. I did not look through much of the boxes that he had brought in, but I was snagged by her costume jewelry.

At the start of this post is a pin with a compass in a tortoiseshell setting. I was given this particular piece because everyone thought it was very much my style. Funnily, I am always lost, and the compass doesn't actually work accurately. I found it quite appropriate. I look forward to finding a wool skirt or a shawl to accent with this pin, though. Isn't it sweet?

There were a number of other pieces of jewelry that I found myself captivated by. To be honest about it, I cleaned out about half of the box. But in terms of the pieces I chose, they were two lockets, quite a few pins (some of owls, others of flowers or ribbons), a chain belt of little chicklet like rectangles, and various necklaces.

The lockets are particularly cute, one being the basic of basics heart locket that I always wanted as a little girl. The other has an 18th-century type of design with a little couple on the front, sitting together, and the locket portion opening in the back. I don't often wear lockets, as I don't often take the time to cut out little pictures to put in them, but I love the excuse to actually get around to it. (I actually have another locket, but still am awaiting a picture of my grandfather to put into it.)

Some other necklaces that I found myself gravitating toward were a silvery necklace made of curlicue-filled ovals and a Saint Anthony key pendant (both shown to the left with one of the chicklets from my new belt). I wasn't sure about the silver necklace, but it really held its own when worn. The Saint Anthony pendant goes along with my propensity to get lost, to feel lost, to look lost. I mean, really, is there a better patron saint for me?

I did choose various other pieces, but the last two I want to highlight about are a small pearl necklace and a classy orange marmalade jar! The necklace that didn't have clasps anymore, but is just the size I was looking for in pearls! The string is quite old also, so it's started to lose beads, but I think I have a sufficient substitute string to use in its repair. I cannot claim much skill in the jewelry department, but I hope to do justice by it. As for the jar, it's a perfect place in which one can wrangle rogue pearls and newly acquired beauties.

Revisiting a notion I stated earlier, it's not just that I now am the proud owner of some beautiful things that I didn't have before, this post is about commemoration. I am quite proud to be wearing things that are honoring and celebrating a woman who touched the lives of many people, some of whom I know and like well, some of whom she's never met (like me!). Wearing these pieces, and gifting these pieces, remind me that spreading the love and joy and memory of those we've lost can be in the smallest of gestures, in the least of places. Like pearls in an orange marmalade jar.

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