Old is the new…new?
Friday afternoon, a night out is approaching and young woman is scanning the mall for a new piece of accessory. A necklace, bracelet, earrings, anything, preferably cheap, because in a few weeks, she’ll need something new. She can’t wear the same old jewelry she wore last time out, right? Right?
That’s was me in my 20s. It was almost like a start-of-the-weekend tradition, but not much of what I bought back then is still in my jewelry box. Now I have fewer pieces, in genuine materials and I love to wear them time and time again. I especially treasure the ones with a story, like my inherited jewelry. How come so many of us nowadays feel the need to be wearing something new all the time? Lack of self-worth? Wanting to impress? To compensate? Or just by not actively choosing differently? Choosing to appreciate what you have?
1940, as newlyweds with very little money, my grandfather saved up enough to be able to buy my grandmother a silver enamel butterfly brooch as an addition to her jewelry “collection”; her wedding ring, two necklaces and a thin bracelet. They always planned all their purchases thoroughly, mostly out of necessity, so she was truly surprised. She loved that brooch and wore it often. Later, when they could afford to buy jewelry without having to save up first, the butterfly still remained one of her favorites. Before she passed away, she left it to me.
There is some kind of immeasurable value in a quality object that is made to last and to be passed on. Every time I look at my heirlooms, I think of the person who gave it to me. Especially my grandmother’s brooch. And even if I don’t wear it that often, just holding it makes me smile and think of her. The taste of her raspberry jam on pancakes that she made for me every time I visited and of course her laugh and hugs.
I know that you also know that money can’t buy you love and things can’t bring you true happiness, so next time you feel like buying something new just for a party, try asking yourself if it at least will give you joy in a year or two or ten? If not, walk away. People want to meet you, not your new bling, promise.
By the way, tradition comes from the latin word traditio which means handing/hand over and can be a possession, teaching or a saying. How much in your jewelry box is worth handing over to the next generation?