Yes. Jewelry really matters. Why? Because of its symbolism. Because it's precious and worn directly on our bodies.
We treasure jewelry the most for its capacity to represent our past, our victories, our memories, our love, our deepest wishes, and our most outstanding achievements.
Jewelry is fashion, status, and fun, which is also true. But the reason it matters and has mattered for thousands of years is because of its capacity to remind us of who we are.
Bracelet by Michael Aram
While reading the book The Choice by psychologist Edith Eva Eger, it struck me how much jewelry played a role throughout her story.
A diamond ring she never liked got her husband out of prison. And there is this story about how showing the bracelet she got from her husband after giving birth to their firstborn got her the penicillin -needed to save her daughter's life- on the black market.
Bracelet E&V Jewelry
Her story is incredible, and she describes her journey through life with honesty and no holding back about her own painful mistakes. She values, even now when she is well in her nineties, her looks: clothes, perfume, nice hair, jewelry. In a way, it's symbolic of loving oneself and embracing life. Her self-love allows her to be the caring psychologist she still is today.
There are many different reasons why people buy jewelry. I know this to be true. Running a jewelry store and an agency has taught me a lot about the psychology behind purchasing jewelry.
Thirty years later and I find myself reflecting still often on why jewelry matters so much.
Ring Chaumet Bee my Love
In these reflective moments, I also tend to get a little distracted or even frustrated. The reason I get frustrated is that I often feel that we offend people as an industry. Many stunning and hardworking people and companies are busy each day creating lovely jewelry in ALL price categories. But there is also a considerable part of companies that makes jewelry with no value, no soul, no love, no respect. Shaking off this feeling and trying not to dive into the complexity of the whole industry itself, I look at jewelry with a loving eye.
My core interest in jewelry has always been to understand and observe why people buy and love jewelry. I also always watched how people wear jewelry, how they play with their necklaces, how they touch their rings when uncertain or nervous.
And I ask them what their jewelry means to them. Do you know how many beautiful stories I have heard throughout the years?
Even when there is no story or emotion behind it, I see how wearing jewelry makes the wearer feel more beautiful. How dangling earrings bring a sparkle to their face. How a necklace finishes their look for that day. Making them feel more self-assured, more outspoken, fashionable, worthy, or seen.
Jewelry is communication. With oneself, with others. One of the saddest things I sometimes hear in a jewelry store is a woman (more often than a man would do in the same situation) saying to herself, the vendor, or her partner the following words: 'nothing too exuberant.'
I don't find it sad because she doesn't choose a big sparkly jewel, but what she really says is: I don't want to stand out, I don't want to show myself, I don't deserve anything that isn't conservative and socially acceptable.
Jewelry is a communication about who we are: our lives, our moments, our emotions, our dreams. Jewelry tells others too that we treasure ourselves.
Through stones representing various symbolic values and shapes that do the same, we remind ourselves of our values and visions of life.
Necklace Auvere 22k gold
When you buy jewelry the next time, don't hold yourself back. Be mindful of your life and love yourself. If this is a problem for you, think about the words of Edith Eger, who tells her patients to permit themselves to love themselves. (of course, the text is much more profound in her book The Gift, which I recommend reading with all my heart)
Be mindful of what your values are, what your dreams are. Be mindful of the path ahead of you.
And for those who sell jewelry, why not ask better questions? There might be things to discover for a client in a jewelry store, even about themselves.
If you think about a client, think about your role as someone who helps them get inspired and discover new jewelry types that they might love! You are a host and a guide. They are your guest, and you take them on tour!
Jewelry matters in the life of people. Jewelry is always significant, even the most miniature or cheapest jewelry.
Don't ever think you don't deserve it.
Jewelry matters, and so do you and all your small and big dreams, hopes, fears, challenges, victories, and loves.