24 April 2007

The Family Jewels

Here is an image of two necklaces that my paternal grandmother gave me. I'm sure that they were Christmas presents.

The green one most definitely came from Central America where my grandparents lived for two years in the late 1980s. I could not have been older than 12 when I received it. At the time I'm sure I didn't know or care that I'd been given jade. 10 years later fashion had changed, I was an adult, and suddenly the necklace was interesting to me for the first time. I've been wearing it ever since, and wearing it out. A few years ago I re-strung it with plastic spacer beads between the jade stones.

I have no idea about the origins of the other necklace (other than its entry into my life as a gift from grandmother). It came in a very lovely orange box. Because grandmother traveled the world several times over I have no idea where it might have come from. My amateur-gemologist husband tells me that this one is amber. Maybe it is. Grandmother has very likely been to the Baltic States and the Dominican Republic where amber comes from. When I saw her two weeks ago I didn't have the necklace with me or I would have asked her. But she might not have remembered anyway. Like the jade necklace, this one sat in the basement of my parents’ home for a decade before I changed my mind about it, and quite likely two decades before I retrieved it.

In part I value these necklaces simply as gifts from my grandmother. But part of me values what they represent to me now; the foolishness of my youth, the transience of fashion, the merits of waiting a few years or decades before discarding another's treasures. And another part of me reflects with something like wonder that my grandmother never seemed concerned that I (as a child) didn't know how to appreciate these gifts.


Matthew said...

The necklace on the right looks much more amber than in the photo.

Dad said...

Excuses, excuses, excuses stand up for your oonvictions in the face of all critcism and doubts and reconstructions of truth! They are pretty and I am glad to see you have added them to your current life space. What other treasures are there in "the basement"?