Last week three of my fabulous blogger friends wrote fun articles entitled, “My Life in Hairstyles.” (The Flying Chalupa, Midlife Mixtape and Smacksy) Not only did I love seeing their life unfold right on the screen, but it got me to thinking about my own life and how jewelry has always been such a big part of it. So for your entertainment, here’s my life in jewelry…and clearly you get to see my hairstyles as well, the good and the not-so-good.
As I started my tour through all my (zillion) photo albums, I was so surprised to see that I was already wearing a slim bracelet on my right hand at only one year old. I have no recollection of this bracelet, and how I wish I knew the story behind it and where it is now. I have a feeling it must have started my subconscious love of the bling.
The allure of all things sparkly led me to do something very naughty when I was around 5 years old. I had quite a few pieces of nice jewelry gifted to me from family. I distinctly recall a necklace with an emerald-cut ruby pendant surrounded by little diamonds, and another one with an amethyst pendant. I needed to know what it felt like to hold all these gems in my hand, so I meticulously picked out each gem from their settings, one by one. I knew I had done something very bad, so I hid them in a clam shell I had picked up on the beach, hoping my parents didn’t find out.
The best way I could get my hands on jewelry was on Halloween, when I loved to dress up as a gypsy. I wore my mom’s necklaces draped over me, and my fingers bedecked in many rings. I love how in this photo, the bracelets are stacked over my quilted parka. In addition, I got to wear lipstick!! And who needs trick-or-treat candy when you have beautiful, dangling earrings on?! I felt so glamorous.
For picture day in fourth grade, not only did I wear an outfit that I made myself (my mom taught me to sew starting in third grade), but I wore my favorite necklace — little cherries that looked almost like stained glass. I proudly wore this necklace for years, and it always felt very special.
Though I was the queen of Valley Girl style in middle school, I unfortunately don’t have any photos of me in my jewelry. (How can that be?!) Plastic beads in white, aqua, and pink were right up there with my painted clip-on earrings. Totally tubular, fur shuur.
Come high school, I had this weird idea that I was now “grown up” and needed to have more sophisticated jewelry. In my mind, this came in the form of a thin, gold chain, which I apparently wore in my school photos for the next three years. Given the size of my hair (yes, this is all natural!) I should have definitely stepped up the scale of the necklace, don’t you think? (side note: The boys used to bark and call me poodle with this hair…no fun!) Although I was desperate for pierced ears, my father forbid it until I finished college. (another side note: I didn’t make it till the end of college with virgin ears, much to his chagrin.)
New Year’s Eve 1986 was extra-special for me, as one of my best friends, Leslee, came to visit. She had moved to Washington state after third grade, but we remained great pals. (And we still are to this day!) We thought we had it going on at a party in a friend’s garage, on either side of a cute boy. I loved my long pearls, which I wore knotted for a little sass. Love how Leslee was rockin’ the bolo tie! (She’s always been edgier than me!)
Off to UCLA I went, and that’s where I started making jewelry and selling it on campus and in a few shops in Los Angeles. I adored making the beaded earrings, and I really enjoyed helping people pick out just the right pair. Since my ears were newly pierced, it was all new and exciting for me.
Though I was most comfortable in my Birkenstocks and beachy attire, I also did some hair modeling. No matter what they did with my hair and make-up (and boy did they pile it on!), I still had to wear huge silver hoops and my favorite crystal, which I still have today. Silver hoops were my first pierced earrings I ever bought, and they remain a staple in my personal style.
Setting up my jewelry in my apartment senior year was so much fun for me. I turned my giant bulletin board into a display for my earrings and necklaces, and I had a tray of bracelets below. It gave me so much joy to look at every day, and I felt like I was in my own little boutique when I’d select my ensemble for the day.
After college, the 8 years I taught third grade were spent wearing a lot of wood cut-out jewelry, as you have read about in previous articles. But when I made the career switch to image consulting in 1999, I definitely upped my jewelry ante. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I purchased these Tiffany & Co. mesh earrings by Elsa Peretti. I wore them for many years before I passed them on.
After the popularity of small-scale jewelry in the 1990’s, I was excited to see bigger, bolder designs emerge in the 2000’s. This turquoise necklace, purchased from a street vendor in NYC in 2001 seemed SO big at the time, but it was a perfect transition to a larger scale. (Now, it seems almost dainty!)
While at a glamorous girl’s weekend in Montecito in 2003, I borrowed this crystal necklace to wear with my Ralph Lauren rhinestone earrings. I felt like a princess!
After a long trip to Italy the summer of 2005, I returned oh-so-tan, and I thought I looked pretty cool in these chandelier earrings with turquoise drops in them. I think they only cost about $20, but they hit just the right note with the dress. Without the earrings, the outfit would not have felt complete.
Buying this amethyst lariat necklace by San Francisco designer Alana Leigh was a big moment for me. It felt like a substantial purchase, and I wore it a lot.
I went REALLY big for New Year’s Eve 2009, with this Elie Tahari necklace I won at a contest at Neiman Marcus.
I started getting into layering necklaces and stacking bracelets around 2010. Here’s a shot which shows one of my initial attempts while in Copenhagen. (Great city!) Layering and stacking opened a whole new jewelry door for me, and that was likely one of the pre-cursors for me to start my blog less than a year later.
I know you’ve seen my whole jewelry life since then, so I won’t bother repeating. I would LOVE you to send me some images of you wearing your favorite jewelry throughout the years!! Send them to me at [email protected]. Thanks for coming along on this nostalgic ride with me–hope you enjoyed it!