Christmas comes early (Book Giveaway)

One lucky reader will win a copy of the new, and lavishly illustrated, Paul Flato: Jeweler to the Stars. Enter the contest by following these simple instructions:

In the comments section below, tell us about a favorite piece of personal jewelry (vintage, family heirloom, or other-wise) and why it has significance for you. It doesn’t have to be ‘high-end,’ just something you connect with, and that has a backstory. The Worn Through Interns will pick the winner. Be sure to submit your story by Sunday Dec. 12. We’ll announce the winner on Worn Through, Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Looking forward to reading your stories!

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  • Debbi Stephenson December 01, 2010 06.28 am

    My favorite piece of jewelry is a gold pendant watch that was a graduation gift to my mother-in-law’s mother in 1902. Her initials SO (for Sarah Owen) are engraved on the front. This piece, which still works perfectly, will go to my daughter (Pamela Owen) when I’m through with it.

  • Rachel Pollock December 01, 2010 08.38 am

    My aunt, Mary Ruth Read Pollock, passed away this time last year. When he was able to deal with her effects, my uncle gave me many of her things–six boxes full, in fact. I was surprised when i opened them to discover a huge collection of antique textiles, purses, and jewelry. I had no idea that she collected such things, to such a great degree.

    Over the next few months, i went through the whole collection methodically, sorting all of the pieces. I discovered vintage handkerchiefs, lengths of antique fabrics, hand-tatted lace motifs and borders, finely embroidered table linens, tiny bead-crochet evening bags, huge stacks of quilt blocks and unfinished quilt tops, cameos and brooches and genuine tortoiseshell hair combs–it was incredible. I even found a bag full of carefully darned vintage socks, smooth ornately-machine-knit men’s trouser socks from the 1950s, richly patterned!

    Though it saddened me that she had never spoken to me of them or shown me any of these things in her lifetime, being entrusted with their stewardship felt like a particularly fitting way to remember her, to grieve her, and to see that her legacy lives on.

    Since cataloguing and sorting the entire collection, i have spent the interim months distributing it. I have donated the fabrics and trims to a graduate program that studies such things, sent intact garments and accessories to costume archives and theatrical collections, and utilized many of the jewelry pieces in my own work, as millinery garnitures on one-of-a-kind hats. I also realized that she was in the process of finishing many of the partial quilts, using repurposed strips of torn or stained bedlinens and damaged fabrics with salvage-able sections.

    Among the accessories was a plain black folding fan, which i put aside and didn’t think much of. One evening a friend and i were idly looking at some of the pieces, and i opened the fan. It caught the light in a particular way, which revealed some pencil writing on the leaf: “When this you see / Remember me / Your blue-eyed boy / in Tennessee.” Somehow, my aunt Mary must’ve seen that sweet poem, seen that it made that plain black fan into a relic of some pair of lovers, and served as a token of rememberance in separation.

    Among the jewelry was a brooch which, by most accounts, would be considered fairly hideous: an enormous white-enameled metal flower. When i first saw it, i wondered why she kept it, and i considered giving it to a thrift store along with some of the unremarkable bed linens.

    Then one morning, after a particularly challenging week, i tied my hair up in a scarf, too exhausted to even bother styling it. I looked at myself, and i looked like a washerwoman, not a college professor. On a whim, i pinned the giant white metal flower brooch to the scarf, and suddenly, i looked so much more chic, like i’d donned some bohemian millinery concoction.

    I wear that brooch on hair scarves often now, and each time it makes me smile and remember her, her taste in textiles and her secret collection, and her unique way of seeing these little artifacts of full, finished, interesting lives.

  • Ali B. December 01, 2010 12.11 pm

    The best jewelry carries a story, a way of reflecting back on life’s journeys, and here is mine:

    My favorite piece of jewelry is my (new) engagement ring. My husband knew I wouldn’t want newly mined gemstones, so he secretly visited my mother 2,500 miles away, told her his plans and asked if she had any heirlooms to pass along. My grandparents on that side had eloped, so my grandmother never had an engagement ring, but my grandfather had given her an emerald surrounded by small diamonds in rose gold.

    Todd proposed with that ring, and I loved it. The next day we went to get it sized and appraised and that’s when disaster struck: The jeweler promised to have it done in 5 days, but weeks and weeks went by, as I continued to call and they gave me the brush off—I was shocked at how dismissive and rude they were. Just when I had given up hope (or was ready to press charges), they called: My ring was ready: come and get it! When I arrived the next day they suddenly had bad news: The ring was smashed—they just, uh, didn’t notice when they called me the previous day. And they wanted us to pay for the sizing and appraisal.

    To make a long story short, I decided I didn’t need an engagement ring. All the negativity surrounding my grandmother’s beautiful ring had tarnished my incredibly romantic engagement, and I just wanted to move on and embrace the romance of being proposed to.

    About a month later, Todd and I started talking about a jeweler friend we had visited a while back in Philadelphia, and we called her up and asked her if she would create something unique and entirely new with my ring. We also sent her a fat gold chain Todd had bought as a young man in the Cayman Islands in the late 80s, that was worth a bit of money but he would (obviously) never wear in 2010! I worked with her to draft 5 or 6 Northwest-themed designs (we live in Seattle), and I picked the one I loved: A blend of my grandmother’s rose gold and Todd’s yellow gold, wrapped around the emerald and repositioning the diamonds as “berries” nestled in leaves. It’s SO cool and super unique: the perfect blend of my husband, my grandparents, my mother, my own style and my jeweler friend. What more do you need in a piece of jewelry?

    To me, jewelry is only meaningful to the person who wears it. Otherwise it has no significance; it is just an object. But what it represents in craftsmanship, history, quality and memories gives it its true meaning. This ring is my first piece of “valuable” jewelry, but the monetary value means nothing to me. What I love is how a negative story became a positive, and that so much creativity and love went into making my engagement ring. Also, I was pretty sure I’d missed the boat when it came to love and marriage, so wearing something that reminds me that love is always possible, no matter what your age, is the best story of all. My engagement ring became a gift from many, many people that will forever be a reminder—and reflection—of my long, winding journey to finding love.

  • maggie December 01, 2010 12.58 pm

    I was close to my grandparents. My grandfather died suddenly, then 5 years later my grandmother passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s. Her children (my mother, aunts, and uncle) chose to give her wedding rings to me.

    Outwardly they aren’t anything special. Just a beat-up plain gold band and an engagement ring with tiny diamonds. But I remember watching her bake, making pastry with those hands with her rings on. They were always a part of her, and I’m thankful my family let me have them to remember her by.

  • Jo December 01, 2010 03.04 pm

    My favorite piece of jewelry is the marquise cut diamond ring my grandfather found in a gas station restroom while driving through the West in the 1950’s. My grandmother wore it for years along side her engagement and wedding rings. Then my mother wore it, and she recently gave it to me. I would treasure this ring just because it was my grandmother’s, but as an avid collector of found grocery lists and lost playing cards a diamond set in platinum is the ultimate score, and that makes the ring even more perfect. In my mind my grandparents are driving to Palms Spring and they celebrate my grandfather’s glamorous find with cocktails and lobster thermidor at the Riviera. No one has disputed my version of events. The ring is the only piece of real jewelry I wear, and when it catches the light I feel like a piece of a magical evening has been captured on my finger.

  • Worn Through » Editor’s Week in Review: Dec 11
    December 11, 2010 - 12:29 pm

  • Worn Through » Winner!
    December 15, 2010 - 5:02 am

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