Before I begin this shameless trip through my own personal history via my jewellery box, I’d like to apologise for yet another extended absence.
The weekend before last, during what has to be one of the most uniquely incredible weddings I’ve ever attended, I watched my good friend Anna marry Myles, her partner of eight years, which included two nights camping in a bell tent in North Yorkshire, drinking copious amounts of gin, and wearing more eyeshadow than is justifiable in 20 degree heat.
Having been asked to respect the privacy of the bride and groom by not sharing pictures of their festival wedding on social media, I’m unable to go into details here, but connecting with such a great friend after many years (coupled with leaving my job) left me feeling reflective.
Whilst shopping for clothes is the bane of my existence, there’s one form of shopping that I’ve been drawn to for as long as I can remember.
Since I was small I’ve been totally enamoured by anything that sparkles and shines. I mostly blame the character of Hoggle in Labyrinth. I may also be part magpie although this has never been confirmed, but has long been a suspicion of family and friends.
Although my obsession with collecting rings began when I was in my early teens, over the years it’s become something more; a means of cataloguing memories and marking special occasions.
So, as this is my corner of the internet where I can wank on about whatever subjects I choose (and shiny is one of my favourites), I thought I’d share a trip down memory lane via my overly stocked jewellery collection.
If you have a piece of jewellery that’s special to you, I’d love to see/hear about it in the comments (if you can’t be arsed, no harm done).
A gift from Anna
Being my first real mentor in the world of PR, Anna is one of those friends that shaped my attitude towards work.
Always focused, professional, and a totally brilliant PR person (as well as being far too cool to have a friend like me in her circle) when she emigrated to Singapore eight years ago the devastation was all too real.
Having commented on how pretty these earrings looked when she wore them to the office one day, to be given them as a leaving present was enough to turn me into a blubbering idiot. Whilst I don’t wear them too often these days, they’ll always have a place in my jewellery box and remind me of all the times she had me crying with laughter in those first formative months of my career.
Milestone birthdays – 18th, 21st, 30th
For the longest time whenever I was asked what I’d like for my birthday the answer was always the same.
Consequently, I have quite a few pieces that were given to me as gifts. Three of my absolute favourite items in my jewellery box were all given to me by my mum to mark my 18th, 21st and 30th birthdays; a sterling silver cuff with amber, a chunky, statement sterling silver ring with mother of pearl by Lois Hill, and a Tiffany & Co bracelet with my initials engraved onto it.
I rarely go anywhere fancy – my job and a penchant for McDonald’s don’t leave much time for that – but when I do get to wear them they always remind me of my mum.
A trip to Mykonos
One of the most poignant memories I have of holidays with family is visiting the Greek island of Mykonos with my mum, younger sister, and auntie Lil when I was 19/20.
My parents had not long separated, and it was the first holiday we took as a family without my dad in tow.
Mykonos is one of those incredible places that combines sweltering weather with quaint cobbled streets, bustling shops, party beaches and the occasional Kardashian.
It’s not an expensive ring by any means but as my mum and my elder sister both own the same design from past trips, it’s priceless to me.
Our first Valentine’s
A few weeks into our relationship I think we were pretty much in agreement that we wanted to get married, even though we were trying to be sensible and delay any discussion of marriage until after my stint at university was well and truly over.
I still vividly remember our first Valentine’s weekend.
Alex had booked us into a hotel for spa treatments and a meal. Heading upstairs to the room I was amazed to discover that it had been decorated with candles and rose petals – until this point I was under the impression such things were reserved for films. At the centre of the bed, I spotted a box; a ring box.
My stomach went over.
Ultimately the nerves were unwarranted, because this is the ring I found inside.
A grandchild worthy story, I reckon.
Engaged in Rome
After spending three years in a long-distance relationship, surviving my stint at Staffordshire Uni and countless weekend visits home, by summer 2011 I’d miraculously become marriage material.
Although I’d had involvement in what the ring would look like, my first viewing of it was under the Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome during a four-day trip to celebrate graduation.
I never get tired of looking at it and my obsession with making sure it’s clean still hasn’t gone away.
Wedding necklace & earrings
You could be forgiven for thinking these were diamonds at first glance, which is why they made the perfect wedding set. They are in fact staggeringly overpriced (but beautiful) imitations that I wore when we were married in Central Park in October 2014.
10th anniversary ring
Last May (2018) marked 10 years since Alex and I first became a couple. A milestone that seems amazing to me given just how many times we’ve battled over what to have for dinner.
This white gold and sapphire ring was a gift for our 10th anniversary that I now wear virtually every day as a right-hand ring. In case you’re wondering, he received a leather Barbour overnight bag (purchased for him not found in the street).
I’ll openly admit that I’ve never had a close relationship with either of my grandparents, but you’d be hard pressed to find a kinder soul than my grandma.
When she passed away last year, I was sad not just because we’d lost a lovely lady who I’d known my whole life, but because I had an overwhelming feeling that I was never truly going to understand who she was.
Sadly, for the best part of her life, she’d been very much under the thumb of my grandad, who ran the house from the day he retired in his early 50s (and who’s still with us).
This ring was part of her jewellery collection.