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Why Wear Jewelry?

May 24, 2010

These earrings seem so versatile to me -- I could wear them with just about anything if they weren't already for sale in my ETSY store -- which got me thinking about why we started wearing jewelry in the first place

Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie had a simple answer to that question:  “Jewelry takes people’s minds off your wrinkles.” While I’m not quite to the strategic-jewelry-wearing point in life (yet), I do agree with old Sonja that jewelry can serve as an important diversion in life; and evidently we’re not alone with that logic. 

Think about some of the earliest forms of jewelry — charms, noisy bracelets and whatnot were worn for spiritual protection, to ward off evil spirits in the great unknown. Under these circumstances, jewelry-makers chose their materials based on its perceived power, and the items worn assumed a very specific function and significance in society. 

While I’ll be the first to admit that I’m grossly oversimplifying the storyline here (my sincere apologies to any serious jewelry history buffs out there who might be reading this), the point I wanted to make with this little history reference is that many of us still choose to wear jewelry for similar reasons. 

We want to protect (or project) with a message, feel close to a loved one, be less alone in our struggles, and positive about the world around us. Sound like a tall order for a little piece of metal? Think about all jewelry we wear because of the power of its message — pink ribbons, serenity prayers, even those LIVE STRONG yellow rubber bands would count in my book. 

Of course, that type of jewelry is meaningful because of powerful life events, and obviously not all jewelry carries such significance. Sometimes what’s important is the material its made from, the person who gave it, or the time and place in life when it was received. And sometimes, it’s just plain fun to wear because it feels good.  

As for me, I’d probably  answer that question with another question — why not? (Sorry to cop out like that, but I have to finish this post and get back to making some more pieces)

And you? Why do you you wear jewelry? I’d love to know.

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