Charm Bracelets and Memories…

A blog post by Marci Bailey

I made the best discovery last night…I’m sure like many of you, I have been in the throes of major spring cleaning. It has been a colossal purge and it feels SO good. Nothing has been off-limits, and last night was no exception. I decided to finally tackle my closet.

I heard a new mom say recently that her closet had clothes for three people —  pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-pregnancy self. My closet was exactly that. I dove in, head first. After about 30 minutes of digging and flinging, I came across a familiar box, dark green with the gold embossed lettering “Dom Perignon 1983.” It is a box that I have totted around much of my life, a treasure box, of sorts.

I wonder what my parents were celebrating with that bottle of bubbly? In my adult life, I have used it to house my fun costume jewelry, some family and childhood pieces and many that I have acquired while hunting for something special. I know that I have not opened that box in at least 5 years, since our move. I sat on my closet floor, chaos around me, and popped the lid open. Boxes, velvet bags and plastic baggies abounded.

The first bag was familiar — two super cool vintage pins that I found in Orange, California while attending G.I.A. The second bag was larger and quite heavy when I picked it up. I reached in and pulled out a scrap of paper. It read “Mom and Grandma T.” It was my handwriting but in that moment I had no clue what was in that bag. I reached in again and scooped out a large, lovely, jumbly pile of silver charms attached to two different bracelets. I stared at what was in my hand, trying to pull at any memory of what I was looking at. Truthfully, I couldn’t recall these two pieces ever being in my possession. I knew my mom had had a bracelet from her youth but, I didn’t realize it had been entrusted to me. And, I surely didn’t remember having my grandmothers or ever even seeing it. Crazy, right?!? I’m going to blame it on my sleep deprivation and mommy brain over the last five years.

I sat there over the next 20 minutes and looked at each bracelet, charm by charm, and connected with a history that I had only heard about in stories. This might sound strange, but it had a profound impact on me. I mean, my passion is taking discarded jewelry pieces and giving them a new life…a continuation of their story. But, in that moment I connected with my passion in a new and more personal way. Jewelry is so much more than metal and stones, especially estate and antique jewelry.

There are very few material things in this life that stand the test of time, jewelry is one of them. We can mark our accomplishments and celebrate our successes along the way with a piece that speaks to us and then, hopefully, some day, our daughters or our daughters’ daughters can sit in a quiet place and relive our lives, one moment at a time.