Saturday, March 2, 2013

Storytelling Sunday: Heirloom Jewelry

On the first Sunday of every month, Sian of From High in the Sky hosts "Storytelling Sunday," a chance for bloggers to tell some tales and spin some yarns. For 2013, she has invited participants to "pick their precious" and tell the story behind a precious object. For March, she suggested something Irish. And I have just the thing or two to talk about!
I love jewelry.  I always have. And when I travel (as I am wont to do), I try to pick up a special piece for my collection. In 2001, on our first trip to Ireland, I wandered down the cobbled part of Grafton Street, closed off to cars and a joy pedestrians.  I stuck my nose into Fields Jewellers and looked at every piece of jewelry that had an Irish feel to it. We were staying in Dublin, on the Trinity College campus, and Grafton Street was just a hop, skip and a jump from our apartment in the student dorms. It was our first trip abroad as a family, and I loved exposing our children to the world (we returned to Ireland twice for similar academic summer abroad programs and also taught in programs in Prague and Budapest).  Over the next few weeks, I visited Fields over and over, thinking about what I wanted to buy. Eventually, I bought five pieces: a child's bracelet for Clara (who was 3 at the time); a sterling silver cuff bracelet (which I wore for years and then gave to our Goddaughter on her 16th birthday with an invitation to go to Ireland with us on our next trip); a pair of silver Celtic knot earrings; a light and (relatively) inexpensive sterling silver Celtic cross necklace; and this gold Celtic cross pictured above. In the last dozen years, I have worn the cross most days. I love its simplicity, its length and the feel of it around my neck. In Christopher Moore's awesome novel, A Dirty Job, he suggests that every human being has a "soul object," a tangible object where their immortal soul is transferred upon death. The novel's protagonist is in charge of collecting these and making sure that deserving souls make it to heaven. When our book group discussed the book, I asked everyone what they thought their "soul object" might be. And, for myself, I chose this necklace. Because it encompasses my faith and reminds me of all the travel we have undertaken as a family and because I wear it almost every single day. It's definitely precious, and I hope that, someday (a long time from now) one of my children will cherish this necklace as a piece of heirloom jewelry. 
Much like I cherish this piece:
My father bought this gorgeous gold necklace for my mother on Mother's Day in 1972.  The back includes a quote from Washington Irving, "The love of a mother is never exhausted, it never changes, it never tires." I was thrilled to inherit it from my mom. I think she left it to me because I was the only one of her three daughters who became a mother. I wear it on those days when I feel like I need her strength to bolster me.
I will end this (very long) Storytelling post with one more Irish piece:
I love this Claddagh ring which I inherited from my Aunt Vera and Uncle Nano. The design of the ring symbolizes love, friendship, and loyalty and originated in the village of Claddagh, just outside of Galway (one of our very favorite places in Ireland). I'm not 100% sure of the story behind the ring I have, but it is special in a couple of ways.  First, it is made out of rose gold which gives it a beautiful and unusual color. Second, it is fairly heavy and thick. It almost has the feel of a man's ring  My Uncle Nano was a Houston, Texas jeweler of some note, and every piece I inherited from him is of the highest quality. I love wearing my Claddagh ring and (secretly) enjoy the fact that I'm not sure of its back story. It allows my mind to wander and weave all kinds of tales . . . which I'm sure every storyteller in Ireland would appreciate!
For more stories (Irish and otherwise), please check out Sian's linky here.

29 comments:

Amy said...

I have some heirloom jewelry as well and I completely understand how important it is. Your pieces are lovely and it is wonderful that they have such a rich history.

Jo Murray said...

Lovely pieces and lovely stories Rinda

Becky said...

Lovely jewellery and stories to go with them :-)

Ruth said...

How lovely that you wear your heirloom pieces.

Mary B said...

Lovely jewellery Rinda I too love that ring and can understand the love of the mystery behind it.

Ladkyis said...

Lovely story, thank you so much for sharing

Sian said...

What beautiful pieces..I think you chose well! I like the air of mystery and the thought that there could be any number of stories behind your Cladagh Ring - and I love that you know the proper way to wear it. Married and it's your left hand with the crown pointing away; looking for love, it's the right hand with the crown pointing away from the heart; and not interested in love, it's the right hand with the crown pointing towards the heart.

Perfectly precious, Rinda

Jennie Hart said...

Love your story and how well you have woven it. I admire that you have been mindful of things over your whole life, I am a johnny-come-lately to material things and how precious things matter so much.

Karen said...

Although I have nothing Irish, I chose heirloom jewelry to share this month as well. I love the cross; it's one of the loveliest I've seen, and the quote on the back of your mother's necklace is just wonderful!

Cheri said...

heirloom jewelry is always fun precisely because of the back story! Your pieces are beautiful.

Sheena said...

You chose some beautiful pieces of jewellery. Many thanks for sharing their stories with us.

Irene said...

What wonderful photographs of your hands and that they hold so many memories. Very precious storytelling Rinda, so meaningful.

Elizabeth said...

I do believe in soul objects. I wear my mother's wedding band and feel sure she is close to protect me.

Scrappi Sandi said...

Lovely pieces & lovely too that you wear & enjoy them! Thanks for sharing their stories & will you ever get to the bottom of the story behind the Cladagh ring, I wonder?!! :D

Sabrina S. said...

Nice post! Then, it will be your turn to pass them on to another generation, so they can stay and gain even more history over the decades.
Cheers from France

Jennie said...

Such lovely pieces of jewelry Rinda -your cross is really beautiful, and I love that you wear your jewelry. I have never heard of "soul objects" so thank you for that. I must investigate further - a really like it. Thanks for sharing. Love J x

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Lovely story & such beautiful pieces to have.

Louise said...

this is a lovely post on your precious irish pieces. I was just reading Sian's comment on how to wear your ring....i never knew that!!

Irene said...

Lovely pieces and stories to go with them.

Missus Wookie said...

Oh I so enjoyed reading about your jewellery this month - and then Sian's comments too. Such gorgeous pieces, I like the rose gold ring and yep the fact you don't know the back story adds a layer of interest :)

S said...

What lovely keepsakes holding such precious memories, and I like the fact that jewelry is most often one of the things that is passed from generation to generation to generation. Thanks for sharing.

Kirsty.a said...

These are so beautiful. I have a Claddagh ring which my 2 then besties bought me for my 18th. All our birthdays were within 10 days and we bought each other jewellery. Did you know that if the heart points inwards it means you'ere in a relationship, outwards means you're single

Alison said...

Lovely pieces...and lovely stories to go with them!
Alison xx

Jimjams said...

That cross is beautiful. Lovely his-stories Rinda - good to hear them!

Jo said...

You have some lovely, precious pieces there and it's so nice to hear the stories behind them all.

Miriam said...

Your pieces are just beautiful, I love the quote on your mothers necklace, your story is so tender.

Gail said...

What lovely pieces of jewelry and stories to go with them. I love the mystery of not knowing of their history.

alexa said...

Your care and love for these things, and the way they nourish and support you is beautifully told. Such a rich and well travelled history you have!

Chipper said...

Your cross is gorgeous! Fields in Grafton St is a fun jeweler to visit but I never had the pleasure of a purchase :-)