Jewellery & Memory: How Your Gems & Jewels Tell Your Story

Just as every picture tells a story, our jewellery tells our story. Here Elmwood’s Elizabeth Dawson talks about the gifts that our gems keep giving

Of all the objects you possess, which one has the most power to evoke a spectrum of feelings and memories?

Might it be that first necklace or bracelet your parents gave you? That ring given by a lover? The first gem you could buy for yourself?

Our jewellery marks a special time in our lives. Whether it was a gesture of coming of age, of romance or of achievement, each piece holds a memory, a mark of a unique time in one’s life. In fact, the Journal of Jewellery Research documents how jewellery and memory are closely related.

Jewellery gives us something so rare – it is neither disposable nor transient, and the stories it tells are only ours. Each time we look at that precious metal, that rare stone, that unique shape, we re-visit that moment; a prized moment immortalised.

The receiving and buying of a piece of beautiful jewellery is one of the rarest of exchanges – it’s always a gift. A gesture of love and recognition, either from someone else, or to oneself.

As Mae West revealingly noted: ‘I have always felt a gift of a diamond shines so much better than one you buy for yourself.’

Alongside the powerful resonance of memories that the receiving or the giving of jewellery holds, it can also ‘hold’ us in another way.

‘My pearls are my security blanket’

Lady Sarah Churchill once said: ‘I feel undressed if I don’t have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.’ For Lady Sarah, her pearls represented a sense of protection.

Elizabeth Taylor possessed an extraordinary jewellery collection, but rather graciously saw herself merely as the conduit through which it shone: ‘I’ve never thought of my jewellery as trophies. I’m here to take care of it and to love it, for we are only temporary custodians of beauty’.

Do you wonder what your jewellery says about you to you, and when you can create your next memories?

Elmwood’s next jewellery auction takes place on Thursday 21 May at 2pm. Bid online from the comfort of your own home, or get in touch to register via phone or absentee bid. See elmwoods.co.uk, email info@elmwoods.co.uk or call 020 7096 8933


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