Jewelry is a matter of taste. It is also a matter of style and mood. There is a reason, a decision process, for our choice of jewelry style at the time of purchase, and there is an altogether more subtle, yet perhaps more purposeful reason for choosing one piece above another upon getting ready for a gathering with friends or a business appointment.
When shopping for a significant piece of jewelry, we often have a story in mind. This is our immediate story, who we perceive ourselves to be at that time in our lives. It can also be a sentimental story. In this case, we may choose a piece of jewelry whose style reminds us of another person or country, a place to which we strongly identify.
Jewelry with an Egyptian or Celtic pattern are popular in recent years, and a good example. The connection with another culture may be instinctive and difficult to explain, or it may have direct roots within a family tradition we honor. Jewelry is a statement, and not one to be taken lightly. The Celtic knot pendant does not merely say “I like Celtic knots,” it says I AM this. In this sense, jewelry is the language of the soul.
Sometimes, the identification is so strong that it would not cross the person’s mind to wear anything different from day-to-day. In this instance, jewelry is not truly a fashion item. Instead, it is at once talisman and an extension of a person’s beliefs. The cross is a good example of this. We may purchase a beautifully ornate cross because its appearance matters, but what matters even more are the cultural and historical significance of the shape. This, we wear daily. Sometimes, it is secured around the neck or wrist or finger for a lifetime; a piece of garment as essential as a coat in cold weather.
We may wonder, then, how much jewelry that is deeply connected with identity is at once shield and invitation. Come to think of it, this question implies a measure of underlying superstition. Simply put, we believe that wearing this particular jewelry has an impact on who we are and also how well we will face whatever the day has to offer. More than a shield, it is a sustaining force. Notice that the term “superstition” is not meant pejoratively; it is meant in its purest form: a belief. How many other objects do we associate with a belief in the same way as jewelry?
Then there is immediate meaning and intention. The criteria are different when it comes to choosing what jewelry to wear to an event. At that point, how we will be perceived matters as much as who we believe we are. Psychologists explain that bold and very visible jewelry is an invitation, whereas discreet jewelry, the stud earring for example, indicates an interest in one’s self-image, but also a desire to keep some distance.
Discreet jewelry for discrete individuals; bold jewelry for the extrovert. Maybe. What if, upon noticing a pendant, ring or bracelet on another person, we asked: “Tell me, how does this represent who you are today?”
Meanwhile… a busy workbench.