You have probably heard the phrase, “jewelry is a statement.” But what kind of statement does jewelry convey? Jewelry has more significance simply beyond style and appearance. Jewelry can signify many aspects of life from achieving different milestones to falling in love. A piece of jewelry can hold many uncovered narratives about different people, cultures, and regions around the world. Here are 4 ways that your jewelry can tell a story about you:
1) Heritage and History
Certain types of jewelry hold various social, familial and historical significance in different cultures and regions. In Africa, beaded jewelry is often a symbol of status and signifies one’s affiliation with a certain tribe. For instance, in the Maasai culture, one’s social status and age is shown through beaded jewelry such as among married women who wear a long, blue bright beaded necklace called a Nborro. Jewelry containing the eye-shaped amulet (often called a “Nazar”) is used to repel bad luck and misfortune. It is commonly worn throughout different regions such as Greece, Turkey, Iran, Iraq Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Morocco, the Levant and Southern Italy (Naples).
. Image: The "Evil Eye" Amulet
2) Significant Milestones and Events
A piece of jewelry can also convey a lot about important events and milestones which you have achieved in life. Perhaps you were gifted a piece of jewelry after achieving a career milestone or graduating from university? Jewelry plays a strong role heavily in weddings from engagements rings to necklaces that a bride may wear. In South Asia, a Mangalsutra is a necklace with black beads strung from yellow or black thread that signifies marriage and is tied around a bride’s neck by the groom. In traditional Chinese weddings, the groom’s family delivers gifts to the bride’s family a few months prior to the wedding to symbolize good luck and prosperity. The jewelry can consist of gold necklaces, rings and bracelets with symbolic patterns such as the dragon, phoenix and mandarin ducks.
. Image: The Mangalsutra
3) Strong Ties
Jewelry can tell a story about your bond with different people. Many people often use jewelry as a way to convey love for their loved ones or to signify loyalty in a relationship. Pieces of jewelry are often passed down between generations of people as heirlooms. For instance, the Haiwainn princess (later queen) Lydia Kamakaʻeha (Liliʻuokalani) was gifted a bracelet by Queen Victoria which had a solid gold design with Old English lettering which the princess had commissioned goldsmiths to make for other members of her family. Consequently, Hawaiian heirloom jewelry is often a gift during special occasions such as graduations, weddings and birthdays.
Image: Queen Liliʻuokalani
4) Self-love and Confidence
Jewelry does not necessarily have to be a gift from others and neither does it have to signify anything extraordinarily special. It could simply be a gift to yourself for being you and loving who you are and what you have achieved. It’s easy to be hard on yourself in any context like work and school but it’s important to realize that you are doing your best and should find time to acknowledge your accomplishments even when they go unrecognized. Jewelry is a great way to show your self-love and enhance your confidence by wearing something that truly makes you happy. Treat yourself!
Jewelry can have so many meanings and carry memories with us for the rest of our lives. When you look deeper, jewelry holds numerous personal and historical narratives about people. Be your own storyteller with your jewelry.
Fariha Ahmed is a Digital Content Creator and Blogger. She has worked with different startups in digital content marketing and she currently works with the Inappropriate Questions Podcast. Fariha is also an associate with the Ryerson Transmedia Zone. She has previously worked with Amnesty International and the Ontario Public Service.