I started making jewellery for friends and family, and occasionally, myself. When I finally made the decision to open a little online shop and make jewellery for everyone, a friend asked me what I could offer with my jewellery that wasn’t already out there. Wow, what an excellent question! I mean, I love to make pieces but does that necessarily mean the world should partake in what I’m creating? What on earth was I offering that isn’t already available in millions of shops?
I looked at my pieces to find the answer; literally stared at them. Sifted through them. Held the stones in my hand, hoping for a whisper. It came. Oh, it came. And I was surprised and a little sad when it did. You see, the truth is that I’m not making anything so radically different and unique that you have to have it. I’ve found designers that I thought were trailblazers, only to discover 100 more designers doing the same thing. Designers of adornment, if we’re honest, have to admit that the things we make come from the common pool of our human experience. Our pieces are the result of our influences, history, culture and the collective unconscious, the dream that whispers inspiration to every soul on earth.
When I realized this, I understood that I’d been looking at my pieces but not quite seeing them. I looked further than the stones, beads, sparkle, arrangement and colour. I looked into the soul of the piece and what I found is that such a thing exists.
A little of what I am escapes into each piece that I’ve created and often becomes something new. As a writer, the experience of a character who creates him or her own self is a familiar one. You’re happily writing your little story when, lo and behold, someone new steps off the page. Unbidden. Uninvited by your imagination, they are there, working their way into the story and moving the path away from your original design. It’s often the same with creating a piece of jewellery. I’ll start with a colour idea or certain stones and a plan. Suddenly, in the middle of the process, another colour idea pops up or a new stone wants to be involved and the piece becomes something new and more wonderful than the original design.
When this happens, I wonder to myself “Who is this being made for?” Before too long, I usually have the pleasure of finding out. Someone comes along who feels the piece calls out to them, appeals to them, and they happily make it part of their story. After being part of this process a few times, I saw it. It’s there in the soul of each piece.
Everyone who is creating jewellery at this precise moment is using tools and techniques that are basically the same. What really differentiates each piece is the thought and energy of the maker. I see stories in each piece of jewellery that I look at. It doesn’t matter how expensive or inexpensive it is. My son made me a necklace of plastic letters (my name) on a thick string when he was in kindergarten. If I could only save one piece of jewellery from my burning home, that would be the piece I’d run out with. It cost almost nothing and it has a story as old as the sea. The love of a child for his mother.
I’m afraid of snakes but the ring I’m wearing today is a beautifully twined snake in shades of grey on silver with lovely AB Swarovski crystals. He’s here, coiled around my finger and I realize that I wear this ring often. Why? I can’t really say. I love the look of it, the feel of it, the fact that it’s a snake. He’s been a lot of places with me and now he’s part of my story. This snake is here with me as I’m living my life, my dreams. He’s become part of my Personal Legend.
What I create is definitely coloured by my experiences and what I believe as a result of them. I believe that each of us is a living story, a legend that we are writing every day. If we are lucky, we realize our Personal Legend and live it to the fullest.
Seeing all this, I can now answer my darling friend. The jewellery that comes from me is waiting to be part of your Personal Legend or calls you to share it with others on the paths of their own legends. It doesn’t necessarily make my jewellery unique or special but it does make it an offering. It’s an offering from one soul to another as we realize and write our Legends into history.