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Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

Women Making Choices In The Pursuit Of Fashion

Posted by learntobead on June 24, 2020

It has always seemed to me that society has a strong bias against women and their ability to make choices. Men are decisive; women are not. That’s what society seems to say, So are women incapable of making choices in the pursuit of fashion Which bead color, color combination, style, silhouette? Which bead stitch? Which arrangement of beads and parts and pendants on a necklace? Which metal? Which stringing material? For women, so society seems to say, it seems the implications of any one choice are imbued with so many social and personal and cultural and situational issues, that it becomes too overwhelming to make.

The fact today, or I hope it is a fact today, however, is that we can use “women” and “choices” in the same meaningful and positive sentence. The pursuit of fashion knows no gender biases. Yet, this might be considered a relatively new phenomenon. For it was not always that way — or at least, as society viewed it. It took hundreds of years of feminism, strident and subtle, violent and passive, to change society’s views of how women think, and if they could think at all. There’s been a lot of kicking and screaming, put-downs and denials, resistance and sabotage, cruelty and abuse that has occurred during my lifetime, and before, to get to the place where women are today. Not all women that come into the bead store are as appreciative of their feminist sisters who opened so many doors and opportunities. And not all women are as aware of their gender-history, as they should be.

It was Darwin who wrote, in the latter part of the 19th century, that women were not as evolved as men. They were given equal amounts of protoplasm as men. But women were incapable of using that protoplasm. God made women to procreate. Procreation was a totally biological function, requiring no thought. Raising children was a biological function, requiring no thought. If forced to use their brains, women became ill, exhausted, infected, disordered. Only men had the will, ability and motivation to think. And in deference to women, men had to think for them, as well.

The 19th century thinkers were thus enlightened. The tasks of men required intelligence. The activities of women did not. Women lacked the ability to reason and comprehend general principals. Women would not have evolved at all if they had not been blessed, because of evolution, with men’s brains. The argument continued, if women had not been blessed with men’s brains, they would not have been able to procreate. And thus, the human species would have become extinct.

Craniologists, at the time, found that men’s brains were bigger than women’s brains, and thus concluded female inferiority. However, one scientist, proceeding along this same line of research, found out that, on average, German brains were 100 grams heavier than French brains. And this line of research ended abruptly, for fear of fomenting civil conflict. And so, too, ended any more research comparing the brain matter of women to that of men.

Physicists, at the time, speculated that each human organism had a finite amount of energy. Women had to expend so much energy on reproduction, that they did not have enough energy left over to think. Men had this excess energy, so they could think. Since women eat less than men, women also had a harder time generating new energy.

Educators, at the time, used Darwin’s explanations as reasons for denying women an education. Since women could not think logically, they could not be taught to do so. It was the widely held belief that women could not grasp knowledge.

Physicians, at the time, described all illnesses affecting women, as symptoms of one illness only — a disease of the womb. To cure any disease, meant some surgical, physically abusive and cruel treatment applied to the woman’s reproductive organs. A common prescriptive was to tell the woman to think less, in order to cure herself. Sleep more. Never touch a pen, brush or pencil as long as you will live.

Advice Columnists, at the time, and this is 1849 New York, advised women about their expenditures on dress. Do not delude yourself with appearance, they wrote.

– Do not permit fashion to impair your health
 — Do not allow dress to infringe on your delicacy
 — Do not allow unnecessary expenses on fashion
 — Do not spend too much time with fashion

In Boston (1840), one Advice Columnist went so far as to warn women to wholly lay aside their ornaments, as fast as possible, if they expected to have any sense of well-being. It was a mark of bad judgment for a woman to pursue fashion.

Wow! I think I need to knock Darwin, and certainly some of his contemporaries, down a few notches. And what does this all mean for beaders and jewelry designers and fashionistas? From the 19th century scientific point of view, a craft like beading or jewelry making would have to be primarily intuitive, requiring no thought or logic. It would have been beneath a man to do. For men to get involved with beading or jewelry making, it would have meant resisting evolution, and resisting progress.

Beading and jewelry making, from the Design perspective, are very much about making choices. Women are assumed and subsumed to be as capable as men. Beading and jewelry making are processes of construction, whether conceived and executed by women or men, which happen within an environment, and the results of which are judged as art, as the pieces are worn. There’s a lot of choice going on here. What goes together, and what does not. What will hold the structure of the piece together, and what will not. What you want to happen to the piece over time, and what you do not.

The Designer, whether woman or man, has to make the same kinds of choices, to be successful. Perhaps there are nuanced differences between women and men, in how they think through and come to any choice. I do not know. But the choices need to be made, nonetheless.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Do You Know Where Your Beading Needles Are?

Consignment Selling: A Last Resort

Odds or Evens? What’s Your Preference?

My Clasp, My Clasp, My Kingdom For A Clasp

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

The Bead Spill: My Horrifying Initiation

The Artists At The Party

How To Bead A Rogue Elephant

You Can Never Have Enough Containers For Your Stuff

Beading While Traveling On A Plane

Contemplative Ode To A Bead

How To Bead In A Car

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

A Jewelry Designer’s Day Dream

A Dog’s Life by Lily

I Make All The Mistakes In The Book

How Sparkle Enters People’s Lives

Upstairs, Downstairs At The Bead Store

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

Women and Their Husbands When Shopping For Beads

Women Making Choices In The Pursuit Of Fashion

Existing As A Jewelry Designer: What Befuddlement!

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NEW FASHION JEWELRY: Understanding the “Quality” Within These New Collectibles

Posted by learntobead on June 13, 2020

At a Jewelry Show in Atlanta only a few years ago, Jayden and I discovered a rapidly evolving fashion trend towards reproduction vintage looks using new more recently available materials. These particular new fashion trends were the looks and styles of the pieces everyone there was selling there.

It is important to understand, however, that, when purchasing fashion jewelry, there is more to consider than how a piece looks. You need to understand something about the materials used and the overall construction. Only in this way can you be sure that you are purchasing what we would call “collectible costume jewelry.”

The reproduction vintage looks are obvious — a reference to the stylish pieces of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, using modern materials and construction technologies. Great colors. Strong and soft colors. Lots of faceting and sparkle.

The use of new materials includes higher end acrylics, new metallic composites, specialized glass and Chinese crystal.

These green components, in the piece shown above, are made out of Chinese crystal, not plastic. To the naked eye, you might see a similar piece where the components are plastic, looking like but definitely not crystal. The eye can deceive itself. Simple test: click bead against a stiff surface or front teeth. If crystal or glass, you will hear a sharp click; if plastic, you will hear a dull click.

These new fashion pieces should be considered “collectable” costume jewelry. But, again, it is important to understand what you are buying. There are many lower quality copies — what we’d call “disposable jewelry” — you’ll find at discount stores and online. You want to be sure you are buying the quality we would call “collectible”. The price will reflect whether the jewelry is “collectible” or “disposable.”

So, You Want Your Fashion Jewelry To Be Made With…

* Glass, Crystal and/or Advanced Plastics

Typically, you will find a mix of materials within you piece. Materials you do not want would include enameled or colored ceramics or regular plastic or metalized plastic or plastic pearls.

* Advanced Plastics, if any components are plastic

Just like with things like wood or metal, there are many grades of quality among plastics. The differences between advanced plastics and regular plastics can be as widely divergent as between metals like gold and aluminum.

The higher end plastics, even when up close, look very similar to the gemstones or crystals they are meant to resemble. Jade plastic looks like real jade. Plastic opals look like real opal. And so forth.

The higher end plastics have a depth to them. Detailing seems embedded and runs throughout. Low-end plastics rely on surface qualities and the use of decals just below the thin, clear plastic surface.

For high end costume jewelry, the “point-hardness” of these advanced plastics, that is, how easily the material can be scratched, will be much higher, thus less easily scratched, than cheaper plastics.

* Better metal composites and finishes, with more substance and realistic finishes

In these lines of jewelry, whether higher end or lower end, very little is real 100% metal these days. The chains are composites. The settings for the stones are composites.

In the metal-composite chains and settings used in the lower quality jewelry, at close inspection, you will find them to be cheap, flimsy and light-weight. Moreover, the metallic finish-colors are off the mark and look somewhat fake. For example, the actual color that may be representing gold, when compared to other quality pieces, may not look like gold at all.

There may be rough spots that can get caught on clothing or scratch the skin. In higher end pieces, manufacturers check their quality, to make sure there are no rough spots.

But always inspect your jewelry before you leave the store. When purchasing any piece of costume jewelry, you should feel all over the piece to be sure there are no rough spots.

* Better set stones

Stones are typically glued in. If the setting does not have much surface area, the glue will not hold for very long.

In some pieces, the designs give the illusion of “prong-set” stones. In the lower end, the prongs have very sharp points. In the higher end, the prongs have smooth or balled-up tips.

Things To Do To Increase Longevity Of Your New Fashion Jewelry

After purchasing your new pieces of Fashion Jewelry, you will have the option to do two things to make them more durable and lasting:

  1. If the piece has stones which have been glued in, and have open settings on the backs, apply some more glue to the backs of the settings, all along the edges. Use a glue like E6000 or Beacon 527. This will keep the stones from ever popping out. Reason: The glue manufacturers typically use dries hard, with no flexibility. If the pieces are accidently dropped or hit against something, the shock can make the stone pop away from the hard glue.

By reinforcing them with the E6000 or Beacon 527, these bonds dry like rubber and act like a shock absorber. Thus the stones are less likely to pop off.

Necklace with stones set in settings with open backs

Open back on set stones in necklace

2. On all areas which have metal plated finishes and which will be touching the skin, apply two coats of clear nail polish to these surfaces. This will preserve the plated finishes for a very long time, yet doesn’t affect the shine or sheen of the metal underneath it.

NOTE: This is very generalized advice. Every person’s body oils and chemistry have different effects on the metal finishes. A person may be able to wear a piece of costume jewelry for months and years and it may not disintegrate on them; another person might wear it for a few months, and the metal finishes deteriorate.

Cleaning

All jewelry has to be maintained and kept clean. Follow this simple advice for keeping your new jewelry pieces clean and sparkling.

Periodically, give your jewelry a quick bath. In a bowl, mix a very-little-amount of baby shampoo and cold water. Immerse the whole piece of jewelry in this bath, just long enough to loosen any dirt. Take it out.

Under cold water, rinse it off. Take a paper towel or cloth, and dry the piece off. NOTE: “Pat Dry” with the towel. Don’t “Rub”.

Then, you might take a hair dryer, setting it on the lowest setting, and keeping it 6–8” away from your piece, and blow dry. DON’T LET YOUR PIECES GET TOO HOT. An alternative strategy is to put your piece of jewelry in front of a small fan.

Dry both sides. Leave your piece out in the open air over night, to be sure there is no moisture trapped in closed crevices.

Always remember that the side laying against the towel or cloth may still be more damp than the side facing up. So, before storing your piece, check and be sure it is dry.

Store your piece flat in a zip lock plastic bag. Be sure to push the air out of bag before sealing bag. One simple way to do this is to insert a straw into the bag, and seal the top as close to the straw as you can get. Suck out the air, remove the straw, and finish sealing the zip-lock bag closed.

Then lay your bagged up piece on flat surface. You do not want your piece to be jumbled into a pile. You do not want to hang your jewelry on a stand. The weight of the beads will stretch out the stringing material.

Put your pieces in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. Never store two pieces on top of each other without something to separate them. Don’t pile up jewelry on top of other jewelry.

At a restaurant, if you drip gravy on your necklace, how do you clean it off? If it is something that has caked or dried on it, you may have to soak it in a solution of a very-little-amount of baby shampoo and cold water. Use a q-tip to clean away the spotted areas.

Your Reproduction Vintage Pieces Should Be Around For 30, 40, even 50 years

Your goal is to have your reproduction vintage jewelry to be around 30, 40, 50 years from now. It will keep its value. These pieces should not be disposable.

Go to your antique stores, ask to see their vintage jewelry from the 1930s, 40s to 60s, and look and see at the availability, quantity and cost of high-end costume jewelry. This will give you an idea of what you’re getting with your investment.

In these older pieces, some were made from Lucite or other high-end plastics of the time. And other pieces were copies crafted in regular plastic. Lucite is a glass-like acrylic resin. It has a resilience, a hardness, and a malleability which made it perfect for costume jewelry. Regular plastic lacks the clarity and sparkle, yellows with age, and scratches much more easily.

Your new higher-end fashion jewelry — better made, more attractive, more appealing — will increase in value over the decades instead of ending up in the trash.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Oy Ve! The Challenges of Custom Work

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry…Inhabit It!

Two Insightful Psych Phenomena Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

A Dog’s Life by Lily

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Design: An Occupation In Search Of A Profession

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry, Inhabit It!

Posted by learntobead on April 16, 2020

APPLIED FASHION

Women don’t just wear pieces of jewelry — they inhabit them.

Buying a piece of jewelry for yourself — a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, a brooch, something else — isn’t a task easily given to someone else. It’s often not a spur of the moment thing either. You just don’t rush off to the local boutique or the local Wal-Mart, grab whatever you see, and go home.

I’m not talking about that impulse buy during your leisurely visit to the mall. I’m referring to purchasing those pieces of jewelry you know will have to do a lot of the hard work to accessorize your wardrobe and help you get the compliments and notice of your family, friends and co-workers you comport with and compete with each and every day.

No, buying a piece of jewelry for yourself is a multi-purposed moment, one which must be thought through carefully and one which must be savored. Lest you buy the wrong piece. That doesn’t really go with what you intend to wear. Or is over-priced. Or poorly made. Or conveys the wrong impression about status. Or is out of fashion. Or something one of your friends already has.

The jewelry you buy has to conform to quite a long list of essential criteria before you could ever think of buying it. It is something you will wear more than once. As such, it is your companion. Your necklace is not merely lying around your neck. Or your bracelet around your wrist. Or your earrings dangling from your ears.

Jewelry can cause you to lose face with others. It can irritate or scratch your skin, or get caught up in your hair. It might weigh you down or stretch or tear your ear lobes. Jewelry can break without warning in the most unexpected and embarrassing of places. It can get caught on things, sometimes hurting you in the process.

Jewelry conveys to the world something about who you really are, or think you are. As such, jewelry is very personal. Your private, innermost, most soul searching choices made very public for all to see.

As you caress it, as you touch the smooth or faceted or creviced beads and metal parts or the clasp or the material the beads are strung on, when you twist and move the piece within your hand, you are confirming to yourself the extent to which your jewelry is doing its job.

When you buy new jewelry, the dilemmas multiply. How will the new compare to the old? Will it be able to handle all these responsibilities — looking good, representing you, fitting in with your wardrobe, meeting the expectations of others? Like divorcing, then remarrying, changing your jewelry can take some time for readjustment.

And you do not want to be seen as noncommittal to your jewelry. This would sort of be like going to a hotel, but not unpacking your suitcase while staying in the room. Conveying some sort of social or psychological distance from your jewelry can be very unsettling for others.

So you need to inhabit it. You need to inhabit your jewelry, wear it with conviction, pride and satisfaction. Be one with it.

Inhabiting jewelry often comes with a price. There becomes so much pressure to buy the “right” pieces, given all the roles we demand our jewelry to play, that we too often stick with the same brands, the same colors, the same styles, the same silhouettes. We get stuck in this rut and are afraid to step out of it.

Or we wear too many pieces of jewelry. The long earrings, plus the cuff bracelets on both arms, plus the head band, plus the hair ornament, plus the 7-strand necklace, plus the 5 rings. We are ever uncertain which piece or pieces will succeed at what, so hopefully, at least some combination or subset of what we wear will work out.

In a similar way, we wear over-embellished pieces — lots of charms, lots of dangles, lots of fringe, lots of strands. Something will surely be the right color, the right fit and proportion, the right fashion, the right power statement, the right reflection of me.

And our need to inhabit our jewelry comes with one more price. We are too willing to overpay for poorly made pieces in our desperation to have that right look. The $100.00 of beads strung on elastic string. The poorly dyed stones which fade in the light. The poorly crimped and overly stiff pieces with little ease for accommodating movement and frequent wear.

It is OK to inhabit our jewelry. In fact, it is necessary, given all we want jewelry to do for us. But we need to be smart about it. We need to learn to recognize better designs and better designers.

This need not be expensive at all.

Just smarter.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Oy Ve! The Challenges of Custom Work

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry…Inhabit It!

Two Insightful Psych Phenomena Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

A Dog’s Life by Lily

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Design: An Occupation In Search Of A Profession

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FASHION AND JEWELRY DESIGN

Posted by learntobead on May 6, 2013

TO WHAT DEGREE DOES/SHOULD “FASHION” INFLUENCE OUR JEWELRY DESIGN DECISIONS?

reposted from my Jewelry Design Discussion Group on FaceBook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/

pearl10-full-moneyshot-hi-res-medium

In our store, I am asked repeatedly about what the current fashion colors are? Did I see what so-and-so was wearing on TV or at an awards show? But usually, at least in Nashville, TN, a sense of fashion plays a small part in the day-to-day decisions most people make about the jewelry they want to wear.

What are your feelings and views? What are your experiences? What role should “Fashion” play? How important is Fashion to jewelry design? Should we take our design “cues” from New York and Los Angeles? To what extent do you think Fashion influences the average woman’s choices she makes, when purchasing or wearing a piece of jewelry?

Warren Feld

ctamayadetail1

From an article I wrote… APPLIED FASHION Women don’t just wear pieces of jewelry – they inhabit them.

Buying a piece of jewelry for yourself – a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, a brooch, something else – isn’t a task easily given to someone else. It’s often not a spur of the moment thing either. You just don’t rush off to the local boutique or the local Wal-Mart, grab whatever you see, and go home. I’m not talking about that impulse buy during your leisurely visit to the mall. I’m referring to purchasing those pieces of jewelry you know will have to do a lot of the hard work to accessorize your wardrobe and help you get the compliments and notice of your family, friends and   co-workers you comport with and compete with each and every day.

No, buying a piece of jewelry for yourself is a multi-purposed moment, one which must be thought through carefully and one which must be savored. Lest you buy the wrong piece. That doesn’t really go with what you intend to wear. Or is over-priced. Or poorly made. Or conveys the wrong impression about status. Or is out of fashion. Or something one of your friends already has.

The jewelry you buy has to conform to quite a long list of essential criteria before you could ever think of buying it. It is something you will wear more than once. As such, it is your companion. Your necklace is not merely lying around your neck. Or your bracelet around your wrist. Or your earrings dangling from your ears. Jewelry can cause you to lose face with others. It can irritate or scratch your skin, or get caught up in your hair. It might weigh you down or stretch or tear your ear lobes. Jewelry can break without warning in the most unexpected and embarrassing of places. It can get caught on things, sometimes hurting you in the process.

Jewelry conveys to the world something about who you really are, or think you are. As such, jewelry is very personal. Your private, innermost, most soul searching choices made very public for all to see. As you caress it, as you touch the smooth or faceted or crevice’d beads and metal parts or the clasp or the material the beads are strung on, when you twist and move the piece within your hand, you are confirming to yourself the extent to which your jewelry is doing its job.

When you buy new jewelry, the dilemmas multiply. How will the new compare to the old? Will it be able to handle all these responsibilities – looking good, representing you, fitting in with your wardrobe, meeting the expectations of others? Like divorcing, then remarrying, changing your jewelry can take some time for readjustment. And you do not want to be seen as noncommittal to your jewelry. This would sort of be like going to a hotel, but not unpacking your suitcase while staying in the room.

Conveying some sort of social or psychological distance from your jewelry can be very unsettling for others. So you need to inhabit it. You need to inhabit your jewelry, wear it with conviction, pride and satisfaction. Be one with it. Inhabiting jewelry often comes with a price. There becomes so much pressure to buy the “right” pieces, given all the roles we demand our jewelry to play, that we too often stick with the same brands, the same colors, the same styles, the same silhouettes.

We get stuck in this rut and are afraid to step out of it. Or we wear too many pieces of jewelry. The long earrings, plus the cuff bracelets on both arms, plus the head band, plus the hair ornament, plus the 7-strand necklace, plus the 5 rings. We are ever uncertain which piece or pieces will succeed at what, so hopefully, at least some combination or subset of what we wear will work out.

In a similar way, we wear over-embellished pieces – lots of charms, lots of dangles, lots of fringe, lots of strands. Something will surely be the right color, the right fit and proportion, the right fashion, the right power statement, the right reflection of me.

And our need to inhabit our jewelry comes with one more price. We are too willing to overpay for poorly made pieces in our desperation to have that right look. The $100.00 of beads strung on elastic string. The poorly dyed stones which fade in the light. The poorly crimped and overly stiff pieces with little ease for accommodating movement and frequent wear. It is OK to inhabit our jewelry. In fact, it is necessary, given all we want jewelry to do for us. But we need to be smart about it. We need to learn to recognize better designs and better designers.

This need not be expensive at all.

Just smarter.

Posted in bead weaving, beads, beadwork, jewelry design, jewelry making | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

APPLIED FASHION

Posted by learntobead on November 14, 2011

APPLIED FASHION

Women don’t just wear pieces of jewelry – they inhabit them.

Buying a piece of jewelry for yourself – a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, a brooch, something else – isn’t a task easily given to someone else.  It’s often not a spur of the moment thing either.  You just don’t rush off to the local boutique or the local Wal-Mart, grab whatever you see, and go home.

I’m not talking about that impulse buy during your leisurely visit to the mall.   I’m referring to purchasing those pieces of jewelry you know will have to do a lot of the hard work to accessorize your wardrobe and help you get the compliments and notice of your family, friends and c o-workers you comport with and compete with each and every day.

No, buying a piece of jewelry for yourself is a multi-purposed moment, one which must be thought through carefully and one which must be savored.  Lest you buy the wrong piece.  That doesn’t really go with what you intend to wear.  Or is over-priced.  Or poorly made.  Or conveys the wrong impression about status.  Or is out of fashion.  Or something one of your friends already has.

The jewelry you buy has to conform to quite a long list of essential criteria before you could ever think of buying it.  It is something you will wear more than once.  As such, it is your companion.  Your necklace is not merely lying around your neck.  Or your bracelet around your wrist.  Or your earrings dangling from your ears.

Jewelry can cause you to lose face with others.  It can irritate or scratch your skin, or get caught up in your hair.  It might weigh you down or stretch or tear your ear lobes.  Jewelry can break without warning in the most unexpected and embarrassing of places.  It can get caught on things, sometimes hurting you in the process.

Jewelry conveys to the world something about who you really are, or think you are.  As such, jewelry is very personal.  Your private, innermost, most soul searching choices made very public for all to see.

As you caress it, as you touch the smooth or faceted or creviced beads and metal parts or the clasp or the material the beads are strung on, when you twist and move the piece within your hand, you are confirming to yourself the extent to which your jewelry is doing its job.

When you buy new jewelry, the dilemmas multiply.  How will  the new compare to the old?  Will it be able to handle all these responsibilities – looking good, representing you, fitting in with your wardrobe, meeting the expectations of others?  Like divorcing, then remarrying, changing your jewelry can take some time for readjustment.

And you do not want to be seen as noncommittal to your jewelry.  This would sort of be like going to  a hotel, but not unpacking your suitcase while staying in the room.   Conveying some sort of social or psychological distance from your jewelry can be very unsettling for others.

So you need to inhabit it.  You need to inhabit your jewelry, wear it with conviction, pride and satisfaction.  Be one with it.

Inhabiting jewelry often comes with a price.  There becomes so much pressure to buy the “right” pieces, given all the roles we demand our jewelry to play, that we too often stick with the same brands, the same colors, the same styles, the same silhouettes.  We get stuck in this rut and are afraid to step out of it.

Or we wear too many pieces of jewelry.  The long earrings, plus the cuff bracelets on both arms, plus the head band, plus the hair ornament, plus the 7-strand necklace, plus the 5 rings.  We are ever uncertain which piece or pieces will succeed at what, so hopefully, at least some combination or subset of what we wear will work out.

In a similar way, we wear over-embellished pieces – lots of charms, lots of dangles, lots of fringe, lots of strands.  Something will surely be the right color, the right fit and proportion, the right fashion, the right power statement, the right reflection of me.

And our need to inhabit our jewelry comes with one more price.  We are too willing to overpay for poorly made pieces in our desperation to have that right look.  The $100.00 of beads strung on elastic string.  The poorly dyed stones which fade in the light.  The poorly crimped and overly stiff pieces with little ease for accommodating movement and frequent wear.

It is OK to inhabit our jewelry.  In fact, it is necessary, given all we want jewelry to do for us.   But we need to be smart about it.  We need to learn to recognize better designs and better designers.

This need not be expensive at all.

Just smarter.

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