By: ChloeWhen I was eleven, my initial boyfriend—Josh, gave me a hemp bracelet with a dolphin bead dangling from it for Christmas. I despised dolphins and never understood why many girls I knew were obsessed with them. But it was the first piece of jewelry ever given to me by a boy, and I cherished it and wore it to school every single day with pride. I was positive that I had the most thoughtful boyfriend in the entire sixth grade.I bought him jewelry as well for Christmas. Josh specifically asked me for one of those silver bracelets from Pacific Sunwear at the mall. I stressed out finding the perfect one:We were quite the pair with our bracelets to prove we were “going out.” Josh is still my good friend and actually always admires my Tina Tang pieces. (He always had a good eye...) Then came Valentine’s Day in 8th grade. I was dating Dave, who I thought was striking because he played guitar and was new to our public middle school, coming from a hippie spiritual education. “I have no taste,” Dave shrugged when he handed me the box, at my locker. It looked like this:Except it was worse. I loathed it. But I wore it. I still have it. Dave later broke my heart and the necklace was retired to the shoebox where I kept the keepsakes that were given to me from guys. See, I was always touched when someone would pick out a piece of jewelry for me. Sub-consciously, I suppose I was thinking: Wow, this person saw this and thought of me?? Then they actually purchased it and gave it to me! I found it flattering, and that it would be a sin not to sport it. I still feel that way.My eighteenth birthday—I was sitting in my boyfriend Jeremy’s green Ford Explorer. He pulled out two boxes.A peridot necklace and matching studs:It wasn’t hemp! Green was my favorite color! I was super stoked. Peridot—the poor man’s emerald, they call it, no? For a pizza delivery boy, Jeremy did well. I wore the necklace, (never with the earrings, always felt weird matching) through my senior year of high school religiously. I have great connotation to peridot now, and occasionally will pull the necklace out to reminisce. Then there was Steve. After a few months of dating, Steve gave me a sterling silver Bulova watch as a surprise, from the fine jewelry store that we lived above. I’d never had a name brand watch made of metal. I felt grown up, flaunting it. It was my most high-quality possession.I irresponsibly lost the watch the same day I moved to New York City. The relationship got lost a few days later. (Not because I lost the watch, I don’t recall ever mentioning that.) I was sure it would turn up—but three apartments later I’ve lost faith in that optimism. If I hadn’t lost the watch, I can assure you I’d be wearing it. My point is that jewelry holds a significant sentiment for people. Each day at the store, I have at least one woman who tells me an intriguing story behind the engraved gold band on her finger that has been in her family for decades, or the sparrow bird charm on her bracelet that her great-grandmother left behind intended for her. When people need a quick gift, you don’t see them running into H&M for a $7.90 tank top. Quite often, they run in here to Tina Tang for pair of drop earrings or a diminutive necklace. Flowers die, clothing deteriorates, and chocolate gets eaten. (And calories get consumed.) But jewelry—jewelry is eternal, like a tangible token with two great assets: making you look great while carrying memories that belong only to you.
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