This isn't exclusively a spoilt, Western condition. Even in the poorest countries, jewellery is worn. I once spent an energetic hour bartering in a mud hut in Kenya before paying through the nose for some Masai neck collars that I later saw in the airport for a quarter of the price (she who does not do her research is asking to be ripped off). ...
So many of us wear jewellery that it's quite a statement when someone's in the jewellery-nude. We wear it as a talisman, even if outwardly we shun all other superstitions and shamans. ...
We've become a shade more adventurous in the past decade, what with nose and belly piercings, nail rings and the lattice-work ear effect so de rigeur among the nation's youth. I'm constantly discovering fresh dots of blood in the basin after my daughters have stabbed another hole in their ears. ... Jewellery makes them feel individual and interesting, they tell me, even though to the naked maternal eye, they've all got interchangeable tastes.
But I know what they mean. Sometimes it seems as though your jewellery's becoming part of your character. Look at those women who become repeat wearers of a certain genre: Miuccia Prada and Kate Moss and their antique diamond-drop earrings; Sam Cam and her gold-hoops; Dree Hemingway and her rings; Michelle Obama, Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alexa Chung, Vanessa Paradis, the Queen and their statement necklaces. ...
That's why it's such a big deal when we inherit heirlooms. Wearing your mother's sapphires is like carrying a piece of her around with you. It's incredibly intimate. It's why it felt weird when I, like increasing numbers of women, slipped off my wedding ring. But I figured it was cramping my ring style, and that I and my more recent - and frankly better - rings deserved a break. My husband didn't notice. ...
Interestingly, men often regard their jewellery, specifically wedding rings, as manacles, hence the infamous "ring pocket" built into so many men's jeans in which they can stash theirs when they're out without their wives. (Armstrong, 2013, pp.172-175).
DESIGN SCRAPBOOK - on jewellery
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