My jewelry is a part of me. It’s an extension of my limbs and simply a part of my aura. It always has been. My Mexican culture, and especially the women, has always put a lot of weight on the beauty and significance of each jewelry piece they wear. So, naturally, raised in a Hispanic household my mother’s jewelry and my own have great meaning behind it.
In Mexico, the jewelry tradition starts the day we are born. Baby girls get their ears pierced right at the hospital. They start out life already lookin' poppin'! Since I was born in the USA, I got my ears pierced when I was about 4 months old -- my mom had to wait until I had my Tetanus shot. Not sure how this works these days, though. Typical me, I cried and wiggled so much, one of the piercings was not centered. Soooo, Mom had to wait until it closed up, and then took me back to get it done again. Ay, ay, ay!
Many of our necklaces have a story behind them; it’s usually because they were a gift given on a milestone like a Christening or graduation, or worn for religious protection. I wore many evil eye charms growing up. I couldn’t leave the house without my Virgin Mary, gold chain, or my tiny string of real pearls given to me when I received my First Communion at eight years old. The most typical gift we get for our Baptism is a gold ID bracelet with our name engraved on the gold bar that I still wear today. It was such a ubiquitous a part of my everyday life and of the females around me, that I really didn’t think wearing, owning and giving jewelry was a big deal. ( Spoiled? No. Tradition? Yes!)
In high school, I formed an affinity towards Dogeared necklaces (remember those tiny charms?), and became obsessed with collecting them (what’s new). I started to study their lengths so I could layer them in the most appealing manner. As a maximalist, I had to wear six necklaces or nothing, right? After I collected several of these tiny, thin gold dipped necklaces (that only came to me after persistent begging and as a reward for good grades, of course), I moved on to my mother’s jewelry box. Here, in her white faux snake skin jewelry box is where my “gold jewelry look” was born. I dug through her rings with wide eyes marveling at the gems passed down from her mother and the ones given to her by my father (good move, dad).
Mom and I began a “leasing” system. I would take a ring, wear it on loan, and if I took good care of it then maybe, just maybe, I could lease another piece of jewelry -- like a necklace or a pair of earrings. Well, let’s just say I was determined af to wear the whole box, and that’s where I am now. The rings on my fingers and necklaces on my neck today are a combination of my mother’s rings, my grandmother’s rings, and rings my dad and brother have given me from their business travels.
When I moved to Chinatown about a year ago, my jewelry game got extra lit. I discovered a small hole-in-the-wall jewelry store called Popular Jewelry. I go in there and talk to Annie for hours debating on which length to cut my chains and how much it would cost to get a choker custom cut. They really hear me out and help me attain my gold jewelry glory.
I must admit, these pieces aren’t cheap, but I’ve saved and saved so I can buy these things once and then have them forever! That is one of the most magical things about jewelry. In my mind, this @#$% lasts a life time! Forget Gucci loafers. I mean those rock too, but you can’t wear them forever or pass them down to your family ;)