My mother died in 2001. Behind she left a grieving husband and 3 daughters in shock. She died suddenly and we all felt the terrible loss. Daddy died just 9 months later. And then we were orphans, hanging onto one another and in fear of diminishing the family still further.
We went through our parents’ belongings and sorted out what could be given to charity, what needed to be disposed of, and what we would keep. A great many items made us stop and reminisce: ‘This is the tie Daddy wore at my wedding;’ here is the fruit shaped marzepan Mother received as a Christmas gift ( I got that because nobody else liked marzepan); we always knew when Mother was going out because she put on lipstick and perfume and special jewelry.
Mother had a Czech crystal necklace and matching earrings and that went to our oldest, Anne. A few years after our parents died I was helping Anne pack up her apartment: she was moving closer to us. I was livid when I picked up that 4 strand crystal necklace and those glass beads went everywhere.
I found that the strands holding the crystal beads together had become brittle over the years. Body oils and acids, perfume, cosmetics: they all contributed to the rotting of the strings holding the beads together.
Anne no longer had the beautiful 4 strand crystal necklace. It was in pieces.
How can such a treasure, so evocative of Mother, be replaced? It can’t. We could have given it to our trusted jeweller to restring. It wouldn’t be the same thing. Anne gave me permission to make 3 necklaces using the sparkly crystal glass beads: one for each of we three sisters.
The last time I saw Anne’s necklace was on Boxing Day 2007. She was in her apartment, advancing from the relative darkness of her living room into the light from the hallway. Her chest was ablaze with the sparkle of those crystal beads. She was gorgeous. I found it hard to take my eyes off the dancing light of her necklace.
This necklace is nothing but glass: just a little sand, a little lead, a little heat. Okay, a lot of heat! Not gold or silver or platinum. Not diamond, sapphire, or emerald. Just glass. A bunch of glass beads. From it came 3 unique glass beaded necklaces: each necklace a representation of Mother.
Where do YOU find the ‘stuff ‘ you use to make YOUR jewelry? I found it in the beads in my mother’s jewelry box.
Visit the thrift stores: they have jewelry for sale. Look in second hand stores.
Where do YOU find YOUR beads? What made you choose those beads? Share your own story. Tell us.