Baubles, Bangles and Beads: The Truth About Costume Jewelry!

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by Mary Foran

Since I grew up in the Wild West and was an active tree climber and pet owner, I did not play with jewelry very much. Sure, I loved to “dress up” as a princess sometimes, but I would usually just put on my older sister’s fake diamond tiara when the little princess in me came out to play.

In what is known as High School, I wore a uniform and didn’t need any other adornment. I do remember buying long, dangling earrings for my older sister since she loved that kind of jewelry so much. She looked really nice in it, and it was fun to dress her up!

Somewhere along the line, my father decided to buy me a Saffire-and-gold ring because of the fact that people born in September have been assigned that stone. I loved that ring, until, unfortunately for the story, I just had to take it off as my hands grew. I kept that ring in a “safe place” for quite some time. Now, who knows what became of it!

The story of jewelry seemed to crop up quite often in my family. I did not figure out why until my mother “lost” her diamond ring. What a hullabaloo about it! Accusations flew in several directions at first, then settled on one known culprit. It was quite a scene, and I heard stories from both sides of the argument. Denials, counter-charges, and claims for restitution.

Meanwhile, my jewelry boxes were emptied of costume jewelry, which had only sentimental value, and didn’t work, or didn’t fit, or didn’t mean a thing anymore. In fact, every time I tried to “dress up” with the appropriate piece of costume jewelry, it ruined my day!

Lucky for me, I legitimately borrowed a string of pearls for a public wedding ceremony, although there was nothing “blue” about it! Faltaba el Azul, if you are at all superstitious about those kinds of ceremonies!

My older sister, in a generous couple of streaks, made sure that Spanish Gold and Spanish jewelry handiworks were in the mix for me, perhaps because she remembered those dangly ones. (As we all know, the gold standard means so much to the Spanish, that they lost their lives and fortunes because of it). All we can hope for in the States is a 14K blend, whilst in Spain, they go for the gusto: 18K of real, hypoallergenic gold. Gold posts are akin to circumcision for little girl babies: is that what all the crying is about?

Seems to be a sensible tradition to me, to tell the girls from the boys, and treat them accordingly, with respect. But old traditions like that are fading; I didn’t get goldish posts until I went to a department store cosmetics counter when I was around 15 and they pierced my earlobes free of charge if I bought the posts! The angle on one of them was a little off, and it was not until later, after trying and trying to find the right earrings, that I realized that the first goldish posts were the best for metal allergies,

But once again, a man got involved with my allergies to base metals, and this time it was my brother! A kind and thoughtful person, who doesn’t understand women to this day, he bought me a pair of amethyst earrings, in remembrance, I hope, of my maternal Grandmama, who had that birthstone. He always did say that I was very unfeminine, and he also had paid for a permanent for me which ruined my unruly hair. Go figure!

The jewelry from my jewelry collection has all but disappeared, but lo and behold, I still have the jewelry boxes, which are a work of art in and of themselves. I happen to love the boxes more than the jewelry, in any case: bits and pieces here and there that were made by some enterprising soul.

Some of my favorite costume jewelry was given to me by my late mother, who knew that a little bangle or two might come in handy sometime or other, depending on the occasion and one’s accompañante!

I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for me to follow Marilyn Monroe’s advice: “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend!” And Mallorcan Pearls are still treasured by women around the world!

As Grandmama said: “The Old Order Changeth, yielding place to new, and God reveals Himself in many ways…”

(Would someone tell me which is worse: a civil ceremony or a church wedding, or pasando de los dos? They give the task of being the Ring-bearer usually to the child!)
Featured image/Preciosa Ornela, CC BY2.0
Saffire and gold ring/Katrina Br*?#*!@nd, CC BY-SA2.0
Pearls/Milika Sekulic CC BY2.0
Jewelry Box/KOMUnews, CC BY2.0