Symbols of Resilience and Where to Find Them
June 18, 2017 11:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a gift for someone who is surviving the unthinkable. She is still in the midst of it all, but is marking an important personal and professional accomplishment as well. I am looking for a simple symbol of resilience, probably in the form a minimalist necklace. I have been looking at rhinoceros or ginkgo necklaces but haven't found any that stand out as perfect.

I am open to other gift ideas as well, but I need to avoid household decorations/clutter, experiences, or anything terribly introspective (journals, books, etc).

Ideal gift ideas would be in the $20-60 range and available in Minneapolis (local or quick shipping) by Saturday.

To clarify, I'd appreciate:
*links to specific items (rhinos, ginkgo or other symbols of resilience)
*suggestions of other symbols
*brick and mortar or online stores to peruse
*any other gift ideas I may not have considered
posted by deadcrow to Shopping (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Tardigrades are also known as water bears, space bears, or moss piglets. They are water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals. They have been found everywhere from mountaintops to the deep sea, mud volcanoes, and from tropical rain forests to the Antarctic.

Tardigrades are one of the most resilient animals known: they can survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms. They can withstand temperature ranges from 1 K (−458 °F; −272 °C) (close to absolute zero) to about 420 K (300 °F; 150 °C)[10] for several minutes, pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more than 30 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.
posted by Iteki at 11:46 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]

I was thinking more minimal might be a 2-3" length of ~3/8" diameter silicone cylinder, the stuff they make heat-resistant spatulas and oven gloves out of, with ends and a chain, like ---[=====]--- ...maybe even just 1".
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on June 18

Hummingbirds are considered symbols of resilience. Very small but very powerful, adaptable (they can change direction in a split second), fearless, and their wings beat in a figure of 8 motion which I like as a nod to infinity. You can get really nice simple hummingbird necklaces. These are on Amazon but you can maybe search shops local to you also.
posted by billiebee at 12:02 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]

Have you seen the ginkgo necklace at Uncommon Goods?
posted by PorcineWithMe at 12:05 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]

I'd buy them a sansevieria boncel. It is an incredibly durable plant that grows under just about all light conditions and can withstand neglect quite well. Nice and compact and has a tidyish form.
posted by srboisvert at 1:07 PM on June 18

Four great mass extinction events, and the percentage of all life on Earth wiped out during each

1. Ordovician–Silurian Extinction (440 million years ago): 85%

2. Late Devonian Extinction (360mya): 75%

3. Permian-Triassic Extinction (250mya): 96%

4. Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction (66mya): 75%

In terms of toughness and resilience, top prize has to go to any species that has survived all four unchanged, and/or existed in present form for 450 million years of more. Indeed, given the percent survival of each mass extinction event, the percent survival of all mass extinction events is .000004, or 1 species out of 250,000.

Today, only two extant animal species take top prize: the nautilus, unchanged in 500 million years, and the horseshoe crab, unchanged in 450 million years.

Of the two, the nautilus, in my opinion, makes a prettier necklace or pendant than the horseshoe crab, though I have to say I think the horseshoe crab earrings are really cool.
posted by BadgerDoctor at 2:26 PM on June 18 [13 favorites]

I am very fond of this Tokien quote
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

so, for me, a tree with deep roots is a very resonant symbol of survival. Fortunately that an easy motif to find in jewelry.
posted by metahawk at 2:36 PM on June 18 [7 favorites]

Check out Marty Magic. They have an extensive and eccelectic selection and I and my friend have been very happy with our purchases from there.

Rhinoceros beetle
Garlic (they have a few different sizes, this one is the smallest I think)
Fly and Venus flytrap (if your friend is a bit vicious and ironic)
Saguaro cactus
Small ginkgo leaf
posted by Mizu at 2:57 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]

I liked the symbol of the tree because I immediately thought of the African-American spiritual, I Shall Not Be Moved:
posted by apartment dweller at 5:59 PM on June 18

Turtles are often said to be symbols of endurance and persistence. I have a mother of pearl honu (turtle) necklace from Hawaii; they also come in koa wood which has a lot of positive associations. I swear to you I often reach up and hold the turtle charm for reassurance. I'm getting a lot of them when I google. Na Hoku always comes up first-- some of them are pretty, but it's a chain store and you don't need to pay those prices to get something nice.
posted by BibiRose at 5:52 AM on June 19

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