Small token for a friend going through a really bad time (jewelry)
September 12, 2019 7:28 PM   Subscribe

So I have a team member (I am her boss's boss) that is going through a really difficult situation and I want to get her a small gift to remind her that she is brave and strong. Looking for something like a bracelet that would signal strength/hope/optimism

She is going through a really rough time. She has been in a long-term abusive relationship and finally made some moves to get out of it. It's a huge upheaval in her life and we will most likely not be working together because she needs to move out of the country to help resolve her situation. My company has remote offices so I am working toward getting her placed near her family, but not 100% sure I can pull it off.

Because of my own life experience (which I share pretty openly, not abuse but divorce due to some pretty crazy circumstances), she has been very open in sharing her anxiety and self-doubt with me while she is going through this. I'm really proud of her for getting out of a bad situation, but we haven't been super close before she has opened up to me about this. Her boss is out on leave so I am kind of her supervisor right now.

Too much information, but ultimately while I am working towards placing her in a job in her home country and would also like to give her a little token to remind her she has supporters. I checked out Etsy, but was kind of surprised at how commercial everything looks - it's almost like amazon. Would love to get a gift for her ($50-100) that would be meaningful. Would love to do something handmade if possible.

I am in NYC so online or local things are great. I know a bracelet can't fix anything, but just want her to have a reminder that she has some solid support and I am there for her.
posted by elvissa to Shopping (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for helping her. I'm sure anything you got her would remind her that there are folks out there in her corner, as she knows from your efforts already.

This isn't a bracelet, but it'd be a pretty fierce necklace.
posted by Geameade at 7:38 PM on September 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

They’re not handmade but I like the Bryan Anthonys jewelry for this, all of which is symbolic and comes with a card with some uplifting text. I’ve liked the way the pieces I’ve bought for people say things sweetly that I would have felt awkward saying myself. It is really nice of you to get her a gift, as well as support her personally and professionally.
posted by bananacabana at 7:46 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

This Kaye Blegvad bracelet or ring always makes me feel like someone is giving me a hug when I look down at my hand.
posted by sallybrown at 8:08 PM on September 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

I must admit I cringed a little bit when I read your question, especially when you said you were her boss's boss. IMO jewelry is much too personal a gift in those circumstances. Look, you're showing your care and support for her by trying to arrange a transfer for her, which is something you are uniquely able to do. That's a wonderful thing and she should (and no doubt will) be enormously grateful for your efforts on her behalf. I can understand that you want her to have some keepsake to remind her that people love her and want the very best for her. For that, I would recommend something she could display or use in her new office, like a custom coffee mug or a wall hanging from Story People or something that conveys your sentiment and will be meaningful for years to come without it being so intimate as a piece of jewelry.
posted by DrGail at 8:26 PM on September 12, 2019 [37 favorites]

A lot of sellers on Etsy make aluminum stamped bracelets, so you can pick your word or phrase or symbol. I have one with a favorite quote stamped on the inside. Then it just looks like a basic bracelet, but I always know the words are there.
posted by dorey_oh at 8:28 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks @DrGail - I have been uncomfortable with the closeness too, but all of the sharing has been directed by her. We also have a pretty friendly and open work environment. Her level of sharing is above and beyond what I would expect, but she is also alone in this country so I am thrilled I can be helpful. I should have also specified that we work in a 99% female oriented business and we are pretty open about feelings at work. She and I have spent 4-5 hours this week talking about her struggles and she has specifically asked me for support

In the past when my team members have had a personal loss many of us go to the services in person and send meals to his/her family. This is a similar loss, but this person had to go to her boss’s boss for some sympathy. I honestly can’t imagine how hard that was for her.

It is honestly hurtful that you’re telling me I’m doing it wrong.

This person has told me that she needs talismans as a sense of strength and she does not know where she is going to be in 1, 2, 4,6 weeks. I’d love to help her plan the next step, but I’m just asking for a way to support real artists in the meantime. I would rather get something not from amazon.
posted by elvissa at 9:10 PM on September 12, 2019 [17 favorites]

I like Satya Jewelry in the Time Warner Center. Their prices are pretty reasonable, considering the real estate they occupy. This collection of theirs looks like it might fit the bill; some of it is outside your price range but there are definitely a bunch of pieces that aren’t.
posted by holborne at 9:24 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just to offer a different perspective... I bought myself a kintsugi ring after leaving an abusive relationship, as a reminder of my own strength and the beauty in our scars. Now that several years have passed, I can't stand that ring and I never wear it because I associate it with a terrible time in my life. Of course, everyone is different!

I think it's really kind of you to want to do something for her, though. I love the idea of meals. When I was in the thick of it, that kind of practical support was such a help.

If your heart is set on getting her jewelry, maybe you could choose some options and give her the choice? It might be empowering for her to choose something that resonates for her.
posted by bighappyhairydog at 10:30 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really don't think you're going about it wrong at all; I think something personal and portable like jewelry is exactly the right choice in this circumstance. One thought - if you choose something gold or silver-toned, make sure it's appropriate for her. Some people don't care for one or the other. (I'm one of these - while I'd absolutely appreciate the intentions and WANT to wear the gift constantly, I'd have a really hard time doing so if it were gold-toned, because it just plain does not look right on my skin.)

One more thought that I don't really have the words to explain well. Does she seem to be the type of person that would rub at the jewelry? I do this, sort of a self-soothing method, I guess you'd say. So you might take the texture/feel of it into consideration? (Too sharp of edges or rough material don't work as well for me.)
posted by stormyteal at 10:37 PM on September 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

I feel like jewelry is so culturally dependent on the wearer but the first thing that came to mind was a hamsa pendant, which is a sort of a protection from evil charm. It’s a really common motif and I’m sure you can find them in all price ranges and styles. (It is associated with Jewish and Muslim culture so ymmv if neither of you are Jewish or Muslim I guess.)
posted by phoenixy at 1:08 AM on September 13, 2019

Mockingjay pin?
posted by Stewriffic at 4:16 AM on September 13, 2019

If you do want to go with something less personal like a wall hanging, I think this one from Farmgirl Flowers would be perfect. Along with some of their awesome flowers of course.

Good on you for looking out for her.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:54 AM on September 13, 2019

I've gotten friends with similar issues some of these decorative gifts. The medallions in particular contain some lovely affirmations (if you and she like such things), but there are also really beautiful plaques and such. They also pack well.

That's very kind of you.
posted by dancing_angel at 8:19 PM on September 13, 2019

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