Ideas for jewellery to give to myself
June 16, 2022 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I’d like to buy myself a simple piece of jewellery that commemorates huge challenges and changes in my life over the last 3 years and serves as a reminder to myself that I can do hard things, I kept going when things were tough, and I should KEEP going, no matter what.

The past few years have been big: my daughter was born in early 2020 and my mother died in early 2021. Add the pandemic, single motherhood, and normal life stresses, and it hasn’t always been easy. But I’m here, my grief is receding a bit, my daughter is thriving, and things (knock on wood) are looking up.

I'd like to buy myself a gift that honours the hard graft of the last few years, commemorates the birth of my daughter and acts as a memorial for my mother. Ideally, it would be a piece of jewellery that I could wear every day, the same way that I carry my memories of my mother and my love for my daughter. I want something that’s less conversation piece than companion piece, if that makes sense; a tangible reminder to myself that will go basically unremarked by others.

But I’m stuck for ideas. I have done a bit of internet searching and I’m not finding anything that really strikes my fancy: I don’t like the “mama”–style initial discs on a pendant (too literal); I’m not into traditional birth-stone family rings (too old fashioned); and my imagination for something more abstract just…isn’t coming up with anything.

My budget is $350 CAD but I could stretch to $500 for the perfect thing. I'm looking for something gold; minimalist vibe (nothing flashy or catchy, clean lines, goes-with-everything); for daily wear. The only other jewellery I wear daily is a pair of small, thin gold hoop earrings. A ring or a necklace would be my first choices; the right bracelet could make the cut.

Have you done something like this? Can you suggest a specific item, a way to narrow down my options, and/or a site where you think I might find something that fulfils this purpose? Bonus points if you have actually purchased from the retailer and been satisfied with what you bought. (I'm in a small city in Canada, so online retailers are better bets for me.)
posted by notquitejane to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Yes! I am a big fan of Catbird and they have nice, not too expensive, engravable jewelry. I bought the heart and a tiny strawberry to represent my June baby.
posted by chocotaco at 10:07 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]

This ring (which I own and wear) doesn't fit all your desiderata, but might spark ideas.
posted by humbug at 10:08 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]

Noting that, for me, rings are the ideal for empowerment/memory jewelry, for several reasons: I can easily see a ring, and often; with the right design, rings are often more durable and comfortable and safe for delicate clothing than bracelets/necklaces (thin chains, protruding clasps); rings are imbued with meaning in Western culture, and so even if no one asks about the meaning of my ring, it’s likelier to signal that it Has Meaning To Me than another kind of jewelry, and that unconscious meaning-making by other people feels like it amplifies my own.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 10:10 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]

A locket! With a picture of your mom (as a baby, if you have one, or a favourite), and your own sweet babe. You could even swap pictures down the road as they age up.
posted by kate4914 at 10:13 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]

On the cheaper end of the spectrum, Local Eclectic has a lot of options, including some creative birthstone items, including birth month flowers and constellations, which is cool and unusual. I have a couple of their ombre birthstone rings (similar to mine but they don't seem to sell the kind I got anymore). I liked them but the vermeil felt a little cheap; they now have more solid gold items so I might look there first.

On the fine jewelry end of the spectrum, you may like Alexis Russell or Capuchinne, both of whom do unique stacking/nesting rings. Alexis Russell seems to have more options in your budget.

I've also struggled a bit with this bc I just don't like my kids' birthstones. And then I thought -- I can just have two stones (or whatever) that represent them and it doesn't need to match, it can just be significant to me and that's totally fine.
posted by emkelley at 10:26 AM on June 16

Maybe something along the lines of this?

I like the idea of representing all three of you... you could do birthstones for each of you, or just do white topaz for all three if you want something more subtle.
posted by jenquat at 10:28 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]

I’m fond of wax seal necklaces as a meaningful piece of jewelry that is easy to wear daily. Pyrrha has a lot of options, but there are lots of Etsy shops with them too.
posted by Maeve at 10:30 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]

Oop, forgot one more option: Mint & Lily, specifically the double name ring. Might be a little too literal for you, but they do have some other birthstone jewelry.
posted by emkelley at 10:46 AM on June 16

I bought a necklace to commemorate the passing of time - my little one is growing quickly and while it can be hard and also incredibly joyful, the time with them as a small child is fleeting. I didn't buy it to represent loss, but it is a traditional representation of this idea, too. I bought this wax seal necklace of a winged hourglass and wear it often. It might hit some of the emotions you're looking to represent.
posted by ceramicblue at 10:56 AM on June 16

I have considered an intaglio ring for similar reasons. (Something on the minimalist end, like this, for example.) Antique ones can be pricey, but there are dozens of sellers on Etsy who make them in glass or semi-precious stones for less than half your budget. If you have a symbol or flower or hell, an emoji, that is a meaningful reminder of the feelings you’re trying to evoke, you could have it custom made.
posted by minervous at 11:02 AM on June 16

Best answer: Perhaps a ring that has a "braided" component to represent stregnth, as braided string is stronger than a single strand? Example from web search for 'braid ring'. A three strand braid could represent you, your mother, and your daughter.
posted by bruinfan at 11:49 AM on June 16 [6 favorites]

Would you wear a wristwatch daily? Like a ring, bracelet or locket, it can be gold/gold-tone, clean-lined, & has an engravable area (the back).
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:58 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]

Maybe consider an Ogham script pendant? You can get them personalized to a word or name or just have it say Mom (which would relate to both your mother and you.) You usually see them as either rectangular or circular pendants. I'm going to link to a (non gold) one on Etsy just so you can see what I'm talking about.
posted by gudrun at 12:34 PM on June 16

Made you look in Toronto they do custom and did my wedding ring. Will work in your price.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:50 PM on June 16

For high quality minimalist jewelry my first thought is always Niessing. Those pieces are generally above your price range but if you find something that strikes you I imagine you could have something similar made from less expensive materials. They also turn up on the estate and secondhand market periodically and are usually not too pricey as it's not a well-known brand in the US.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 1:44 PM on June 16

I like the idea of a diamond solitaire worn as a necklace. You had a hard year. Diamonds are tough, they were formed under immense pressure eons ago, and they come out and sparkle.

A single diamond on a chain is subtle enough to wear every day, and yet it's still dressy enough if you need it to be fancy. I'll try to post some suggestions later when I have time, but essentially pick the cut of the stone you like and the grade, and that's pretty much it. Match the metal colour to the colour of your hoops.
posted by sardonyx at 2:57 PM on June 16

Like Iris Gambol, my first thought was of a wristwatch. I recently treated myself to one from Triwa, which is in the right price range for you. I ordered direct, and shipping to US went fine. They have many styles, so don't be put off if the first few are too flashy. I have the Gold Elva, which is sold out (argh) but I also think based on your description that you might like the Ivory Nikki. If you kind of like these styles but the perfect one isn't there, you might search for "Scandinavian Ladies Watch."

I have been surprised by how nice it is to look at the time without having to look at a cell phone screen.
posted by happy_cat at 5:40 PM on June 16

Peoples has a few different styles--mainly the difference is going to be how the stone is set and what the bail looks like. I picked Peoples because it's a national chain, but pretty much any jewellery store you go into will either have pieces like this or will be able to order them. Other national chain options might be Charm Diamond Centre or Ben Moss.

For more basic ones (likely with better quality and/or larger diamonds for the price point) there is a US place I've ordered from before a few times. I've never had a problem with getting them to mail it across the border, and had no issues with taxes, duties, etc.

Keep in mind diamonds can come in almost any colour and shape. (Naturally coloured diamonds are rare, so the ones that are typically on the market are colour enhanced, with a few exceptions.) Personally, however, if I were just buying one diamond to wear all the time, I'd get a white one, that way it would go with everything. (Actually, I've been thinking of making a similar purchase for myself.)
posted by sardonyx at 6:48 PM on June 16

Response by poster: Thank you all for the wonderful answers. I marked the one that brought tears to my eyes as "best answer," but I appreciate every suggestion and the time and care you took in answering. (And now I have a jewellery wishlist, in case anyone ever offers to buy me something!)
posted by notquitejane at 12:16 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]

I bought myself a continuity ring from white space under different circumstances but with similar motivations and I love it. It's gorgeous and very comfortable. The rings are made to order (but mine arrived quickly!) and I was able to get a weird quarter size with an offer of free resizing if the fit wasn't right.
posted by snaw at 5:55 PM on June 17

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