Part One of a two-part post.
An amulet or charm nudges an accessory into talisman territory. Worn for protection or luck, to honour a memory or remind yourself of a quality you revere, amulets invite magic.
They exist outside fashion, unique, antique or found objects. One of my friends wears three gold wedding bands on a chain around her neck, two once worn by her parents and one found.
An amulet may be your your grandmother's sapphire brooch, a tiny pebble from that beach walk with your true love, drilled and worn on a silk cord. Invested with deep meaning, the amulet is a possession that breaks your heart if lost.
(Shown, sapphire and diamond clover brooch, Firestone and Parson.)
But life offers new amulets if you stay open. Walk by an artisan's stall in India and choose a silver elephant bracelet, or pick up an enameled fleur de lis pin, already distressed, at a jumble sale. Amulets do not have to be in perfect shape!
(Shown, traditional Indian elephant bracelet from eBay seller rajathstanjewellery.)
Take the tiny leaf you found on your holiday and have it cast in gold, with a pearl on the bale.
You may have a number of talismanic pieces, and you will know which they are. Wearing them feels significant; they're for days when you want an infusion of strength and support.
When I chose pieces for this post, I realized that each is directly connected to my family, but yours need not be.
A friend, single after years in a painful marriage, bought herself a charm in the shape of a Nautilus shell, symbolic of her emergence. Hers is gold; shown, diamond and gold Nautilus pendant by Van Cleef & Arpels, $3,850 from Beladora.
Here are some of mine:
1. My father's class ring, De Paul Academy, Chicago, 1922.
2. Hammered gold bangle inscribed inside, "Je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aime", given by Le Duc.
3. Art deco pate de verre, onyx, marcasite and silver lavaliere, ca. 1924; the first piece of jewelry my father gave my mother. She was fifteen, he was twenty.
What are your amulets, and what do they mean to you?
Tomorrow: Amulets, Part Two: Some choices