The Symbolism of Jewelry

Mari - San Rafael, California
Entered on November 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in wearing jewelry to represent an important person, thing, or event in my life. I wear a lot of jewelry: 4 rings, 2 necklaces, and 6 or 7 bracelets depending on when they break and when I get new ones. I love the way all this jewelry looks, but it has so much more meaning than that.

When I was in pre-school, I started making bracelets with my friends and family and I wore a ton of crazy pieces of jewelry. At that point in my life, I was not aware of their symbolic value; I just wore them for fun. However, the jewelry was really a symbol for the precious time I spent making it with the people I loved.

As I grew older, I decided that I would not remove this jewelry unless I had to. Sometimes I had no choice but to take it off, but one could often see me during a ballet performance, a play, or a swim meet with my necklaces tucked inconspicuously under my suit or leotard and skin-colored band aids wrapped around my fingers and wrists to cover up the rings and bracelets that I refused to take off.

I started with only a few small friendship bracelets, but over time my collection has evolved into what I wear today. Some have broken, others have been lost and replaced by others from new experiences, but I am never completely without them for more than a few hours.

Around my left wrist is a beaded bracelet with Chinese characters carved across some of the beads, signifying good luck. My dad gave it to me and I’ve worn it for 2 years now. Right next to it is the most recent addition to my collection: a red ribbon bracelet with the white letters WANT IT painted boldly across. It was a gift from my water polo coaches to every girl on the team and it symbolizes the mental aspect that is crucial to succeeding in anything. Perhaps the most important piece in my entire collection is the beautiful silver ring around my right ring finger. It was my mom’s when she was a little girl and she always told me that one day it would be mine. After she died, my family went through her belongings and her jewelry. We knew that one day it would all belong to me, but when I saw this ring lying there I picked it up and placed it on my finger where it has remained, more or less, for the past 5 and a half years.

For many people, wearing jewelry is just a fashion statement, but my jewelry is quite literally a part of who I am. Every piece is special and every piece has its own story. They are my expression and my attachment to the people I love.