Jewelry That Says You: The Personal Touch

My little elementary school friends Debbie, Susan, and Cindy could choose from an impressive selection of name necklaces. No shortage of personalized bicycle license plates for them, either. But do you think I found any “Merle” jewelry at a department store counter, no matter how many times I twirled the display rack around? Do you imagine there was ever a single Merle tag for my bike? No, not a one, and I always looked.

ABOVE: Alison and Ivy’s initial bar name necklace, sterling silver with 14K rose gold plating

Today I could have my pick. Thanks to new technologies, all kinds of personalized products are on the market. Not only is ready-made or more affordable on-demand identity jewelry for everyone possible, it’s positively burgeoning, according to jewelry style expert Deborah Yonick in Trends in the latest issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. On the one hand, I could order up my unusual first name on a necklace or even my own signature on a super-personalized if hard-to-read bracelet. On the other hand, finger, or ear, I could identify myself through geography, numbers, and words of inspiration all ready to wear.

Inspirational ideas and symbols with personal associations are part of the personalized jewelry trend. This expandable charm bracelet, with rhodium flash plate, is by Chrysalis

As I absorbed these developments, my inner little Merle started feeling pretty vindicated, and soon we were on a roll. Why stop there, I thought. Why not put my name, I mean create personal connections, on other accessories, too?

It’s not all names and initials anymore: personalized jewelry also tells about your interests. Roger Halas created this Halley’s comet pendant because he has a thing for space exploration (and so do I) — and even a dog named Halley. Pattern welded steel, sterling, blue star sapphire; photo: Jim Lawson

A Few Ideas Inspired by Paris Fashion Week

So just for fun I looked through some of the accessories that appeared at Paris fashion week this fall and found ideas literally from head to foot. Let’s take it from the top. Embellished headbands on the scene make the time ripe for headband, hat, and barrette ID pins.

Clutch a small bag in your hand or suspend it on a chain from your shoulder, and you’re poised for personal storytelling along your entire torso. Bead or otherwise embellish the bag directly, and dangle charms from the chain. Either or both parts could declare the owner’s origins, history, or circle of friends.

While bejeweled shoes continue to surround the foot, you can do so much more. Birthstone boots would announce your birth month for a good length of your leg. Birthstone-encrusted heels would be in step with other bijouxed heels on the runway now. I didn’t spot any other designs underfoot, but identity spurs for your boots could accommodate quite a variety of just-for-you jewels. Identity traction patterns could even let you spell out a message as you trod over soft ground . . . the letters highlighted in metal, like studded snow tires.

A Simple Message

I’m not sure I need to leave a trail of secret words wherever I walk, and I’m long past the name necklace thing. But I do have a classic message I’d like to share right here, once again. May you each be surrounded by friends, family, and all those you hold dear for a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy a very happy and healthy year throughout 2018.

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group. This post is adapted from her column, “The Personal Touch,” in the December, 2017, issue.

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist December 2017 issue

Find More in the December issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist


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