I’ve always been drawn to old, soulful jewelry. Perhaps it was because my great-great grandfather was a jeweler in Armenia, or because my grandmother, Rose, layered necklaces and bracelets so well. “I own them,” she would say with a smile. “I want to wear them all.” Growing up, I spent Saturday mornings in downtown Boston at the jeweler’s building with my grandmother Rose, my Aunt Sharkie (a.k.a. Helen) and my mother, Stella. I would sit in a throne-style chair while they tried on items, sifted through stones, and created their own masterpieces. It was from the old-timers there that we learned of my great-great-great grandfather’s reputation as a master jeweler—and how he was killed in Armenia in the Hamidian Massacres in 1895, when his wife braided jewelry into her daughter’s hair and sent her to America. That girl was my grandmother Rose’s mother, and she kept food on the table during the Great Depression by selling the pieces, one by one, to a small jeweler in my hometown just outside of Boston.
I styled this piece based on that serendipitous bracelet, in honor of my mother.
Fast-forward a century or so to my own treks through markets in Greece, when I fell upon a bronze bracelet and slipped it on my wrist. It felt awkward at first, yet triggered something powerful inside me. Further research revealed it was a symbol of fertility—hence the bejeweled breasts and the womb. I styled this piece based on that serendipitous bracelet, in honor of my mother. She was told she would never have children again after my older brother was born, and it wasn’t until she was on vacation in the Caribbean that a local witch doctor, who could see beyond the limits of the medical professionals back in Boston, diagnosed her as pregnant. The nipples in this bronze beauty are rubies—my birthstone—and this bracelet is dedicated to my mother, the magic of folklore, and the miracle of divine intervention.