The etiquette of wearing the jewellery your ex gave you

July 25th, 2014, 1pm

My ex’s family were of Persian origin, and it was through him that I was introduced to jewellery from that region. I fell in love with distinctive shapes of the metalwork and the colours of the lapiz-lazuli, carnelian and the other semi-precious gems that adorned each piece. I used to think it was the most beautiful jewellery I’d ever seen. Maybe I still do.

My ex shared my love of this style of jewellery. Together we would spend hours pouring over market stalls in London, Istanbul, Jordan - wherever we travelled - choosing rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets for me. I favoured battered, tarnished rings, dull in colour, with dented bands and covered in scratches. I had some silly romantic notion that the imperfections told the story of the item’s journey from a faraway land.

I used to wear at least two rings a day, sometimes as many as six, often with a necklace, bracelet and earrings too. Each day I secretly hoped that someone would inquire about my jewellery, as they frequently did, as I relished the opportunity to share the story of my jewellery and explain the link to my boyfriend. Across the world, in varying forms, jewellery is used to denote bonds of kinship, and this is how I wore my jewellery - it was as an open, daily declaration of love.

This is why I’ve always found it slightly strange how it’s never troubled me much to continue wearing these pieces, pieces that were always so representative of him and of our relationship, since we split up. I don’t wear it everyday now, and I only ever wear one piece at a time - anything more now seems far too showy. From time to time I’ll slip on one of my old favourites, like the ring pictured, and wait for the wave of emotion, of nostalgia to hit. But it never comes, and I’ve yet to figure out why.

For further reading on this topic: Gender and Jewelry: A Feminist Analysis by Rebecca Ross Russe

Adrian and Shu said thanks.

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Ellen Catriona

I want the courage to explore

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