I am a jewelry hound. specifically, I love rings. And also long dangly earrings. And beautiful necklaces that accentuate my decolletage. But mostly rings.
I have a small (less than 10) but growing collection of antique and vintage rings that has become both a hobby and also a form of spiritual self-expression. Looking for and curating a collection of jewelry that honors the divine feminine has become my side hobby and I have learned a lot about buying jewelry as well as sacred adornment. I thought I'd share some of it with you.
I want to take today to talk about where and how to find jewelry to use as talismans and amulets. Not only can this be fun, beautiful and serve a good purpose for yourself, but soon you'll be scouting out pieces to gift and serve the special people in your life. I recently bought a special Victorian memorial ring for a friend who had a stillborn child. It felt sooo good to pass such a beautiful sentiment and memorial piece to her. . . and it cost me less than $150.
Price is beyond the point here, but when we think about buying jewelry for ourselves or others, we often put up barriers and blocks because we think it will be too expensive, too extravagant and just too much/more than we deserve.
That's just not so.
When Andy and I got together and began to make a family, we decided against a wedding or a legal marriage, but we did decide to get each other commitment rings. I have always loved Art Deco era jewelry but I just assumed that you couldn't get pieces like that anymore, and any that are still in circulation were way out of our price range. So we went with a jewelry designer who designed my ring in the spirit of Art Deco. It's only *sort of* what I had in mind and it was twice the budget I had in mind. In the 5 years since, I've given myself an education in jewelry and I've come across some Art Deco and even Victoria-era jewelry that have blown my mind have often been even less than my original budget for my ring-- I'm talking $2,000 or less. Sometimes less than $1,000. Although I do love my commitment ring and all that it stands for, I wish I had known how to shop for jewelry before we had gone that route. Since then, I've gotten quite a collection of rings (I love rings) and I've learned a lot about how to look for and buy real gemstones and how to add them to my spiritual practice.
Gemstones, as you probably know, each carry a vibration and are good for different ailments, energies and purposes. They are also a natural earth element (unless they are synthetic-- which are great options for fashion jewelry but not so much when we're talking about magical-purpose jewelry) and they are usually also set in a natural earth element: gold or silver, typically.
So. I am a big fan of finding antique or vintage jewelry. 1) it doesn't contribute to any current mining practices-- you're recycling gemstones and gold that are already in circulation instead of helping to create a demand for more. 2) After a piece of jewelry has been sold the first time, much like a brand new car, it's value drops drastically. You could walk into a jewelry store, buy a brand new diamond ring for $10,000, walk out, turn around and walk back in and try to resell it and you'd probably be hard-pressed to get $4,000 for it. Of course, there are instances where a piece of jewelry increases in value (usually if it is associated with a celebrity) but these are rare. When you buy antique or vintage jewelry, you are bypassing this cost inflation. 3) Owning antique and vintage is sort of romantic. Who owned the piece before you? How was it given to them? Who commissioned it? Who created it this lovely little piece of art?
On top of all that, aside from diamonds, rubies and emeralds, most gemstones are actually quite affordable. Diamonds are one of the most common gemstones but are overly-valued thanks to the jewelry/wedding industry. Rubies and Emeralds are truly precious and a bit rare.
Most antique and vintage jewelry will be set in yellow or rose gold. Here's the thing about gold: it's doesn't really matter if it's 10k, 14k, or 18k. 24k is pure gold and it's beautiful but very soft. For this reason, gold is often mixed with other metals to strengthen it. 18k gold is 18k gold and 6k of another metal. 14k gold is 14k of gold and 10k of another metal.And so on. The lower the #k, the stronger the gold and the cheaper. And to the naked eye? While you can probably spot the difference between a 10k and 18k ring, it's much more difficult to spot the difference between a 10k and a 14k or a 14k and an 18k. Most of my rings are 10k and cost less than $200. My oldest ring is a Victorian ring from about 1870. It's so romantic ;) and, again, cost about $200 (18k gold, turquoise and pearls). Having a jewelry collection, for fun, fashion or magic, doesn't have to be expensive. I aim to collect one ring a year, because it is a collection for me, and you'd be surprised how quickly you can get a collection up and running with those parameters (1 a year, ~$200).
There's also a lot of a amazing symbolism in antique jewelry, especially Victorian-era jewelry. We'll talk more about that tomorrow.
In summary, you can find great vintage or antique pieces of jewelry that don't cost a lot. You can then use this jewelry as your talisman or amulet. There is A LOT of power in buying yourself a piece of jewelry. A LOT of power in deciding you're worth it and you deserve it and then you add even more power to it through charging it to be your talisman or amulet and then wearing it/using it. They are also great forms of personal and creative expression and this is not to be discounted.
Most common jewelry eras available:
Victorian Jewelry: 1839-1901
Edwardian Jewelry: 1901-1915
Art Deco: 1915-1940
Below are some of my favorite places to scout out jewelry. Tomorrow I'll give you a great idea on symbolism to look for which can also turn into collections to create for yourself. None of these links are affiliated.
John Paul Rangel -- Santa Fe-based Native artist/metal smith and a dear friend.
Vulpecula Jewelry --source for the rings pictured at the top of this email
Butterlane Antiques (love this ring!)
The One I Love NYC-- a few years ago this site was a great place to find beautiful pieces at reasonable prices. The curator has quite the eye and the marketing strategy and now most of these pieces are very inflated price-wise, but she makes you WANT them. Beautiful to look at and a great study in the creation of desire and perceived value.
In Love and Darkness,