Some days I feel really choked that I can’t wear costume jewellery. I know It’s hardly a national (or even local) disaster. But before you dismiss my complaint as selfish whining, think about it.
Because of a nickel sensitivity that appeared in my early 20s I’ve been forced to wear only gold jewellery. What’s so bad about that, you ask? I’ve got fewer pieces, though admittedly they’re worth more. There is both white and yellow gold, depending on what colour was hot in which decade. There are earrings, rings, bracelets, and chains.
I’ve got a pair of yellow gold earrings and matching bangle in a Greek key design bought in Athens several years ago. There is my charm bracelet loaded with miniature symbols of life events and special interests: a baby buggy, pair of dice, wedding ring set, airplane, thimble, and more.
Some stuff is too much for everyday wear but just right when I officiate marriages and want some extra bling. Years ago, when Roy was buying me earrings without the help of pointed suggestions or advice from Hilary, everything had a leaf or flower motif. Finally I had to speak up and say enough already with the nature theme. Sheesh.
When big, colourful plastic earrings were the rage I had oodles of pairs because they also had plastic posts and backs. Hell, I used to buy cheap costume earrings, break off the metal posts, and then use special glue to attach the plastic pieces. All for the sake of fashion.
Of course, the metal clasps on slacks and bras also cause itchy patches. Cortisone cream to the rescue. Most bra parts are now plastic.
For years I wore only watches with plastic cases. If a metal watch was especially nice I covered the back with surgical tape just so I could wear it for a few hours. Quite the look if I do say so myself. One day at Sears I took a chance on a Fossil watch because the clerk assured me those watches are pure stainless steel. That was 10 watches ago. Even strangers admire them. There’s nothing quite like getting a Fossil as a gift, knowing it was purchased at a fraction of the price from an outlet store. Roots watches also work for me.
With so many gorgeous pieces of costume jewellery out there now and more than a few creative bones in my body I’ve started making my own fun pieces. Of course, I can’t use any metal clasps or findings so most of my pieces are either long necklaces that easily slip over my head or shorter pieces on elastic. Memory wire is another tool that works for me.
Metal beads and charms are out. I use natural stone, plastic, or wooden beads. I love the colours, textures, infinite possibilities and combinations. I recycle old jewellery and shop sales. I seriously need to revisit an Edmonton gem shop and try some more precious stones. The process of creation and one of a kind results make up for the tacky stuff of long ago. All that glitters isn’t gold, from where I sit.