Women and Jewelry
A Social Approach to Wearing and Possessing Jewelry
A woman has several diamond rings but her most treasured piece of jewelry is a silver bracelet with five hearts on it. Why? The piece was her mother’s, composed of gifts from her father, a heart after each child. It is links like this that make jewelry more valuable than just the sum of its parts. This study contributes not only to design research but also to the small and novel field of jewelry studies. It brings a new approach to seeing personal experiences and memories, important when jewelry is part of women’s social existence. This study provides a deeper understanding of the social reasons why jewelry is possessed and worn. Women’s jewelry often connects past and future generations. Such jewelry not only exists in the present day, but also connects generations. Jewelry also often works as a mediator of memories of possessors’ milestones in life, relationships and family ties. It plays important roles in the rituals that make up the rites of passages throughout a woman’s life.