Thursday, February 11, 2021

Staring at a Maple Leaf: Souvenir Jewelry

 Some of my best memories of my mom are when we would go to craft shows together. She was a crafty person, and when I was little, she even participated in a few craft shows. They were the kind held in church gymnasiums. Usually, they were scheduled just before Christmas. We had a kiln in the garage and she did ceramics for a while. The whole garage was her ceramics studio. Then she moved to tole painting. Then wreath making. Both of those took over the kitchen in the evening after dinner.

But even after she stopped doing so much crafting, we would still go to craft fairs. It wasn’t really the same back in the day, as it is now. Nowadays, I can go to my local farmers market every Sunday morning and find arts and crafts booths. Back then, they were more of an event. You had to seek them out and wait for them to happen.

Similar to at bead shows, which I go to all the time (before there was a pandemic, of course), things move in trends. One show you will find more cherry quartz than you ever imagined. At the next show its like cherry quartz doesn’t exist and everything is turquoise. It changes unpredictably. One of the big trends when I was a child was electroformed leaves. I wanted one, but somehow it never really translated from me wanting one to my mom buying me one.

This is the maple leaf I eventually got.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who loves to go to estate sales ended up buying the entire contents of a house. I was lucky enough to get lots of neat things out of the house, including an electroformed maple leaf, an electroformed pinecone and a couple of other smaller leaves I don’t know just by sight.

I polished up the maple leaf and I adore it. The chain is came on must have been 30 inches, so I shortened it to about 18. I actually have a maple tree in my yard. It is the only plant in my yard the previous owners asked me to preserve. One of them planted it in memory of her mother. And when I wear my maple leaf, I think about going to those craft shows with my mom when I was little.

It got me thinking about other items I have from craft shows. I’m sure I’ll think of others, but the main one that popped into my head was a coin pendant, where the man who made them would saw out parts of the coin to highlight the artwork on it. Part of why I remember the specific trip to a craft fair with my mom was because it was the day that Aaliyah died. I didn’t really know who she was, but it was the buzz at the fair. It was August 25, 2001. For some reason, I think we might have been in Reno, but I’m not sure. Maybe Los Angeles.

Here’s the pendant:


That got me to thinking about how my mom and I would sometimes buy jewelry on trips. That way we had something like a souvenir from our trips, but also something more personal and long-lasting than a magnet or spoon. Although my mom got the magnets and spoons, too, and had dozens of them.

 We used to go to the border towns in Mexico, specifically for shopping trips. One of those shopping trips was the first time I learned about color-changing stones. My mom bought me a purple-stoned ring, but when I got into the car, the stone changed to a blueish-green.


This is the one that changed color in the car:

I have a ring from Istanbul. I have a fire opal pendant from a cruise - - which I won! I have several pieces of jewelry from those trips to Mexico. Trips which I don’t think a family could take now.

 Fire opal:

A puzzle ring from Istalbul:
I have another ring from Istanbul that I couldn't find tonight. I was a woven silver mesh, which started to fall apart from too much wear, so I had to take it out of rotation.

These souvenirs aren’t my most expensive pieces of jewelry, but they hold great sentimental value. They bring back memories. Good memories.

Here are a couple more:

From Hawaii (my mom and I got matching ones):

From Pisa, Italy (I think it was $3 or so):

No comments:

Post a Comment