Monday, 3 February 2014

Jewellery and it's Long Tradition

Jewellery has so many traditions that go with it. Weddings, anniversaries, engagements, commitment, birthdays and in more recent years for 'pushing'. In many cases the traditions and meanings have been lost or perhaps, conveniently ignored.
While recently reading a biography of Consuela Vanderbilt it was surprising to read that she was resentful of a particular gift of jewellery from her first husband the 9th Duke of Marlborough. He gave her a pearl choker the likes of which had not been seen before. It was specially designed to accentuate her long neck and had diamond clasps (which cut uncomfortably into her skin). But it was the symbolism that hurt the most.
Jewels in particular were seen as the fee paid for the purchasing of a wife. A husband buying himself a submissive companion for life. A choker was particularly symbolic of this and was particularly resented by Vanderbilt as she was a woman who had the potential for great freedom. She had been forced into this marriage for the title it would bring, the Duke was also forced into it for the money she would bring to a flailing aristocratic family.
Her wedding gift was loaded with meaning, one that has been forgotten. It makes one think about our willingness to accept gifts and what they are really for. Is it a gift unburdened by greater meaning or does it in fact purchase the recipient for some greater purpose?
It all comes back to the same thing; if you want it, earn it for yourself. You are rewarding yourself and making a statement about your own Independence.

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