Mother’s Day Inspirations 2
While many of you are considering what gifts to choose for Mother’s Day, Bejeweled has compiled a four part series of Mother’s Day stories to share with you, inspire and move you. If you missed yesterday’s installment –please click (here).
This is the 2nd in our series. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did hearing and writing about them!
Christine Gambale: co-owner, Greenwich St. Jewelers
“We’re lucky. Our family all lives within a 10-minute drive and we see each other all of the time. We’re together every holiday and most weekends too. Our mother always says, ‘For me, every day is Mother’s Day,’ but there was no arguing that my first Mother’s Day was something special. My daughter Eva was the first grandchild in the family, so we were celebrating my mom becoming a grandmother too. We don’t usually do extravagant gifts for holidays either; we take lots of pleasure in each other as a family and we celebrate with vacations and experiences we can share. So imagine my surprise when on my first Mother’s Day as a mom, my own mother gave me an old jewelry box with our store’s logo from many years ago. When I opened it, there was a beautiful opal and diamond ring I’d seen on her hand many times. It had been a gift my father made for my mother when I was born, as opal is my birthstone. Needless to say I was overwhelmed – it meant so much to me that she was passing this on. It felt like an honoring of our shared experience as mothers. It’s one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry and carries with it more than precious gems and metals; it signifies a mother’s blessing.”
Jennifer Ha: editor and avid jewelry collector
“The beginning of 2016 did not start out well. My mom became suddenly ill and was in intensive care. After a week, she made it out of the ICU, and a week after that she had improved to the point that she was transferred to a rehab center. A few days after she was there though, something went terribly wrong. What they discovered was a severe adverse drug interaction. We didn’t know if she would ever come out of the delirium. So much was going through my mind when the doctor warned us that she might not ever be lucid again. On the third day, my mom knew me and was able to talk to me a little bit. We told each other how much we loved one another. For the first time in days, I had real hope once again that she might recover. I was so profoundly grateful that I started to cry. I needed to distract myself, so I just started to flip through Instagram. As I was doing so, I just randomly saw a brooch that perfectly reflected my emotions. It was a pair of ruby hearts with diamond wings, sitting in its original box. At that moment, it expressed exactly how I felt, a combination of love and hope, and I had to have it. I contacted the dealer, Lindsey Erwin at Park Avenue Antiques, and purchased it. Sadly, my mom continued her decline and passed away soon after. When the brooch arrived, I couldn’t wear it at first. I would just take it out of its box and think of my mother. I am finally ready to wear it now, in her memory. And, I am having it converted to a necklace, where it can be close to my heart forever.”
Cristina Pok: software quality engineer and avid jewelry collector
“I spotted a 1922 date ring on an Instagram feed and ran over to show my sister. That was the year our grandmother was born and my sister immediately fell in love with it. The ring symbolized the woman who loved her unconditionally, with so much warmth and adoration. She didn’t have extra funds at the time to buy it, so I told my sister that I would pay for it and she could pay me back in installments. She was elated. In a crazy turn of events, the ring had been lost because the dealers had left it in a jeweler’s safe when she was on an extended vacation. When the dealer called to return my payment, she was crushed that she had to give me this news, and I was beside myself. I knew my sister had already grown so attached to that ring. Then four months later, I received a call from the dealer that the ring had finally been found in the back of the safe in a box with a different name on it. I was laughing, crying, and squealing with excitement. I just received the ring the other day. This time, I wrapped it up to give to my sister as a surprise on Mother’s Day. She helped raise me and took care of me throughout my college years and was also the caretaker of my three babies. She doesn’t have children of her own, but she is the most nurturing and loving aunt and second mom to them. She deserves that ring and so much more.
Elizabeth Doyle: co-owner, Doyle & Doyle
“My son picked out this lion brooch for me from an auction catalog that I had brought home from work. He was two years old at the time, and I just love how it perfectly reflects what a boy that age would choose from a book full of jewelry. Of course, he was attracted to the look of this silly-looking lion, but it also resonated with him because his last name means ‘little lion’.
I love it when children, especially young children, pick out gifts for their mothers. The thought they put into the choice is so pure. I still love this little lion and wear it so much more than I would expect because it really speaks to me knowing the sentiment behind it. Recently, we were going out to a party together, and I asked my son if he wanted to borrow some special jewelry from the store, perhaps a pair of cuff links. He thought about it for a while and said he thought he would wear the lion brooch. He wore it on the lapel of his velvet tux and it looked amazing. I am thrilled that he still loves the piece as much as I do.”
Susan Cohen: Screenwriter and Designer/Owner Circa 1700
“What do you get the person, your mom, who knows you better than you know yourself? As a kid, you just drew a picture or stuck some Popsicle sticks together and she showered you with love over these brilliant masterpieces. Boy, those were the days. But as an adult, finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift is a bit more challenging—besides showing up on her doorstep and surprising her – that’s usually the best Mother’s gift of all for my mom. However, this year something magical fell in my lap. I stumbled upon two beautifully carved Victorian amethyst brooches, which just happens to be both of our birthstones as we were both born in February. But it gets better. One was a Pisces and the other an Aquarius – each of our zodiac signs. I knew I had found the golden gift—one-of-kind mother and daughter necklaces. These two brooches are currently being remounted and will soon hang around each of our necks as a reminder of the bond we share and that each mother-daughter bond is truly one-of-a-kind.”
Debbie Gaelen: volunteer NJ chairperson for the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research and avid jewelry collector
“My mom was an avid collector of jewelry who did not subscribe to the notion of ‘less is more.’ She had many, many pieces of jewelry. Not all valuable in a monetary sense, but certainly precious nonetheless. With all her big chunky, clunky gold and gemstone jewelry, the one piece I fancied above all others was her diamond pinky ring, which I always remember her wearing from the time I was around seven years old.
My grandmother came to stay with us around that time from her home in Florida. She was quite ill and stayed with us throughout her illness. It was somewhere during this time that I learned that the ring had been my grandmother’s engagement ring, purchased by my grandfather, on a candy salesman’s salary in the Bronx in the 1920s. My mother wore it the entire time my grandmother was there, and after she passed away had a rectangular halo of diamonds added. Now it really sparkled, and in my preteens I became obsessed with it! I asked to try it on every few months and then began asking if I could have it just as often. I had never known my paternal grandmother, so this was the ring most likely to be passed down. Fast forward to Mother’s Day, 1993. Right before our annual Mother’s Day brunch began, my mom was sitting behind the mound of cards and gifts we had for her and said, ‘Debbie, I have something for you.’ She slid the ring off her hand and into mine. ‘I want to have the pleasure of watching you enjoy the ring while I am alive.’ I put the ring on my pointer finger, the only finger it fit, was overjoyed that this gift from the maternal side of my family was all of a sudden mine, and my mother in her straightforward way continued, ‘Okay, now let’s order brunch.’”
Lisa Stockhammer-Mial: president, The Three Graces
“Mother’s and Father’s Day aren’t a big gift-giving time in my family, especially between my husband and me. This is a time that our girls generally make a card or give us small, more meaningful gifts that they made by hand. But several years ago on Mother’s Day, my husband was acting pretty coy. He presented me with an exquisitely-wrapped little box. That in itself should have signaled something different, as gift-wrapping isn’t his strong suit. In my mind, I was thinking it must be something fun or silly. When I opened it, I could not believe what I saw. It was ring with the image on each side of The Three Graces and an intaglio carved in emerald of one of The Graces, the name of my antique jewelry company. While Three Graces cameos dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are around in droves, I had never seen such an artful and unique rendering of them in jewelry since I discovered the 17th enamel slide that we originally based our business’s name on. Better still was how overjoyed he was to bestow it; his face said it all.”
Lucy Verity: antique dealer, Lucy Verity Jewelry
“People often remark on the collection of little silver teddy bears I wear on a chain round my neck. My pa was a silver dealer and my mother sold jewelry, but between them they had a shop selling 18th century glass and china. When I was small, we had drives to nearby cities to find stock. Every Wednesday afternoon, we drove to a Georgian town called Bath built on a Roman city. I was dragged to various antique shops hosted by eccentric people. Mostly these people lived above the shop, always ready for a dealer to visit. This was not what I would call a fun expedition for a young child—everything was old and musty-smelling. There were pigeons like in Hitchcock’s The Birds swooping in where some of the female dealers would feed them crumbs of bread. It was quite scary for a little person, so my mother said that, as a reward for coming and keeping quiet, if I found a little silver bear, I could keep it. It was sheer and utter bribery to get me into these funny old places. But early on, I was one for the hunt and continued to find the little silver bears. When I had found enough for a necklace, my mother put them on a long silver chain for me to wear. Well, I still wear the bears and I entered the jewelry business when I was 16, and have been part of it ever since. And, now I go wherever the search takes me for antique jewelry — even to musty houses. So damn it – the bribery worked!”
Parts of this series first appeared on Indesign.jewelry in 2016