By Cassie Stevens
My Nanna Josie was a wonderful old woman who died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 86 last year. Before we put her in a nursing home around 7 years ago, she gave me three pieces of jewelry that were very special to her. Personally, I work for a jewelry safe company, but have never owned much jewelry, nor cared to. I guess I just never really saw significance for myself in the matter, but with stories behind each of these, owning jewelry as well as selling luxury safes for jewelry has a bit more meaning. On Christmas 2007, weeks before I started my last semester of college, she sat me down on her dusty green couch and told me a story behind each one.
The first piece was this necklace. She had gotten that from my grandfather, she said, when they were dating. They dated for 11 years before they got engaged. I don’t know why they dated so long, I asked, but Nanna Josie never gave me a straight answer. Three years into their relationship, however, my Grandfather gave her this necklace as a promise that he would some day marry her. Eight years later, he did. And she wore the necklace on her wedding day. And I will wear it on mine.
(Please forgive me for the picture quality - photographing jewelry, I have found, is very difficult)
As you can see, the stone in the middle of each rung is a turquoise gemstone. I particularly like this feature. The flower design around each one reminds me of summertime (It kind of looks like a sun to me), and the fun I used to have riding my bike to the local mom & pop store down the street with friends to buy candy and junk food. I don’t know what metal it is made out of, only that it’s been put together in such a way that there is this stone on each rung, and that’s awesome.
The next piece she gave me was this heart pin with the arrow sticking through it. The reason this was special was because she always wanted to give it to her daughter - but after her second son (my Dad), my Grandfather and her never had any more children. She found it at an old antique store in Boston MA sometime in the 50’s, but she could never remember the name of the place. She never really specified why, but she had just always wanted her daughter to have it. And since my Uncle never had any children and I am one girl among three boys in my family, I was the only option.
I have not taken this to a professional, but I’ve attempted some online research and frankly came up with nothing. I cannot find a similar piece anywhere. All I have is the piece and the story I’ve heard.
The last piece has a story that is a bit less dramatic, but still very special. Nanna Josie just found it. Laying in the street outside of her parent’s home the week before she got married, my Nanna found this bracelet. We still don’t know who it belonged to originally, but Nanna Josie decided to keep it as a memory of her life before she married my grandfather (that’s right, she stole it off the ground with no regard to anybody!). She told me to keep it and always remember that I was not always how I am now, and that I will continue to change.
See how it has the snake on it? My Nanna hated snakes. She said she would wear it and think about how she would someday not be afraid of snakes. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out and she always hated snakes. My younger brother had a pet snake and it took her months to forgive him for showing it to her.
Grandma, I love and miss you. Thank you for your gifts in these stories that I remember every time I wear a piece of the jewelry you gave me.
If anybody recognizes something on here and has some information, I’d like to know more! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When she is not working, Cassie Stevens can be found reading romance novels or horseback riding at her parent’s ranch.
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The Found in the Jewelry Box Blog is my attempt to teach others about the wonderful world of gems and jewelry, past and present. Please enjoy!