Sunday, August 9, 2009

Please Keep These Things: Mom’s and Grandma’s Jewelry

The word prompt for the 16th Edition of Smile For The Camera (hosted by Shades of the Departed) is "Bling, ancestor Bling." I am always drawn to the beautiful jewelry worn by our ancestors in old photographs. The locket that was your Great Grandmother's treasure, the pocket watch proudly displayed by a male ancestor, the beautiful crosses of old, and the children with their tiny bracelets. While not many of our ancestors were wealthy enough to own multiple pieces of jewelry, there was the one good piece that held sentimental value. Some of us have been fortunate enough to inherit those treasures. Show us a photograph of your ancestor wearing their "Bling," or photographs of the pieces you have inherited. Admission is free with every photograph!

This edition of “Please Keep These Things” is devoted to the items of jewelry that I have inherited from my mother and grandmother. There are not many, because when my mother died I picked out the pieces of jewelry that I remembered from my childhood and gave the rest of my mother’s jewelry to my Aunt Rene (who did not ask for them but did graciously accept them from me) because she had helped my mother so much through the years. My mother gave the two rings she inherited from my grandmother to me several years before she died.

This “Whispering Leaves” earring and bracelet set was my mother’s favorite set of costume jewelry.

I am pretty sure the jewelry that Mom was wearing in this picture is the Whispering Leaves set. It was taken in Palo Alto, California. We were packing up and getting ready to move up to Renton, Washington to join my father and decided to play Fashion Show. Pierre thought he should be in the show, too, since he was so handsome and photogenic.

Here are the other two pictures I have from our Fashion Show. I do not know what happened to the pearl set in the top picture or the gold chain that can be faintly seen in the bottom picture; they may have been lost in one of our many moves or may have been among the jewelry I gave to Aunt Rene.

This was my mother’s watch; she had this watch when I was a little girl and it is the only watch I remember her having.

These are the two rings my mother inherited from her mother. They are both supposedly emerald rings, but since I have not had them examined, yet, I cannot vouch for that. The one at the top is missing a stone, and the one at the bottom has one stone that is not the same size as the others – I am pretty certain that the smaller stone is original and the two larger ones are replacements. I used to wear the ring, anyway, and that is why there is yarn on it.

Grandma Eula did not collect many possessions, but she did like pretty jewelry, so that is what her children often gave her for Christmas and for her birthday.

This was my mother’s wedding ring set from her marriage to my father.

This was a pin that I picked out to give my mother for Christmas when I was about 8 years old. It is rather gaudy, which I guess reflects an 8-year-old’s taste. My mother always told me how beautiful she thought it was.

To my daughters: I am not sure what instructions I should give to you on keeping or disposing of my own jewelry. I will try to photograph and catalog all items that are especially important to me. If you remember giving it to me, or persuading me to buy it, or you know that your father bought it for me, it is important to me, so please keep it.


  1. You have again been able to pull up some thoughts of mine that haven't been part of my consciousness for awhile. I also purchased some pretty gaudy rhinestone pieces for my Mom for various holidays from the local 5&10 store. Who knows, they are probably worthy to a collector now. Too bad a Pittsburgh landfill their new jewelry box. And secondly, I can remember like it was yesterday, a rhinestone pin in the shape of a crown that my grandmother always wore. I wonder what ever happened to that? I wish I had it.

  2. I'm so glad this struck a note with you - it's amazing the memories that get dredged up by reading something, seeing a picture of something, etc. I'll often see or read something in a blog that will make me remember an event I haven't thought of in 20 years or more. I actually googled "Whispering Leaves" and jewelry and pulled up several hits where people were offering this jewelry set for sale.