A Legacy of Pearls

This is a story of pearls.

When I was in my late twenties, a friend I worked with got an opportunity to go to China. This was not a usual occurrence at that time, and she asked me if I would like her to pick up some pearls while she was there.

“How much are they?” I asked. She wasn’t sure but she thought she could get me a really good strand for $500 or so. I told her I really loved the baroque style of pearls and a pink hue would be awesome.

“Baroque, huh?” she said, “Well, then maybe $400.” Done!

The pearls and 80’s hair – always a classic combination!

She brought back a strand of the most beautiful, lustrous, and baroque pearls and it was long enough to drape around my neck twice over. I wore them frequently, with business suits, dress up, whatever!

Then Dan and I got engaged and I decided I would like to wear them on my wedding day. My mother had done some jewelry making in the late 70s and had ground a large, oval opal herself and gave it to me as a birthday present. My husband and I discussed it and decided to have the jeweler who was creating our custom wedding rings look at it and see if he could create a strand enhancer for my Chinese pearls that would protect the opal and coordinate with the calla lily theme that was emerging from my engagement ring design and the pearl and gold earrings Dan was having made for me. Brian was up to the challenge and created a gold and pave diamond enhancer that was perfect!

Decades went by, and our older daughter was graduating from college. I had an inspiration that led me to have my pearls restrung, holding out two of the most perfect for Brian to make into earrings as her graduation present. They turned out great!

In 2017, our younger daughter got engaged and I was again inspired to take two more pearls from my string to create her wedding earrings. She had an elaborate gown and the simple, shining pearls at her ears were a lovely accent for her special day.

Our older daughter then got engaged and I thought again about those pearls. She had the earrings from her college graduation, but since she had chosen a very simple gown for her Spring 2018 wedding, would a matching necklace work?

It would, and while we were at it, I asked Brian Hoover of Avant Garde Jewelers (Still our jeweler thirty plus years later and the source of our older daughter’s engagement ring!) to look at my wedding necklace one more time and see if he could mount the opal on two single strands of pearls with a simple clasp. My plan was to wear my wedding jewelry for my daughters’ weddings and with the successive gifts of pearls, it was no longer as comfortable as a strand enhancer. Brian was up to the challenge, and there were enough pearls left over with the change to make a simple bracelet of them, as well. It was a lovely memory for me and a meaningful way to share the pearls along with my wishes for happiness in both of their marriages.

WeddingPearlsPanel

My wedding, Dani’s wedding, Devin’s wedding…and the pearls continue! Photography by Wayne Long, Teale Photography, and Amanda Pomilla Photography.

My hope is that these will be heirlooms they will treasure and pass on to their daughters or granddaughters.

This is how legacy works, right?

You invest time, talent and treasure in something you feel passionate about. You pass that on and they pass that on, and someday many decades from now, a square-chinned young woman with bright eyes and a blinding smile may be touched when she wears these old and treasured pearls that the women in her family wore on their wedding days. I do love that image and perhaps she will wear them for her wedding and continue the chain of wonderful marriages. You never know!

Here’s to heirlooms and may they travel down the ages, bringing delight and memories of time past into the future.

 

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After the Weddings…

_Ogg-Wedding-0253SmI wrote about Weddings, Finances and Your Kids not so long ago, and now that the second of our two daughters has concluded her nuptials (last night!), I thought I would check back in with some of the takeaways from these experiences.

As I mentioned in that post, we gave our daughters the money that we planned to spend on each of their weddings, and the choices that went along with that gift. No strings were attached, other than that we expected to be there to see them wed. Continue reading

Weddings, Finances & Your Kids

1986-10-4-wedding-14It’s a whole new world out there for those of us who have children of marrying age.

Many of our kids are holding off to marry after their education is completed or they have some work experience, and a whole new dynamic has emerged for us that may make old customs or “rules of etiquette” functionally obsolete. Continue reading

Saying No to the Dress

Wedding DressI have been writing songs for the first time in my life, and one that has struck a surprising chord with listeners is called, “Wedding Dress.” It is about a woman who gives her wedding dress away on her 50th anniversary because she and her husband know that, “It’s not the dress, that’s the most important part.”

I wrote “Wedding Dress” in response to two things that were going on in my life.

My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary last year and my daughters were somewhat addicted to “Say Yes to the Dress” on reality TV. I watched the program with them a few times (it was doing a marathon of shows!) and was appalled to see young women and their mothers making such emotional and costly decisions. They were spending thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars on a gown that would likely see the light of day just once. I could only assume that this was just the tip of the financial iceberg and that the bride’s family was investing heavily in this event on every front.

It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with my girls about the reality of weddings. The reality is, that although you want a memorable and enjoyable time for both you and your guests…it isn’t really about the day.

It’s about the marriage.

Face it; the most gorgeous, expensive wedding in the world will not create a lasting marriage. The people getting married do that, and their focus should be on that long-term relationship, rather than the extremely ephemeral event. To start that process off right, they should discuss their expectations before getting married at all. If they are not on the same page in values, visions of their future and the things they expect from each other in everything from fidelity to finances…they are off to a rocky start from the beginning.

The other thing they should discuss is their (or their parents’) budget when it comes to a wedding, and how much they truly want to spend. After all, you don’t want your family’s longest lasting memory of your wedding to be the credit card bills!

Continue reading