I've never owned a piece of jewelry that had an ounce of worldly value. I'll never have any stories about trading in the family jewels to save the house. But ask me about my all-time favorite necklace and I'll describe the plastic Oreo cookie with a bite taken out of it, on a leather string, a reward for a good third grade report card. Or the egg with a chick peeping out from the cracks, strung on chord, or the hand painted driftwood mouse. I barely remember anything else, anything bought in a jewelry store.
So maybe that's why I love thrift store jewelry, second-hand, or third, or fourth. Things buried deep in yard sale bins, sealed up in baggies, in the back of the case near the cashier at Goodwill. It's almost as if you're adopting them, becoming part of their story. In one case, it's a story I know-the snake belt was my Mom's, her gift to me. The rest are anonymous, but make suggestions all the time, of seventies fondue parties, of a sweater-set teenager's high school graduation, braless young women in turtlenecks at a Women's Lib rally, long nailed fingers holding cigarettes at a Ladies Luncheon. Cliches, of course, as most suggestions are. Someday, maybe, someone will wear my own silver charm bracelet, read the charms, and make up a story of her own.