The Emotional Connection: how jewellery holds memories and sentiments

Jewellery not only provides an aesthetically pleasing wearable work of art but offers the profound ability to hold memories, meanings, and symbolism which keeps us emotionally and psychologically connected to our loved ones and to ourselves.

Whether a piece of jewellery is gifted, chosen or inherited, each unique piece represents the emotion and poignant reflections present in the moment when it was acquired. These feelings generate an enduring relationship between the jewellery and the wearer over time which can further evolve and develop along with life events, celebrations, and milestones (for example, adding a complimentary piece or stone to an original piece or changing the setting or style to honour a special birthday or event). Equally, after the loss of a loved one, retaining and wearing their jewellery represents a part of them as something which holds their energy. This remembrance can provide much strength, support, and comfort.

Jewellery acts as a constant anchor in our lives, wherever we are, it is with us whether worn or held in mind. As well as being a reminder connecting the wearer to the past and its associations (for example a token of love and commitment, an heirloom, or a gift) it also connects us to the promise and hopes of the future. It can easily remind the wearer of their hopes, dreams, joy, strength, and inspiration associated with it. Looking at, touching, or feeling the jewellery on the body can offer symbolic support and safety, especially when so many other things in life are uncertain. It can help the wearer as well as friends and family around them connect with what is known, safe, constant, and enduring. It is a beautiful and tangible representation of a loved one reflecting the relationship between the loved one and the wearer.

Cultural and spiritual meanings and significance are entwined with the symbolism of jewellery, through the type, cut or origin of the stone (eg. emerald cut Columbian emerald, St Christopher for travellers, brilliant diamond for engagement, type of bracelet closures, charms etc.), how and when it is worn and whatever unique meanings and beliefs are ascribed to it. Meaning can vary between cultures but the choice of jewellery is inherently connected to an individuals’ unique identity and lifestyle, acting as a form of self-expression, personality, & social identity. While some prefer bold and vibrant pieces, others may prefer more delicate understated pieces, or a mix, but each person chooses how and when to wear their jewellery to connect with who they are and how they wish to be seen: for example, a party or cocktail ring, a tie pin, cufflinks, or when showcasing a piercing.

The jewellery owner is empowered by being able to choose when to wear their jewellery pieces, and whether to lend or gift their jewellery to a loved one for a special event (eg. prom ball, wedding etc) The owner can also choose who they wish to inherit their jewellery (eg. mother to daughter) or whether it might be auctioned for charity and provide an ongoing legacy to others.

Jewellery represents an emotional value and investment beyond its cash value, and the gift of jewellery communicates value to the recipient. With the jewellery comes the responsibility and commitment to keep the piece safe, clean, and well maintained to uphold the value it represents. Each time it is worn the person who gifted it feels appreciated and the value of the relationship is reinforced. In this way the jewellery offers a symbolic and shared understanding and communication.  Similarly, honouring a loved one by wearing their jewellery can communicate appreciation and respect for them. Swapping rings or 2 or more people owning something fashioned from the same piece of gold or same type of stone or metal holds symbolism of belonging together.

If someone invests in their own piece of jewellery this symbolises a gift to the self, which provides feelings of uplifting empowerment, self-acknowledgment, and self-value. This could symbolise a milestone or any other significant life event as well as “just because”.

Jewellery also enables connection and communication between people when it is remarked upon and noticed. It can prompt a conversation between strangers about its origin and story which gives a unique depth of insight into the wearer. Prompting curiosity and compliments from others about a piece of jewellery further validates the jewellery wearer that they have a beautiful piece, which is worth remark. The wearer feels valued and acknowledged in the same way they value the jewellery they are wearing.

The aesthetic and design of the jewellery in terms of the colour, settings and style holds the power to further impact the mood of the wearer: a brilliant diamond or vibrant fire opal perhaps eliciting a different mood to an elegant darker stone or black diamond. Jewellery represents a timeless aesthetic which people become very attached to as it feels like an extension of themselves.

For pieces which are not worn daily, each wear is likely to trigger memories and attachment to other times the piece was worn, connecting the wearer with the mood and ambience of those times as part of the unique history of their life. Feelings of certainty, comfort, and security can be evoked which accompany and celebrate life stages, milestones, and special events.

Overall, jewellery is more than the sum of its parts, symbolising meaning, evoking memories, emotion, connection, and attachment. It is empowering for the wearer as a unique form of identity expression of its own and represents personal chapters in the book of their life.

Heart – in – diamond create diamonds from cremated ashes to keep loved ones with us in a tangible way. Here is a link to their site:


Melanie Phelps

Melanie Phelps Portrait

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