In June 2012 we were burgled, of all the things taken it was the sentimental jewellery that hit me the hardest, even to this day I still find it upsetting when I think about what was taken. A few pieces that were essentially worthless but meant the world to me for it was WHO they belonged to that was important.
The stack of empty boxes still sits in my bedroom on a shelf as to dispose of them is to admit finally that the contents have gone.
I could write a whole post on how useless the police and then insurance company were, some items were found in a local jewellers but the ineptitude of the police meant that there was a delay in getting to the shop to formally identify them, by this time the shop had gone and they were lost again. The insurance company appointed loss adjustors who dragged their heels constantly, lost paperwork and when I finally agreed settlement it was for much less but I was just desperate for it all to end.
So when the cheque did finally arrive, what to do with the money? Somewhere along this whole sorry journey I had the idea of commissioning pieces. I could never replace the items (and in fact for some of them my memory was not good enough to remember precise details). My idea was instead to take elements from the jewellery and have pieces that represented key elements. By commissioning items, I could make them unique to me
First of all, I contacted the wonderfully talented Belinda of Wild Acre Jewellery. She lives near to me, so planning was easy and it is always a pleasure to visit her barn for consultations. Many of the items were rings that had been passed down to me, I had seen Belinda’s stackable rings which had a simplicity that I really liked.
Over the summer months a series of rings were made, each one more delightful. At one time it had been planned to wear them as a stack, but actually I prefer them separately. One of my pleasures is choosing which ring to wear each day. My idea worked – each piece does signify an item that was lost, but they have become more than this and have their own value as well.
Apart from the rings, there were a number of smaller items – earrings, pendants etc. There was also a sovereign (the most valuable item and my least worn due to its bling value) that had been on my nana’s charm bracelet. Then an idea pinged – why don’t I have a charm bracelet and again, choose charms to represent these other items. The person do this was obvious …. the incredibly skilled Emma at Silverpebble. I had been on her silver clay workshops (and the items I made had been part of the burglars haul) and knew her skill at being able to construct detail in silver. So, the emails and planning started. After much deliberation (on my part) on the clasp and bracelet, all was finalised and I waited patiently for Emma to do her magic.
I was not disappointed – the final piece is a joy. Each charm has a significance to me, and like the rings the bracelet has become much more than I could have hoped for.
Firstly commissioning jewellery is the most wonderful process. We have so much talent locally and the final piece is so much better than something that has been mass produced. It has been a real pleasure to be part of process.
Secondly, photograph all your jewellery (and other precious items), insurance companies are weasels. Store these images somewhere safe and I trust that you never need them.