Saturday, 11 March 2017

Another year, another new silver bangle

Yesterday was pretty good. After pilates in the morning, Jo, Valerie, Sue and myself (Jackie was away with her husband Kevin, somewhere in the Midlands, on their narrow boat) had lunch in Ditchling at a newish place called The Green Welly. We tried it out last month, and it was just as enjoyable this time, and clearly very popular. Just as well that we had booked a table! Val and Sue departed first. Jo and I had more coffee, and played some rummy with her little pack of cards. It was all very relaxing.

The Green Welly is at the crossroads in the centre of Ditchling, a place well-known for its serious arts and crafts - in fact a centre of excellence in that respect for well over a hundred years. The village has a modern, state-of-the-art museum devoted entirely to printing and artworks, with an emphasis on devotional subjects. This was originally all about finding Christian salvation through art and design.

Diagonally opposite our lunchtime venue was a posh jewellers called Pruden and Smith (see Jo had asked them to give some of her earrings and a damaged bangle a redesign, and wanted to pop in during the afternoon to see the results. This we did.

I was keen to see the inside of this shop, because I was in the market for a new hinged silver bracelet or bangle. It had to be hinged, because the size of my hands ruled out getting a regular bracelet or bangle over the width of my palm.

I did in fact already have a well-loved hinged silver bangle, bought from Hi Ho Silver in Dorchester in September 2009 for £120. It had been my usual daytime right-wrist adornment for nearly five years up to August 2014, when the spring that kept it closed on my wrist got so weak with use that it was unsafe to wear it any further until repaired. Here it is, in its last days before being put away. Look carefully (click on the pictures to enlarge them) and you can see it in these 2014 pictures of me, sitting with casual strangers at Exbury Gardens in Hampshire, and at a friend's in Brighton, delighted with a surprise birthday cake:

Jo had recommended Pruden and Smith for the repair work. Yesterday's visit was a chance to assess their suitability. I was convinced.

But I still wanted another piece to wear on one of my wrists, having worn nothing at all for over two years. I felt I was lacking an important accessory! So while Jo was examining the results of the redesign with Anton Pruden, and then settling up, I cast my eye around. And I saw a most attractive set of modern hinged bangles in highly-polished sterling silver. You wouldn't guess at a casual glance that they were hinged. The fact was quite well disguised. Two of them were straightforward ovals, but one - more substantial than the other two, and clearly unusual  - was designed to look like a band with a twist in it. Jo urged me to try it on.

Oh yes. It looked lovely! The price was £280. Should I?

Well, it was a quality piece with a 'different' but graceful design. The intriguing twist reminded me of a Möbius Strip. (See It wasn't really any such thing but, nevertheless, was definitely inspired by one. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that I'd got a single-surfaced topological curiosity on my wrist.

I'd not seen anything quite like this before. It looked fabulous, and the craftsmanship was beyond reproach. I found the thing most appealing.

Well, cutting to the chase, did I whip out my credit card? I did. I'd already decided to look around for something distinctive in the way of jewellery while on my West Country Tour. Now I had it in the bag before departure, and could wow all of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset with it. Or at least the ladies at the Slimming World group meetings I'd be attending down there.

Back home that evening, I took some photos. here they are.

The piece wasn't held closed by mere spring pressure. There was a proper catch, working by pressing down on this button:

The bangle then hinged apart:

I liked the look of that hinge: it seemed well-designed, well-made, and likely to last:

Now was that some sort of hallmark on the inside of the bangle (two o'clock from the hinge in the shot just above)? I put my camera on macro and got in as close as possible, trusting the auto focus to give me a sharp rendition, subject to the risk of slight camera-shake from hand-holding the camera in subdued indoor evening light. This was the best of the shots taken:

I tried again next morning:

These were cropped shots, effectively giving me a lot more magnification than my 4x or 7x jeweller's loups could.

It seemed to be LUM 925, with some kind of indistinct other mark, a logo or similar. LUM? The maker, certainly. Then it struck me that this bangle had my name on it. LU was LUcy. And the M was Melford. Well, how about that?

I slept with the bangle on last night. It remained comfortable. In principle I'd like to keep it on 24/7, as I do with my rings. It's ended up on my left wrist, where I would wear a wrist watch. It's common female practice to wear a single bangle on the right wrist, but it felt better and more natural on my left wrist. (Oddly enough, the other, older bangle had always been worn on my right wrist)

I hope we get on well. I want this new bangle to become as loved and cherished as the other pieces I wear either all the time, or at least every day, all of them silver. Such things can with time become essential companions - part of one's personal and recognisable 'look'. It doesn't always work out, of course. Last year I bought a silver bracelet that seemed an exact match for the beloved thick silver necklace that is my standard wear outside the house, the one that looks like a slow-worm. Even down to the hooked catch. They seemed absolutely made for each other - or so I thought. But the bracelet never felt quite right. It was too heavy. I gave it to Jo in the end, who loves it to bits. So it's found its proper home.

Well, let's hope this new bangle settles in better! Time will tell. Readers can ponder future photographs, and see whether or not we have bonded.

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