Sunday, 26 March 2017

It belonged to a Venetian Doge

It didn't last long, that liking for the new bracelet (or bangle - I'm not completely sure what the difference is - bangles are always solid, I suppose). Within days, I was struggling to love it and bond with it, because, if I were honest with myself, I really didn't like anything on my wrists, and never had since childhood. Of course, I'd wanted my first watch badly. But I hated the feeling of it against my skin, and of having a tight band around my wrist all the time. This love-hate relationship with wrist-worn items lasted for decades. It was one of the reasons why I didn't wear a watch much after retirement, except - for a couple of years - an expensive one bought chiefly as a piece of jewellery. And after that, a cheap but practical one. And then I gave up wearing one at all.

Such items might look arrestingly decorative; they might even have a huge WOW factor. But I always found the feel of them irritating. Or they stopped me doing rough or mucky things, like garden work. Or they were in constant danger of getting damaged in one way or another. Whatever the reason - and the sensation of having a torniquet on my wrist was reason enough - it was no good. I'd sooner or later have to admit that wrist things and myself simply did not mix well. And that, despite having an ongoing interest in jewellery generally, it would save me money - and disappointment - to stay away from jeweller's shops.

But clearly the lesson has not yet been learned. I still let myself be seduced. So now another £280 wasted. That would buy twenty-three nights' pitching at the farm I've been staying on for the last four days. Or fifty gallons of diesel, enough to fuel Fiona for 1,150 miles of towing dutes. I've been silly.

My local Sussex friends will sigh over this one, and try to persuade me that I haven't given the latest acquisition enough of a chance. They will say a woman needs something on her wrist. Both wrists. More than one item, at that. Multiple bangles, like Jo wears. Plus everything else - on one or more fingers, around the neck, and hooked into ear lobes. But I will stand fast on putting comfort and practicality before decoration. There is nothing wrong in having a down-to-earth farmer's wife attitude to glitter.

And although the right stuff most definitely looks good, if not fabulous, nice pieces of jewellery are no substitute for a kind and caring nature, or an attractive liveliness, or a confident self-assurance. It's great if you have all those qualities and can successfully show off glitter to die for; but bling doesn't trump personality.

I speak for myself, obviously. But I left the new bracelet at home, and yet was still a hit with complete strangers at the Slimming World meeting a few evenings ago in Axminster. So whatever they found interesting about me, it didn't depend on a silver bangle on my wrist.

All this sounds like heresy, doesn't it? Surely It's essential for a woman to wear distinctive, eye-catching jewellery? Well, I'm not asking anybody to copy me. I do however think it's a sound principle to 'keep things very simple', and the now-hackneyed phrase 'less is more' still seems very apt here.

That said, I'm certain that at some point in the future I will again succomb to temptation and buy something new. I will steer away from bracelets. Clearly that would be wasting my money. But, even though I'm constant and faithful to my core collection of silver rings and my silver necklace, I do hanker after one or two things that, if they ever come within my reach, I will yearn for. One is an antique ring, with a large stone or cameo. I recall watching an early episode of the 1990 TV series Portrait of a Marriage, about the life of Vita Sackville-West. In that, someone - I think it is her lesbian girlfriend Violet Keppel, but it is possibly a man - notices the large and interesting ring on her finger, and asks her about it. She replies: 'It's very old, and once belonged to a Venetian Doge'. Gosh, that stuck in my mind. I'd love to own such a ring, wear it often, and be able to say that! Well then, that's what I should really be aspiring to.


  1. I have never liked wearing rings or bracelets for any extended time but do occasionally dress up for an event. Yesterday a ring came off as soon as I was heading home in the car and you have done well to remind me that it is in one of the compartments before my memory goes blank...

    I owned a watch briefly when needing to reach important appointments or when on limited time parking, again it only stayed on when needed and has been lost in the house for over twenty years!

    I remember buying an expensive but perfect bottle opener for removing wine corks. The first few corks haunted me as each represented more than the bottle of wine cost but as the numbers of use rose each use reduced until I could just enjoy using the device. Roll out the bracelet for enjoying on special occasions and forget the price paid...

    Happy holiday.

  2. You clearly enjoyed wearing your old bracelet from time to time, so may I sound a note of caution here? Your new bracelet is a fine piece of jewellery and a worthy replacement for the old one. Wearing it on a few special occasions, such as meals with friends, may help you to look upon it more kindly.

  3. Runners talk about "the wall," that invisible barrier which separates pain and agony from the joy and delight of a good run. Breaking through "the wall" requires persistence. Perhaps there is also a jewelry wall and what is required of the wearer is to stick at wearing the desired bangle(s) for extended periods of time until wearing it becomes the new normal.


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