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Heirloom Stories - Mother's Charm Bracelet

polly weinstein

Charm Bracelet

I want to tell you a story about my most treasured piece of jewelry. Of all the diamonds I've worn in my lifetime, all the fabulous opals and sparkling sapphires my father has allowed me to borrow or has given to me as a gift - nothing compares to this charm bracelet. 

This charm bracelet belonged to my grandmother on my father's side, who I'm named after. My dad started it for her in 1967 - just a few years after he left Detroit to come to Las Vegas. He cherished his mother and was very sad to leave her back East. The inscription on the large charm with the הי reads "To the greatest mother in the world. Love, Yenkel 5-14-67" Yenkel is my father's Hebrew name. The other charms have inscriptions of all her children's names and their children's names. My dad filled it up as babies were born until she passed. I was born a few years later.

I'm not sure how it happened that my dad waited 28 years to give it to me - I think he put it away for safe keeping and forgot about it. One day, we were in his office together looking at jobs and he came upon an envelope with my name on it. He poured it out into his hand - it made such a wonderful jangling noise - and his eyes welled up with tears. "Here, this belongs to you" and he slipped it on my wrist.

I wear it most days and always when I need to feel strong. It reminds me where I came from, of all the love supporting me and the sacrifices my dad made to create a life for our family. 💗

I want to hear your Heirloom Story! Send me an email with a story and a clear photo of your most treasured family heirloom and I might just share it here or on Instagram. My hope is to one day put together a coffee table book (and a booming instagram account) of treasured family heirlooms  - so please, if you're so inclined, share your story with me. I'd love to hear it!

polly weinstein

The ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun.” Associated with light, the gem-quality olivine is traditionally said to ward off terror and demons. In modern times, the peridot’s vivid electric-green hue makes it the perfect summer adornment. No need to be born in August. 

Mentioned in the Bible under the name of Chrysolite, Peridot has been mined as a gemstone for thousands of years. Earliest recorded production dates back to 70 A.D., from St. Johns Island in the Red Sea, off the coast of Egypt. But peridot’s allure dates back even further. Some historians believe Cleopatra’s famous “emerald” collection may have in fact been peridot. The 200 carats worth of gems in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral shrine of the Three Holy Kings were long thought to be emeralds—they are peridots. 

Unlike emeralds, peridots can come from truly exotic locales. The mineral silicate can be found in lava and Pallasite meteorites. A famous Pallasite was auctioned in 2008 with a requested price of nearly $3 million at Bonhams, but remained unsold.

One of the world’s only single-color gemstones, peridot’s olive-green color depends on the amount of iron contained in its crystal structure. The largest cut peridot is 310 carats and is housed in the Smithsonian. Peridots of two or three carats are expensive, and a fine eight-carat stone is considered extremely rare. 

Most of the earliest known peridot gems came from St. Johns Island, and small amounts of material are still being produced from there today. Today, the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona produces 80-95 percent of the world’s peridot, where exclusive mining rights are held by various Apache families. Peridot olivine is also mined in Arkansas, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and in Australia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Brazil, China, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.

In addition, to being the August birthstone, peridot is the traditional 16th wedding anniversary gift. But there’s no need to wait for sixteen years to enjoy a historic gem that reflects such light and beauty.

When You've Got Nothing

polly weinstein

I am mourning a great loss and it hasn't gotten much easier. I lost most of my clothes in the fire back in February. Ever since, I've felt a little less like myself - some days, a lot less. Dressing up was kind of my thing for a while there. My wardrobe, which I had been building since I was 16 was a big part of my identity, and I'd never even given a second thought to it. A handmade dress that reminded me of a flea market I visited in college. An Isabel Marant blazer I bought myself for my birthday one year. All those dresses I elbowed my way to at sample sales when I lived in New York. All the amazing things I found thrifting back East. The "Fuck You" shoes my mom bought me after a boy broke my heart. All gone. And irreplaceable to boot.

When it came to rebuilding my wardrobe, I was and still am so overwhelmed. I lived in black leggings for the first two months! If you had to choose from anything in the world, any item of clothing in the retail universe to replace long loved pieces - where would you begin? I figured, I couldn't go wrong in starting with some style staples (See Below).

One thing I feel compelled to share from this experience is the importance of having adequate insurance for your belongings.   That means photographing everything you own, having an inventory of it, and being insured for what it would cost to replace EVERY LAST THING - including the items in your pantry, your cleaning supplies, literally everything - so that you're fully covered in case of emergency. I did have renters insurance, but definitely not enough to cover the replacement value of everything I owned - all of which was lost in the fire. Make sure you're insured for that inventoried amount, or you'll be having to make the hard decisions of what you can and can't afford to replace. I didn't think it could happen to me, but it did and it can happen to you too. 

What would you replace first if you lost everything? Do you identify with your clothing items like they're old friends too? Have you ever had to start from scratch? I'm finding its a more common story than I thought. Tell me about your story in the comments. 

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Calvin Klein Sports Bra and Briefs - www.calvinklein.com

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Adidas Original Superstars - www.adidas.com

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Reformation Slip Dress - www.thereformation.com

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American Apparel Mid-Length Dress - www.americanapparel.com

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Modern Vice Snake Boots - www.modernvice.com

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Vintage Levi's Cutoffs - Exile Boutique

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Knyew Camo Sweatshirt - www.knyew.com