Wednesday, December 12, 2012

jewellery? what jewellery?

As some of you know, in May I was lucky enough to visit India.
One or two chance conversations, and the fact that I was wearing an antique Indian silver bracelet purchased years ago, led to this photo.
A typically busy, dusty, Indian road. An unremarkable ramshackle jumble of buildings. 
A hidden jewellery shop.
Past all the beautiful precious stones and the gold, which were downstairs, and hugely more important as status symbols in Indian culture.
Up a rickety staircase, and into the back room.
Through the gloom, and the dust, I found these bowls. Literal dumping grounds for old tribal jewellery that had been pawned long ago.
At the time I snapped this photo and sent it to a friend.
I had found all the treasure a girl could ever want, especially if, like me, the story behind a piece of jewellery is part of the charm.
This part of India is in the desert and very poor.
When times are tough, they are very tough, and desperate times call for desperate measures.
Jewellery is currency, and food on the table, and so it is pawned for money.
If it is not reclaimed after one year and one day it may be onsold.
And much of this had been there significantly longer than that.
Sensing trouble for his wallet & a long wait, Brunnel wearily accepted a Coca Cola.
Just like an apple tea in Turkey, refreshments are part of doing business in India!
I sipped on a Limca while I played with the bracelets and necklaces and cuffs, the guys in the store patiently explaining the approximate ages of the pieces, and the meaning of the amulets.
Tentatively I asked for some prices. (Brunnel & I had already had to extricate ourselves from some over enthusiastic pricing in Jaipur, so I wasn't going to get too excited just yet!)
Each piece is sold by the weight of the silver. I selected the pieces I liked,
each was weighed and a price determined.
If I could have, I'd have bought everything.
What to leave? What to take?
It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I think it probably was.
Brunnel had a brilliant plan.  Buy some for me & some for the store. Sell them, and help pay for my trip. (It helps to let him think he came up with the idea, especially if it involves him paying.)

To cut a long story short, I brought my selected treasures home.
And since then, those in the know have asked where they are. Wondered about them. Asked some more. Stopped asking. Tentatively asked.
Brunnel thinks he was conned. (Again)
And where are they?
Well. In a bag in the bottom of my wardrobe of course.
I get them out. Look at them. Love them.
Put most of them away again.
Some have stayed almost permanently on my arm.
But, the time is nigh. Reluctantly I have to remember that I can't possibly keep them all & part with a few at least.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. But I'll take them into the store later this week.
There - I've said it now. I'll have to follow through!

 Amanda xx
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  1. What treasure and a wonderful story. Gee Brunnel comes up with some great ideas :)

  2. They are spectacular and I love all the details of the story behind them You should keep as many as you can!

  3. Ha ha I don't blame you not wanting to part with them! Sigh I bet they'll all be snapped up by the time I make it to Wellington - mind you that is probably a good thing as far as my husband is concerned. I hope the lead up Christmas is treating you well. Best, Annie x

  4. Oh so difficult to part with, especailly with such a lovely story attached.
    I often think I should get rid of some things on ebay but can't do it! maybe when I can't move around my flat I will be forced to! x

  5. I love a good story. Old jewels are WAY more charming and fun than new old shop up a back staircase in India...yes please.

  6. Ooooooh goody, cant wait to have a look at these treasures, there must be something for me.

  7. You write such a lovely story! Such beautiful treasures.

  8. Make sure you post some pics on FB, or somewhere we 'out-of-towners' can see them. I'd love to see which you chose. x

  9. If you sell them to loyal customers, you'll still be able to exclaim over them when they come in adorning fingers and arms.

  10. Again I wish I was a local in your neck of the woods.

    I know what I would ask for for Christmas.


    xo Jane

  11. At least you got to 'own' them for a while and play with them. They are amazing pieces, they look as though they have mystery to them, stories that we'll never know.

  12. You are so cute...I would be the same way..Love silver jewelry. Pure joy. oxox Happy weekend


Let me know your thoughts. I love receiving your comments! Thanks for visiting. Kind wishes, Amanda xx

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