Jewelry!!

I figured that my love for jewelry may be a bit more than your average person when I realized that I not only love wearing it everyday (and honestly feel naked if I leave home without it), but I also have it displayed in almost every room in my home.  Why only enjoy it while you have it on only to be tucked away into a box at the end of the day?  Why not keep some pieces out to be looked at and admired? 

I was thinking about how my love for wearing jewelry began and I realized I started wearing it on a daily basis from the time I was a baby, far before my memory can recall.  I went on a quest through my old pictures to try and get to the source of this great love.  I quickly realized it all started with a pair of very special gold bracelets.  It’s a pair of bracelets I received from my grandparents.  Just in case you thought I was exaggerating about wearing jewelry everyday, starting literally before I could even sit up on my own, take a look at the pictures I found below.  Not that I want to bombard you with my old baby pictures, but I just want to prove my point so you can get a true sense of the connection I've had with jewelry from an early age. 

Top Left:   Months old and being propped up with pillows.  I couldn't sit up on my own but that didn't stop me from wearing my bracelets.   Top Right:   This picture was taken on my first birthday.   Bottom Left:   Admiring my new bag.   Bottom Right:   Chilling out on the kitchen table.  In every picture I have from the age of just a few months old through age five or six, I literally wore those bracelets everyday!

Top Left:  Months old and being propped up with pillows.  I couldn't sit up on my own but that didn't stop me from wearing my bracelets.  Top Right:  This picture was taken on my first birthday.  Bottom Left:  Admiring my new bag.  Bottom Right:  Chilling out on the kitchen table.  In every picture I have from the age of just a few months old through age five or six, I literally wore those bracelets everyday!


My parents are from Guyana in South America.  Guyana is known for its gold found deep in the rainforest or, as my grandfather would say “the bush”.  The country of Guyana is 70% rainforest and is also called the land of many waters.  There is a lot of bush to navigate and rivers to sift in order to get to that gold.  My grandfather’s career was that of a Guyana gold miner as well as a buyer and seller of gold and diamonds.  Those gold bracelets I grew up wearing were and still are very special because my grandfather helped mine the gold that made them. 

Top Left:   A map of the mining areas throughout Guyana.   Bottom Left:   Mount Roraima spans through the rainforest of Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil.   Bottom Right:   Kaieteur Falls is the world's widest single drop waterfall.  Located on the Potaro River in Essequibo, Guyana.  

Top Left:  A map of the mining areas throughout Guyana.  Bottom Left:  Mount Roraima spans through the rainforest of Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil.  Bottom Right:  Kaieteur Falls is the world's widest single drop waterfall.  Located on the Potaro River in Essequibo, Guyana.  


I only stopped wearing those bracelets everyday once I started school because of an incident that happened when I was in Pre-K.  A girl at my school, let’s call her the bully, demanded that I give her one of my bracelets one day during recess.  I remember giving it to her then running off to tell the teacher.  The girl ended up throwing it down outside in the schoolyard, I assume so she wouldn’t get caught with it.  We never did find my bracelet and boy was my mother upset.  She went to the school to complain but nothing could really be done about it.  One of my bracelets was gone forever never to be seen again.  As you can see in the picture below, I continued to wear my one bracelet but once it was time for me to start school, my mom decided to not let me wear it anymore fearing that I would lose the remaining one.

Me with my mom and dad wearing my one remaining bracelet.

Me with my mom and dad wearing my one remaining bracelet.


A few years ago while visiting my parents I found my bracelet in a box with some old pictures and decided to bring it home with me.  It now holds a special place in what I call the tchotchke (chach-ki) cabinet in my living room.  This is my special cabinet that not only holds books, but also many of the items that are near and dear to me.

Top and Bottom Right:   A picture frame given to me by a former student of mine with my bracelet hooked onto the corner.  The picture is of me learning how to walk and yes of course I am wearing my bracelets. 

Top and Bottom Right:  A picture frame given to me by a former student of mine with my bracelet hooked onto the corner.  The picture is of me learning how to walk and yes of course I am wearing my bracelets. 

Wide shot of the shelf in my cabinet.

Wide shot of the shelf in my cabinet.


The other room where I have jewelry displayed is my bedroom.  I went to the Big Flea Market last year; It’s an antique flea market usually in Washington DC but they travel to NYC (at Pier 94 in Manhattan), several times a year.  They have furniture, art, home décor and yes, JEWELRY! 

I went with my friend Eric who is also an interior designer.  We were loving absolutely everything in that place; like two kids in a candy store.  Some of the art I have in my home was purchased there that day, which was the real point of me going in the first place, but then we came across a table with antique jewelry from Turkey, Afghanistan and other countries in that region. I should have kept walking since we were there to purchase home décor but I couldn’t help myself.  I had to stop and take a look.  This booth had it all, bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earrings that were pure silver with all kids of gemstones.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up buying a bracelet and a ring made of silver with turquoise and coral. 

I spent way more than I normally would spend on jewelry (thanks to the encouragement of Eric and the salesman) but I must say they do look amazing on me.  I wear them both a lot but thought it was an absolute shame to hide it in a box once I took them off so I decided to display the bracelet in my bedroom along with other large cuff bracelets I own.

The final room where jewelry is displayed is the bathroom.  Everyday I would come home, take off whichever pieces I wore that day, then place it on top of the basket next to my sink.  Finally, after getting tired of seeing my rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets always in a pile on top of this basket, I decided to get a jewelry holder to hang in the empty space on the wall that needed to be filled anyway.  Why not hang my jewelry and have it be the art in the bathroom?

The design lesson for you all is to feel free to experiment with cool and creative ways to display your favorite pieces of jewelry throughout your home.  Whether it’s on a shelf, hanging on the wall, or whatever unique idea you can come up with, jewelry is just too pretty to hide after you take it off.  Your favorites should always be out to enjoy.

So I guess I have my grandfather to thank for my love of jewelry since he made sure I was adorned and blinged out from an early age.  I think it must run in my blood, stemming straight from "the bush" where my grandfather would mine for that Guyana gold.

My dad and my grandfather Denzel Hamblin.

My dad and my grandfather Denzel Hamblin.


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