One day, I noticed my husband, Mike, peering intently at my necklace holder, letting the chains pool in his palm as he tested the weight.
“Uhh whatcha doing?” I asked, keeping close watch.
“Oh,” he replied casually, “I think I want to start wearing a chain, so I was just seeing what you had.”
The nerve! As if I were a common mall stand selling jewelry!
But listen: I am nothing if not a benevolent jewelry collector. In fact, had I not been trying to parse out his taste for years so I could justify buying more jewelry? Reader, I had.
Mike came to the relationship with a camo-strap watch of no particular make and a religious necklace handed down through the males in his family, despite having no real attachment to religion. It has a dove on it and is actually quite lovely. So yes, during the intervening years of our affiliation, I may have prod and pushed to see what caught his fancy. A sparkly gentlemen’s ring? No, not for him. But a subtle signet with a meaningful Latin phrase? Jackpot. It helps that his pinky is the same size as my ring finger. (Helps me, just to be clear.)
The funniest thing is that I am not very sentimental, despite sentiment being the “traditional” female characteristic in relationships, but Mike very much is. So, while I pondered over architectural-provoking designs for him, turned out all he wanted was something that reminded him of me, or his favorite band, or our cats.
This means he would not be sated until he found a colorful glass bead necklace much like the one once worn by Damon Albarn, of the British band Blur. Luckily, while I have no great feelings one way or the other towards Blur (don’t @ me, they’re fine!), I love a pop of color and frequently steal it to layer with some gold chains.
Another shared piece: an odd little knife pendant he bought for me in a now defunct antique store in Cold Spring, NY. For me, it was a weird little mystery to be solved. (Masonic?) But when he wears it, he thinks of me, and the cold day we wandered around the little town, winter hats pulled low over ears and noses red-tipped.
My one moment of sentiment resides within a golden articulated jaw charm, chomping away at any fingers that come too close. He likes its oddness and borderline morbidity. It reminds me of my mom. (She was a dental assistant, not a cannibal.)
Chains are the easiest to thing to share, once you’ve pegged down everyone’s aesthetic. I like a vintage chain with unique links, and convinced Mike he did too, so that’s what I tend to shop for.
Really, all jewelry can be unisex if you desire it to be so, but here are some pieces that can work for literally anyone, and can be shared within any couple. Maybe you’ll find your own happy marriage of design and sentiment.
Shop your own:
Vintage Antique 18KT 750 Yellow Gold Turkish Knife Ornate Pendant Charm
Vintage 10k Gold with Enamel Matchstick Pendant Charm, Gold Match Necklace
Vintage Agate Figa 18K Yellow Gold Pendant Charm
Antique Roman coin pendant, 14k yellow gold
Vintage 1970’s Solid 9ct Gold & Enamel Masonic Order of the Eastern Star Pendant
9ct Gold Belcher Chain With 15ct Clasp – 24 Inches
Unisex Vintage Bear Signet Ring
Chevron Ostrich Egg Shell Necklace
(or make your own! Elastic cord & glass beads)
You can follow Jenn –> @bellflowerbay