c o n t e m p l a t i o n s a n d i n s p i r a t i o n s o f a n a r t i s a n j e w e l r y d e s i g n e r

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Meet Jenny

Hi! I’m Jenny Kaplan and as an intern for Judith I will be her guest blogger for the month of May. I am a senior at Greensboro Day School and will be heading to Brown University next fall. I love the arts and enjoy participating in plays and singing groups at school.

As seniors at Greensboro Day, we spend our last month of school doing an internship in whatever area we choose in order to gain a meaningful experience in the working world prior to graduation. I chose to work for Judith (and luckily for me she agreed!) and have now been introduced to the fascinating world of Judith Altman Designs.

Though I have always appreciated the beauty of Judith’s designs, I don’t think I really grasped the meaning of each piece. Not only do many of the pieces I have seen include antique talismans blessing the wearer, but also the stones themselves are put together in a way that creates a unique energy. While I intend on writing about many of these fascinating antiques and stones during my time here, I thought I would start by talking about the symbolism behind a gem that has always been special to me: the pearl.

I distinctly remember my mother giving me a pair of pearl earrings when I was 11 or 12 that she was given during her childhood. Every time I put those earrings on (which is quite frequently because they seem to go with everything!) I am reminded of the earrings’ previous stories, of my mother’s adolescence in Detroit, Michigan, and of the additional stories I add to the earrings’ history with each wearing.

Pearls historically have been symbols of beauty, femininity, fertility, and rebirth. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, love, and sexual desires, rose out of the sea in a clam shell wearing only pearls. Contrastingly, pearls have also been historic symbols of purity and innocence. Ancient Romans had a fascination for pearls and believed they had medicinal and protective attributes while the ancient Chinese believed pearls symbolized wisdom, immortality, and light.

To me, pearls have always lived up to their reputation, filling me with a happy, distinctly girly energy that seems perfect to wear during our current beautiful spring weather. More significant than this energy, however, is the meaning I feel from my pearl earrings. Meaning is more valuable than just the attractiveness of a piece of jewelry and I think that is why I am fascinated by so many of the pieces Judith showed me yesterday during my orientation. Each piece has a unique story, energy, and feel making it more than a pretty adornment into a story that is ready to be furthered by a new wearer.

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