The Holiday Traditions of Jewelry

As this year’s holiday season approaches, there’s a lot to look forward to. For many of us, it means being reunited with family and friends who we’ve been physically distant from for the past several years as we coped with the pandemic. So many of our most meaningful traditions were put on hold last year—and although things are still not quite back to normal—there is much more freedom this December to safely visit with our loved ones as we mark the ending of this year and beginning of a new one. There is so much to celebrate this year: health, resilience, and moving forward into a more hopeful future. What better time to wear a special piece of jewelry than the next few weeks?

Jewelry has an important place in holiday traditions. One of the reasons we wear jewelry is to connect us with our loved ones and remind us of significant experiences in our lives. Holidays are a time that we reconnect with family and reflect on the people, past and present, who have shaped us. Wearing your great-grandmother’s pearls to a family gathering, or your favorite aunt’s antique earrings, allows a part of them to be present there with you as you celebrate the role they played in your life. Giving someone a piece of jewelry as a gift can commemorate a special occasion, and the piece of jewelry can become a physical reminder of your love. A souvenir from a favorite trip; a token to honor a hard-earned accomplishment; a memento to mark a birth or wedding—pieces of jewelry given during a significant time keeps that memory alive for years to come.

Holidays are often a time when we bring out family heirlooms. When we think of heirlooms, of course we think of antiques that have been passed down from generation to generation. But new heirlooms can be created today that will one day connect our future relatives to us. When deciding on a special piece that could potentially have long-standing significance, the key is to remember the ways in which jewelry can tell a story— and when giving a gift—a story specific to the person receiving the gift. Think about what’s important to the receiver: a stone, a special talisman, an inside joke. How can this person be represented in the jewelry they are being gifted? What symbols, motifs, and colors can help tell their story? Finding a one-of-a-kind antique piece of jewelry that is uniquely handcrafted might take time, but the treasure hunt is part of the story of the gift you are giving.

Another reason we wear jewelry around the holidays is because dressing up makes us feel better. In 2012, scientists coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the phenomenon of clothes affecting the way we think and feel. While researching the psychological effects of clothing, researchers ran an experiment where they asked participants to wear a doctor’s lab coat while performing cognition tests. The participants wearing the coats did much better on tests than those not wearing the coats.  Putting on certain clothing or objects changes our mindset and helps signify to our brain that we need to switch gears. Last year, when most holiday traditions had to take place via Zoom, maybe you put on pretty clothing or your favorite lipstick to remind yourself that, even though you were stuck at home, it was still a holiday.

If donning beautiful jewelry can have such a huge impact on the way we feel, then of course we should dress up for the holidays. It’s a simple and easy way to create positive energy and gain what I like to call “psychic income.” Like eating nutritious food—bringing out your favorite jewels is good for the soul.

This December is a chance to make new memories, spread joy, celebrate how far we’ve come in the past year, and reconnect with the people and things we’ve been longing for. It’s the perfect time to wear or give antique or vintage jewelry! You might just find your next family heirloom while browsing our collection. And if you have an idea for the perfect gift but are having trouble finding what you’re looking for, we are here to help. Send us an email and we can help you find a special piece that tells the story of your life, your loved ones, and your holiday traditions.