This is the first piece of gold jewelry that I ever bought myself.
It was during my first semester of adjunct teaching in the textile department at San Francisco State University. After work one day, I stopped at a boutique in SF’s outer sunset district and did something I had been dreaming about for months—I bought one of Kathleen Whitaker’s staple studs. Minimal, modern, and 14 karat gold through and through. The earring cost sixty five dollars, which felt like a considerable amount of money at the time.
I already owned a few pieces of gold jewelry and wore them regularly. Since I was sixteen I wore a monogram on a chain—a gift from my mom. And I had a gold wire bangle that my grandmother passed down to me that I still haven’t ever taken off (the inspiration for our Everyday Bangle). My wedding ring—a skinny band to match my everlasting bangle. But mostly, I mixed silver jewelry that I bought in the Southwest with gold-looking jewelry that I bought by the pound at fast fashion stores. This little earring was the first piece of gold jewelry that I bought with my own money. And can I just tell you, it was a portal into another world.
I saw myself in a new light. I was—in a instant—a more shining, confident, more discerning me. My new earring expanded my concept of who I could be and what I could achieve. It was magic.
Perhaps it was simply that I wanted something a little extravagant, and I made the decision to buy it for myself. That was enough to start a quiet revolution inside myself. Two dollar toothbrush? NO! I'm gonna hold out for the twelve dollar one that makes my heart sing. Cheap food on a road trip? NO! I'm gonna make for damn sure my cooler is full of beautiful, vibrant, organic food. And so on....
That is the story of how I fell in love with gold and learned the value of buying yourself that expensive thing that you've pined after, the thing that speaks to you, expands your self worth. It opens up the windows to a more beautiful life. For some of you reading, this concept might edge on materialism, but I'm talking about buying fewer things, paying more for them, and choosing beautifully-made goods that have the innate power to lift you up.