I still remember the exact moment it clicked for me how special sacred jewelry can be. Seventeen years ago, I sat uncomfortably on a bus traversing a high pass in the mountains of western China. I was traveling along the ancient Silk Road caravan route on a shoestring. I had planned for three months of backpacking but ended up on the road for an entire year plus. My route snaked overland through western China, Tibet, Nepal and India.
On this bus I heard the creaking of the old seats, inhaled the strong smell of engine oil and cigarette smoke (Chinese men would chain smoke even throughout entire overnight bus rides with the windows shut tight) and felt the old junker jolt as it trundled over dirt and stones and periodically veer alarmingly close to the edge of the canyon as it passed other vehicles, honking.
All the seats on the bus were almost full. I sat next to a Tibetan woman with a weathered face covered in wise lines. She wore a sort of striped apron with a faded red smock underneath. She sat unperturbed as the bus swayed and rattled us with its nonexistent shocks as we cranked up the pass. Most strikingly, her earlobes were weighted down with giant gold earrings: intricately figured and crafted, set with blue turquoise and dusky coral.
At every turn and creak of the old bones of the bus, these earrings swayed. They were so big and heavy they pulled her ears down but she also looked supremely comfortable, like she didn’t even notice their presence, as if they had belonged to her and her family for generations, as if they were simply a part of her.
I noticed them, though, in my half-dozing travel-weary dream-like haze. They were magnetic. They were magical. They were mesmerizing. They were glorious.
Much later, I began to notice the resonance and power of jewelry. The culture. The tradition. The intention. The beauty. The personal talismanic meaning. The everyday specialness.
In that moment I only felt struck through by a strange fascination and kept looking at her, and them, throughout the entire ride. Even when we finally crested the top of the pass and all the Tibetans on the bus let loose bloodcurdling cries and celebratory yodels as they let icy high elevation air flood through the bus tossing fluttering prayer flags through the windows and sending a chill of elation through my body, I was aware of them.
Those earrings grounded me, held me. They commanded my attention.
After that, I began to pay attention.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The rest you see before you, in a decade-long (and counting) passion and dedication to the loving creation of the sacred jewelry in this shop, captured in my portfolios, and in the collections of my dear friends and clients.