In our Walker Goldsmith Studio recycling can mean cleaning, restringing and redesigning 5 new pearl necklaces from Great Grandmother’s pearl necklace probably from the 1950’s. The original pearl necklace from Great Grandmother was a type of cluster necklace that looped and draped around her neck and was broken, ancient with rotting silk string and beyond repair. The granddaughter who brought it to me to repair wanted the necklace refurbished and restrung into 5 necklaces to be given as mementos of Great Grandmother to the great granddaughters and herself.
I knew this Great Grandmother, Lucy Shook, in the 1970’s and she was a lovely, kind woman. She lived an adventurous life and shared generously her love of life with the many people she met. “In 1965, she went to Afghanistan with her husband when he was posted to Lashkar Gah, a town about five hours on a bad road southwest of Kabul. There she became manager of the Staff House, a small hotel that catered to the American community and visiting diplomats. Lucy wrote copious letters home, detailing the sights, sounds, and smells of Afghanistan and describing her experiences with the Afghan people. Sometimes poignant, oftimes hilarious, the letters reveal the love she has for her ‘boys’ and for their country.” (taken from the book Letters from Afghanistan) Her daughter, Liz Adair, has compiled a book titled Lucy Shook’s Letters from Afghanistan that can be ordered through SWAN (Serving Women Across Nations). Proceeds fund humanitarian projects that aid women and children in developing countries.
So one can see how recycling the jewelry from this Great Grandmother can have a marvelous affect on her granddaughters; to have a little bit of Great Grandmother to remember her and her spirit of adventure.
This kind of recycling is my favorite. Jewelry is an emotional issue and I love to work with customers to create memories and pass on mementos. It’s always so interesting to hear what motivates people to want jewelry created to remember a person or an experience in their lives. We’re always doing this in our business and it’s so fun. It’s either restringing old necklaces to create new, melting old metal to put into another shape or setting stones from one thing into another; Walker Goldsmiths is in the business of recycling memories.