Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Gilded and Guilty
Most of my jewelry, apparently, immediately evokes those unforgettable lines from one of my favorite poems, "Sailing to Byzantium," describing the "hammered gold and gold enameling" of some gilded mechanical bird, tasked with cooing softly and entertaining a dozing, apathetic emperor, so inundated with stimulation the world is tedious. On quite another end of the spectrum, these earrings also evince the nursery school ditty about sticks and stones, albeit rather lurid sticks, a saying that always aggravated me, a sensitive child, for its flagrant falsity. Certainly words, strung together maliciously, are unlikely to puncture the skin, draw blood, bear white scar tissue, but emotional wounds are often more potent, more profound. These nuances, though more true, are more difficult to rhyme, so they are left ignored by the nursery types and left to more probing wordsmiths.
Since moving to a markedly more expensive city, I have had to reign in the amount of frivolous spending; sign of growth and maturation. Also, a result of the relative dearth of foolishly and ludicrously affordable consignment shops that offer beauty and quality. A considerably small sacrifice for living in one of the greatest cities in the world. Thankfully, I have discovered a handful of local gems in my neighborhood that satisfy that seemingly carnal urge to peruse and gaze in awe at the glitter and glam of a bygone era.
These earrings are a bit more funky and contemporary looking than most in my collection, and are actually a bit reminiscent of a pair I purchased at a small boutique in Paris, which, apparently, I have done a poor job of adequately documenting. In each of these pairs, I admire the organic quality that directly contrasts with the sharp glint of the metal, that tension of artifice and nature so lurid, as though a pile of sticks were plundered from the forest and were then submerged in some pristine alchemic pool. To complete a full mental circle, returning to a point of childhood memory, they are also rather similar to some unique pieces that I inherited from my grandmother, gifts to her from my grandfather, crafted by a local Baltimore artisan.