I always carry my jewelry with me onto planes, even the inexpensive bits, as I am attached to my accessories (in case you couldn’t tell). The rule of thumb is that you are never supposed to travel with expensive jewelry, particularly to unknown parts. And this is today, with the reasonable expectation that you are not going to get mugged on a plane. Imagine how much more fraught with peril was traveling with your gems on a coach, on lonely roads without the aid of streetlights or state troopers. This is why some ingenious jewelers crafted “coach covers”, orbs that went over your earrings or necklace to make them seem commonplace, when really they were hiding diamonds.
At sea, sailors, in their boredom, would create small crafts off of extra bits of rope lying around on board. They discovered, in time, that rope bracelets would also prevent chafing on their wrists when they were up in the rigging. They were also durable in the sea and the sun, which eventually made them popular with landlubbers as well.
Interested in more?
You can learn to make a sailor’s bracelet here:
To read more about Jennifer Trask, click here:
She was not comely, but wickedly witty. She was scandalously divorced. She may have had Nazi sympathies. On her wikipedia page, it is listed that, “According to Hui-lan Koo, the second wife of Chinese diplomat and politician Wellington Koo, the only Mandarin Chinese phrase that Wallis learned during her sojourn in Asia was “Boy, pass me the champagne”.
For those of you who are uninitiated, the woman in question is Wallis Warfield Simpson, the divorcee whom King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry. Previously married to a U.S. Navy aviator, Simpson was married to a shipping executive when she met Edward through friends. She quickly became the prince’s latest mistress and when he took the throne two years later and realized that he would never be able to legitimize his relationship with her, she was vehemently against his abdication.
She enjoyed her access to the corridors of power, but she did truly love Edward and married him a year later in 1937, after the scandal of the abdication and the finalization of her divorce had passed. They spent many years abroad before finally settling in France to live out the rest of their days.
I have always secretly been tickled by the couple as they once attended the Mardi Gras ball of Rex, who is the King of Carnival. When the Duke and Duchess were presented to the court of Rex, there was a bit of a flummox on protocol. Real royals vs. the tradition of Mardi Gras. Gracefully, and with a wry grin, the Duke bowed and the Duchess curtsied, and the room broke out in applause.
Never known as beautiful, she was reputed to be very handsomely dressed and her jewelry collection was legendary. In her own words, “I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.”
She intended to be the mistress of the King of England, and instead wound up as the wife of the Duke of Windsor, ostracized from court and the Royal Family. Her life alternated between glamorous jet setting and unwanted official positions like First Lady of the Bahamas. After her marriage, she was no longer free to live quite the devil-may-care lifestyle that she had preferred. As she famously said, “You have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance.” At least she got to do it in style.
“Held captive beneath the translucent skin, the seven colours of the rainbow flickered with some secret fire of their own all over the surface of each precious sphere. Chéri recognized the pearl with a dimple, the slightly egg-shaped pearl, and the biggest pearl of the string, distinguishable by its unique pink. ‘These pearls, these at least, are unchanged! They and I remain unchanged.”
― Colette, The Last of Chéri
Chéri, the story of a love affair between two courtesans, one a young man and one an older woman, is classic Colette in its’ exchange of sexiness and pragmatism, worldliness and basic humor. A great book to read in the park for Spring. With someone feeding you grapes, preferably.
I remember being very put out when I was little that I had to turn my teeth over to the tooth fairy. One dollar seemed like a pretty meek compensation for my tooth that oftentimes I had struggled pretty hard to get out. Wearing it in a setting around my neck? That would have been a fate worthy of a tooth.
Most people shudder at the idea (even dentists), but historically for the various peoples who have made jewelry from teeth, they hold important significance. “Whether the teeth came from one’s ancestors or from the mouths of enemies, each tooth would have been viewed as a representation or an embodiment of the deceased, a power that was transferred to the wearer.”-thebowersmuseum.blogspot.com
Teeth necklaces have been found in Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Peru, and the Himalayas. They could made up from the teeth of as many as twenty victims and were usually carefully extracted so that the root came along with the tooth, the better to leave the tooth intact.
Other teeth were extracted from monkeys, horses, bears, kangaroos, whales, and dogs. Prince Albert once gave Queen Victoria a necklace made of the teeth of all the stags that he had shot at Balmoral, with the date of their death engraved on the back. According to Lisa Waller Rogers, he also designed this enameled thistle brooch, completely with baby tooth of their firstborn child as the flower: