Some jewelry has greater meaning than an onlooker could ever know. That is how I feel about my 14 karat gold Figaro "Lisa" necklace.
The necklace is special to me for many reasons. My mother, now deceased, gave me the personalized nameplate years ago. The entire nameplate is in cursive. Each sparkling gold letter loops into the next with fine precision. There is a banner under the name and a heart directly in the center. The chain is thin, lightweight and fragile. The gold cuts throughout the name made me feel like it was large, like a medallion. This necklace was made for me personally by someone who cared about making fine jewelry.
Holding my chain, I am reminded of the anticipation I felt as my mother placed it around my neck. My mother's long, pointy fingers grazed me gently as she latched it together. To this day, I can still hear her say in a firm, yet nurturing voice, "I hope you take good care of this. I had to save for it."
Turning toward her, while holding my chain as close as my heart is to my body, I told her that I would. My chain holds so many memories that I cannot list them all.
My chain was a gift for my 13th birthday, and my birthday falls during summer vacation. Playing in the summer heat as a child was important -- like money to a banker. I wore it out playing in the bright, hot sun, when the necklace shined the most.
And outside was filled with the smell of barbecue; funny, I can still smell it when I think of the chain. I recall older children were on their way to the neighborhood pool and toddlers played in sandboxes.
As a 13-year-old, riding my bicycle was an adventure. My brand new chain bounced off my chest as I pedaled quickly to the store, which was directly on the corner. The store was built out of deep red brick and had two glass doors. My purple 12-speed Huffy flew around the corner like a bat out of a cave. I felt like the female version of Evel Knievel, wearing a new chain for an audience.
I recall getting off the bicycle, full of joy and breathing heavily to revive my lungs. As I went into the store I contemplated whether to get a red popsicle or a cherry ring pop. I bought the cherry ring pop. As I proudly walked out of the store, I reached in the tiny brown bag in hopes of tasting the sweet flavor of cherries.
Suddenly, when the sun made my necklace sparkle and my throat turned dry, I realized the popsicle would have been the better choice. I looked at my reflection through the store's glass doors. I was tall, thin, wearing a pink V-neck tank top with denim shorts, complimented by two pigtails with pink bows. With a quick glance I saw my name plate, shiny and new, and forgot all about my poor choice and pedaled home.
When I look at my necklace today, it is my mother I see. This necklace has been with me from eighth grade graduation to living on my own, and all of my firsts, along with the births of my two children.
This necklace saw my start at driving a school bus and now my career as an operator with Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. This necklace has now seen my return to college, just as my mother would if she were here. In essence, my necklace has provided me with a sense of comfort. I feel as though she still is here with me, through the presence of my Figaro nameplate.
At one time, I had to get my gold chain fixed. When it broke, feeling ashamed and distraught, I had it repaired that same day and wore it as if nothing happened. Some years later, it broke again, and I have not yet had it repaired.
My necklace is in a small zip-lock bag on my nightstand. I plan to get it fixed, but, until then, I find peace and serenity in taking my broken necklace and placing it gently around my neck, and feeling my mother's long lost love.