A Treasured Heritage
After my American grandmother, “Cay-Cay”, had passed away, I found a treasure trove of slides in a long-forgotten chest gathering dust in her attic. What unfurled was a stunning visual history of faraway places and a beautiful life. My grandfather was a hobbyist photographer and as he and my grandmother traveled around the world often with my mother, (then a little girl in tow), he snapped away – capturing iconic and idyllic scenes of the 1950s in Italy, Switzerland and the like. I wonder if he knew how much of an impact these photos would have on his family. Not just as time capsules of memories, but also an instrumental impact on my evolution as a jewelry designer.
Afraid of losing these treasured photos I decided I needed to bring them into the digital age. My husband, a filmmaker and photographer, helped me transfer dozens of those slides to digital. Allowing me the chance to finally post those heritage images you may have seen on my Instagram feed. Best of all, these photos make me feel close to her again. I was very lucky to have had a wonderful relationship with Cay-Cay as she lived to be 101! Lately though, these photos have also inspired me in new ways as an artist. I can admire her glow as a young woman, clad in an impeccably chic wardrobe with perfectly paired jewelry. I can appreciate her effortless style and grace, always paired with a beautiful smile that is still contagious even on paper. I love seeing who she was before I knew her. Before “Grandma” and “Mom” she was simply Catharine. And she was magical.
Honoring and preserving my family’s heritage is growing increasingly important to me as I develop as an artist. I wanted to immortalize my grandmother’s elegance in my designs. So as homage to her (who’s ears were unpierced) I began designing ear clips meant to be worn daily – just as Cay-Cay did. It's fitting that two of my favorites are the Dailies Large Earclips 852 and the Dailies Large Earclips 657: exquisite and timeless just like her, AND in her favorite colors, white and turquoise! The hues take me back to the days we spent together lounging along the Bahamas’ coastline where we spent many years together.
Whether it’s preserving our heritage from old family photos or honoring our heritage and loved ones through the new memories and art we create, at the end of the day, we all have a heritage to treasure and be grateful for. And I'm just lucky enough to have been able to make a book of it all.
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