• Jessica Lyn Smith

"Pearls are always appropriate" - Jackie Kennedy

Signifying wisdom gained through experience, my Nana's love and my sorority's secrets.


A bit of an odd post, but I've gotten so many questions about my engagement ring. Since childhood, pearls played a significant role in my life, and as I got older, I knew I wanted a pearl as the center stone of the most important piece of jewelry I would ever own.


Matthew had this ring custom made (with my direction, of course), but surprised me with more surrounding diamonds than I was expecting.


I love vintage-style rings, and when I saw Olive Avenue Jewelry's "Ryder" setting, I knew it would be perfect with a pearl.

"I am thoroughly sick of pearls. They make one look so plain, so good and so intellectual." Oscar Wilde.

One of the first pair of fine jewelry earrings I owned were pearls, given to me by my grandmother. And that was just the beginning: more pearl jewelry came from aunts and uncles, my Nana gave me her oldest string of pearls when I was in high school (eeek!), and my mother - oh my gosh my mother - she gave me my first pearl ring in sterling silver, a long, separated pearl chain necklace, a diamond studded pearl bracelet, an adorable kitty-pendant with a pearl in it's face. I mean, the list of pearls I've received from good ol' Jo can go on and on.


But, the ironic part is that I almost always lose my pearls. Some of my favorite items from the list above have gone missing. It's the worst. And then, they somehow turn up (except for that separated pearl chain - I know, Mom, I know!! #uglycrying).

"The world is your oyster, it is up to you to find the pearls." Chris Gardner.

Here is a GREAT story. I mentioned my sorority...I am a UF grad (go Gators!) and a Sigma Kappa Sorority alum. Every sisterhood has its badges and symbols, gems, colors and the like.


Our jewel is the Pearl. Did I do my research before "rushing" sororities and learn about this cosmic coincidence? I can't say I did. I left all of the details to my childhood-turned-best friend in college who, also coincidentally, became a Sigma Kappa. The pearls were a bonus.


You'll laugh at this part, but during our initiation ceremony that took place in the fall semester of my freshman year (actually a well-put-together ceremony that doesn't involve basement liquor hazing and other more horrid things you see in movies), the only jewelry we were allowed to wear was pearl jewelry.


Having been given my Nana's oldest string of pearls so recently before graduating high school, this would be the perfect opportunity to adorn them.


EXCEPT THEY HAD GONE MISSING THAT SUMMER.


Let me back up: I searched from the highest ceilings in the house and to the depths of hell for that necklace before moving to my dorm. It didn't turn up.


I packed half of my closet, and a truck-bed full of boxes and left for Gainesville in the fall.


A few lily pulitzer outfits and months of mingling later, I woke up on initiation morning. Feeling all sorts of regret that I didn't have my Nana's necklace.


"What the heck, I'll look one more time" I thought to myself as I rolled off of my paper-thin mattress to put on a white dress. "Maybe it's in one of these boxes, by some miracle."


The first place I looked was in a small box of trinkets sitting on my desk, and inside the box was a purse insert. Remember those? They appeared on TV info-mmercials to make switching purses easier. I zipped open one of it's compartments, and there was my pearl necklace!


I was shocked. Stunned. How?! Could this even be possible? And, the first place I looked?!


I chalked it up to destiny, closed the clasp around my neck and marched off to drink Dove's blood in a satin gown (kidding).

"Those who look for seashells will find sea shells; those who open them will find pearls." Unknown.

So pearls have kinda always been my thing. The coolest part about getting a pearl engagement ring from Matthew is the evolution of my feelings over time. When I met him, I knew I loved him. And when we had been dating for six months, I knew he could put a silver string around my finger and I would be thrilled.


And now, having a symbol that means so much to me, from my past, to the present and what is surely in my future....well, I hope I never fucking lose it.


(Photos of my ring. It always looks so different! Some photos are filtered, and some are not. Bonus photo of my mom's hand with her promise/engagement/we've-been-together-20-years-ring)




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