Stories my jewellery tells

May 6, 2016 | 4 comments |

I suspect I’m part magpie for I gravitate towards the shiny and sparkly, and am a self-confessed, jewellery junkie.

I recently bought a set of Stackers boxes from the UK, a flexible storage system which has transformed my life in jewellery. However, as I organized my collection in these new boxes, it struck me that much like fiction, my jewellery tells stories about my life and the people and places who’ve influenced me.  


Some pieces were gifts from special people for special occasions.

Family 2

A little heart necklace from my grandparents for a long ago Christmas. A bracelet English Rose chose for me as a special Mother’s Day gift, and a statement necklace from the sister of my heart for a milestone birthday.

Each time I wear one of these pieces, I’m reminded of its giver and their importance in my life.


Like clothes, jewellery fashions come and go.

From a pearl and amethyst Victorian ring, to a 1920’s Art Deco watch, and mid-twentieth century modern brooches, my jewellery box is a panorama of changing fashions through the years. 

Jewellery fashion

Some pieces I inherited while others I bought at flea markets and vintage jewellery stalls. For each piece, though, I imagine who once wore it and when, where and how.


When I travelled for my last day job, I often bought jewellery as a souvenir.

Travel 2

My blue and green beaded bracelet from the Cayman Islands evokes the magical colours of the Caribbean Sea, and the feeling of the warm tropical sun on my skin.

A floral bracelet in delicate pink glass takes me back to Hong Kong’s bustling Yue Hwa department store, while a disc pendant replicating an ancient Malaysian coin transports me to a rain-soaked day in Kuala Lumpur.


Many of you know I mark writing milestones on a charm bracelet. However, I’ve also received jewellery for writing contest placements and to reflect special writing moments.

Fun flamingo bling for my 2013 Tampa Area Romance Writers (TARA) contest win, and a dragonfly pendant after my 2015 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® class became known as the “Dragonflies.”

Dragonfly and flamingo 2

Jewellery for good causes  

Jewellery isn’t only about personal adornment. Some of my pieces also support causes dear to my heart.

My key charm, which I wear as a pendant, benefits student bursaries at the University of Winnipeg, my alma mater.

A pair of tear-drop earrings, a gift from a dear friend, introduced me to Seeds of Peace, a program for teenagers from conflict zones designed to promote empathy and respect and foster cross-cultural communication.

Causes 2

Life, fiction and giving back

My jewellery is part of my life story. It even creeps into my fiction when I give heroines jewellery inspired by pieces I own or have admired.

And for those pieces that no longer fit my life? I’m donating some to a local initiative which raises funds to provide companionship to elderly people in need.

So the stories continue…


  1. Sue Bavin

    I love jewellery and that means I love to see other people’s jewellery too. I especially love pieces that have a special story behind them or a particular memory. A woman’s jewellery collection tells the story of her life and an inherited piece tells its story through the generations. I bet that putting your jewellery away in your Stacker boxes took much longer than you intended, as you lingered over all the memories!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Exactly, Sue! The story of a woman’s life indeed. Yes, putting away my jewellery did take a long time as I lingered over special memories. With my new Stackers boxes, I’m finding I’m wearing my jewellery more as I can see pieces easily.

  2. Heidi

    What a wonderful reflection! I, too, have special pieces of jewellery that mark different seasons of my life. Although I don’t wear each piece as often as I used to, they remind me of friends made, places I’ve been, joy and (sometimes) sorrow. As I sit with my daughter and recount the story behind a ring or a bracelet, I like to think I am sharing a little glimpse into my past.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you commenting, Heidi. By sharing stories of your jewellery with your daughter, you’re ensuring your life stories continue. When she’s older she’ll remember those special times with you and perhaps share with her children.


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