I wear specific necklaces everyday. They are my uniform. I have worn one of them for close to 30 years. Occasionally a new necklace or embellishment will appear as they are given as important gifts from friends.
The piece I have worn the longest was given to me by Nadya from Bali (who used to be Nadine from Skokie). After divorcing her doctor husband, Nadya made an adventure of her life designing high fashion clothes in Bali and traveling around the world showing and selling her work. (Ellen Burstyn is one of her devoted patrons.) (Check out Nadya’s website: http://www.nadyabali.com/)
As she was making this transition from Skokie to Bali, she used to patronize a restaurant I worked at as a bartender. She was close friends with a waiter there who was also a friend of mine. I went to her early trunk shows in fancy lofts in the city, owned by people who also patronized the restaurant. I think they thought it was a kind of slumming to invite us waitstaff. Though I seriously perused and was completely absorbed by her jewelry (mostly what she offered in the beginning), I was unable to afford any of it.
One day on my way into work, I saw Nadya on the outdoor patio of the restaurant and she called me over. She handed me this item. She said a Tibetan dealer had given this to her as a present so there was something karmically wrong for her to sell it; she could only give it away as well. She said she was told that it used to be filled with a magical powder that put your enemies to sleep.
I have worn this ever since. I love the notion that you don’t have to kill your enemies just put them into a long-term siesta. (Upon close examination, it is clear that a previous owner tried to locate this powder.) But more importantly it reminds me how sacred and extraordinary is generosity of spirit.