Butterflies are often represented in jewelry, a popular motif found time and time again. For Annie James designer Anne Mock, the butterfly represents something entirely out of the ordinary: the thyroid gland.
At 25, Mock was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, after coming down with what was initially thought to be a strep throat. It was a shocking diagnosis for an otherwise healthy young woman, who maintained an active lifestyle and dutifully checked for lumps, as we are always encouraged to do. Thankfully, doctors were able to successfully remove the thyroid and affected lymph nodes, and Mock has been cancer-free since 2016.
Striving to raise awareness of a cancer on the rise—that is curable if caught early—Mock created a collection featuring the little butterfly-shaped gland at the neck.
“Annie James was born of the idea that jewelry is something that women often compliment each other on, so it’s a natural way to start the conversation about the importance of getting a neck check,” says Mock. Each necklace features a butterfly charm at the clasp, representing the thyroid gland.
“Annie James has been my way of turning the difficult experience of dealing with thyroid cancer into a positive,” says Mock, a graduate gemologist. “Prior to my diagnosis, I had signed up for a jewelry-rendering class at the New York Jewelry Design Institute. My design projects became a welcome distraction for me during this time and soon became a platform for me to promote thyroid cancer awareness.”
Not only do the jewels serve as a reminder of self-care and awareness, but they are serving a charitable purpose, too: Mock has partnered with CancerCare, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance, as well as counseling and support, to assist cancer patients in need. Twenty percent of the profits of each Annie James necklace is donated to the fund.
As for others experiencing similar circumstances, Mock says the jewelry has helped to drive somewhat of a community through social media. “I have connected with other survivors and current patients through my Instagram account. People have reached out to share their cancer experiences and to show support for what I’m doing. One girl who reached out to me had a very similar story to mine—we have stayed in touch and actually got together this summer!”
All pieces are in 14k white or yellow gold, featuring brightly colored gemstones (a nod to maintaining a positive mindset), like sapphire and peridot. In addition to necklaces, Annie James also offers earrings, rings, and bracelets, as well as the option for a custom creation.
September happens to be Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, so this comes at an ideal time! Visit anniejames.com for a full range of designs and to get in touch with the designer.
Top: Necklaces in 14k white and yellow gold with blue sapphire, peridot, aquamarine, and pink sapphire, all with diamonds, $675–$1,250