I’ve been thinking a lot about how historical—historically crappy, but history-making nonetheless—this current crises we’re all experiencing is. As my daughter watches the new Wash Your Hands With Baby Shark video for the umpteenth time, I’m struck by how we’re living in moments that will probably end up being recorded in school textbooks.
You know how you buy something for a special occasion and forever after associate it with the reason you bought it? A dress for someone’s wedding, a top for a first date, a pendant for your firstborn. I’ve done all those things too. Except now the things I buy to clothe or accessorize myself aren’t so much for a special event as they are just for life as we know it. The new leopard-print matching joggers and sweatshirt that just came in the mail (in a package that sat for a few days to degerm and still induced anxiety to open)—that’s my quarantine suit. Ordinarily, our family gets new pajamas twice a year—Christmas and spring. But my husband just got new ones, because I couldn’t stand seeing the same ones over and over and over (mix up that working-from-home attire, know what I mean?). Anyway, so now, instead of those being Christmas or Easter pj’s? Quarantine pajamas. That’s what they are now and always will be.
And jewelry is a lot like that too. I, along with a lot of customers, tend to buy pieces to mark occasions. Since my daughter was born, I’ve begun the tradition of treating myself to a piece to mark each birthday (I insist that it’s my birthday too). For her second birthday—Monday—I’m looking at a diamond necklace. Sure, it’ll be remembered as the piece I got when she turned two, but—and I’m sure you see where this is going—it’ll be that one necklace I bought to wear on day 34 of being stuck at home—my quarantine necklace.
Don’t think this is all bad—it isn’t. We can look at these things and remember how much this all sucked, but we can also look at them and think how fortunate some are to be able to even be buying stuff right now. And—here’s the bottom line—we can just think that for a moment, getting something new, whether to mark a place in time or not, made us feel really good, as jewelry often has the power to do.
We will all have keepsakes like this. But some are more literal than others, outwardly representing the times. One such example is a collection of jewelry from Évocateur. Choose from a disc necklace in three sizes (1 inch, 1.5 inches, or 2 inches) or one of the fashion brand’s signature cuffs (also ranging in width from 1 to 2 inches), each in 22k gold leaf or sterling silver. Featuring a riff on the popular British morale booster from World War II, the collection’s phrase “Keep Calm and Quarantine” is not only good advice, it’s a time stamp that leaves no room for guesswork—we know, and will know years into the future, this era to which it refers.
Not only is this an “I was there” item that could take its place among the paraphernalia of museums of the future, it benefits a good cause—50% of all profits from its sales goes to benefit No Kid Hungry, the organization dedicated to getting healthy food to kids in need. No Kid Hungry is one group that has had to step up its game even more, as there is a soul-crushing number of children out there who aren’t getting access to enough food now that schools are closed.
Like many brands, the Connecticut-based Évocateur is having to grapple with mandated closures and stay-at-home orders, but that isn’t stopping them from working to get these out. “We are shut down, but I have a skeleton crew working from home to get these pieces done,” founder and designer Barbara Ross-Innamorati tells me.
These pieces are like the little cheerleaders at the pep rally—the one for “Team Stay Home”—decorating its members like pride-worthy patches. It would be great to see people wearing these and designs in this same spirit, a signal to everyone that we’re all in this together, and we’re all still wearing our jewelry. That the pieces are being made to assist in donations to a very worthy and especially important cause makes it all the more fitting.
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