Back when quarantine was the status quo, many people turned to nature to bring them a sense of peace during the uncertainty of the time. Seeing as not everyone has immediate access to the great outdoors, houseplants became the companions that brightened our atmospheres, from city apartments to suburban homes and everywhere in between.
If you can decorate with live plants, all the better—they freshen the air and provide a living element to any decor. But artificial plants, as well as images of them, have been trending in home design, too.
I think of the monstera leaf in particular. Also known as the Swiss cheese plant, the monstera is native to southern Mexico but has been introduced in many other tropical areas. It’s massively popular for decorating, not just in plant form but as a motif on wallpaper, artwork, even clothing. If you haven’t seen it all over Pinterest or Instagram over the past couple of years, you haven’t been checking in with social media.
Though invasive in some areas (and, if it’s anything like the bamboo I’m constantly fighting in my backyard, I can see one’s feelings toward the plant turning pretty sour), the monstera is largely well received, and in Chinese symbolism it represents longevity and respect. Its young leaves are heart-shape, and as it grows, it forms the holes that the plant is so well-known for, which protect it from breaking in heavy winds and rain.
But this isn’t a lesson in plants, though it may read as such. It stands to serve as the reasoning for which I believe such a leaf is the ideal candidate for an icon in jewelry, particularly given our affinity for symbolic and meaningful pieces.
Though I’m leaning heavily on the monstera, because it’s the kind I’m most taken with, other leafy greens (or, in the case of jewelry, golds, silvers, and so on) feel important at the moment, too. Palm trees, for example, echo our sentiments for warm, tropical locales—places that, while some may feel comfortable traveling to at the moment, elude others as the uncertainty of our time persists.
Personally, I dream of adding a shiny gold monstera charm to my collection, if I can find one (Maui Divers has an entire collection dedicated to the plant, if you’re interested). It just feels relevant, a reminder to hang in there, that we’re tough and beautiful and strong.
Honestly, I expected my search for this jewelry to come up rather short, but I was so wonderfully surprised by how many iterations of these leafy wonders there are. It would appear my penchant for them is not so out-there after all.
Top: Monstera leaf ring in 14k yellow gold, $875; Maui Divers Jewelry
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