Love for jewelry…
Why we buy expensive jewelry to express our intimate feelings.
It has been longer than a week that I’ve been scratching my head over, ok right, reading and reflecting over why we turn to jewelry, precious stones, especially diamond to express our affection and most intimate feelings. Why do we love them? I have gone through Freudian psychoanalysis, researches and more – long story short, lots of reading and reflection. Result – lots of doubts, lots of belief system, but nothing for sure. Good part of it – we are free to build our own take. So, I am building this article on what makes sense to me. I’d love to hear your opinion and open up discussion about it.
I see some connection between love of jewelry and mythologically speaking “search of soul”. Please bear with me! I’ll develop my though processes step by step. It will be fun!
Throughout the history we have been decorating our bodies with jewelry – the most primitive ones being bones or other parts of animals our ancestors killed. In retrospect, it is easy to see that the early jewelry was not for decoration, rather affirmation of “commitments” or “life journey” of the tribal members.
So jewelry was born as something more than means of decoration. Its role was to kind of “freeze in time” the life journey of the bearer of that primal jewelry. This thought makes me remember two things – how the ephemerality of life made philosophers wrestle for ages with the question of death and meaning of life and “petrification” an important word in mythology which means “hardening into stone”. (the Root coming from pietra/piedra – stone). And this reminds me of monuments – when we want to make something or someone to be remembered eternally, we build a monument – we eternalize or immortalize it.
Today doctors are trying hard to prolong human life. The other day I saw an infograph according to which the average life expectancy was about 40 years in 1800s. And today some good parts of the world are getting close to 80 years! Well, I gasped when I realized how far we’ve come. Then I think, this is what magicians and medicine men were trying to do. We all know a tale or two where magicians or medicine men search for an elixir that will overcome death, attain eternal life, immortality.
The same thing the alchemists were trying to do – they wanted to find philosopher’s stone, which would help them to attain incorruptible, ultimate and finely refined substance – gold. Normally, what we do in our physical life is just an extension of psychic dramas happening inside. Some wiser alchemists, however, realized that this process was not only a chemical process, but however a mystical one, which talks about attaining that pristine, eternal state of soul – the ultimate quest and value of human life. What alchemists were doing was in fact the internal journey of “search for soul” put into chemical practice to reach immortalization.
So when we live certain things or feelings that are too precious to let go, we automatically want to petrify it – eternalize that status or commitment or relationship. If we pluck a flower in name of our beloved one, nothing is left of it after three days. But jewelry outlives that relationship, maybe even next generations as testimony.
Then it makes me think why the more dear a relationship or person to us, the more expensive jewelry we want to buy? Well, the myths abound with stories of precious gems or stones guarded by wrathful dragons and snakes. The way to get those stones is to overcome those guarding frightful animals. Such mythical stories are normally understood as inner journey, the precious stone symbolizing our untouched soul. To reach to that pristine stone (center, soul), one should overcome barriers posed by our ego and instinctual urges – such as fears, desires etc. So it is a very daring commitment. In fact, one puts one’s own life in test when decides to embark on internal journey. But this psychic disposition has some serious implications for our daily lives – we attach a lot importance and value to things that are hard to find and difficult to process. Maybe this is the reason, to express the preciousness of feelings to us we turn to expensive stuff, especially stones and gold – expensive translating itself as valuable in our minds. We all know how difficult it is to mold and polish precious stones, especially diamonds. So the idea of attaining that perfect pristine eternal stone is there – but not like an internal journey, but more like a projection in the outer world.
I hope it wasn’t boring to follow this thought process. Actually, it doesn’t end here. More interesting questions come up, like do the stones really have power and healing qualities? And why, mostly women are associated with jewelry. Even when men buy jewelry, many times buy for women. Well, I’ll keep them for another post as this one keeps getting longer. I’d better stop here.