What’s Your Story? Choosing Message Jewelry

Each piece of jewelry you wear says something about your style. But some pieces carry a stronger message, and even tell a story.

The jewelry you wear always says something about you: your style, your relationship status (think engagement ring), perhaps your mood. But some pieces are more pronounced in the message they carry. Some go as far as to tell an entire story.

When choosing message jewelry, one of the biggest things to consider is who you want to see it and how much you want them to infer.

  • Do you want a continuous, personal reminder (as with a motivational saying) for yourself? You’re much more likely to see a ring or bracelet than a pendant necklace that’s out of your field of vision.
  • Do you want to proudly display your message to the world? Just about any piece that’s big enough — and not hidden under a collar or sleeve — will be seen. But even then, you can choose a message that’s clear, subtle or obscure.

Keep in mind the categories aren’t mutually exclusive. A bracelet with a

charm chosen by each grandchild is as wonderful a grandmother piece as a necklace holding the birthstone of each child.

Affirmation jewelry

Affirmation jewelry, or jewelry with motivational words or sayings such as “believe,” “live” or “love” engraved on it, is the epitome of message jewelry. In a sense, the primary purpose of such a piece is to deliver and affirm the message it carries. The other beauty of affirmation jewelry is that it comes in a huge variety of styles and price points, from an engraved gold pendant to a leather cuff bracelet with engraved copper plates to a sterling silver ring showcasing a single word.

One thing to consider with affirmation jewelry: necklaces show your message to the world but aren’t easily seen by you. If your idea is to have a steady inspirational reminder, consider a simple ring or slim bracelet with a single word engraved on the band. You’ll see it every time you look toward your hand.

Charm bracelets

Charm bracelets are inherently unique. They often go beyond a simple message to tell a story. A charm representing each child or grandchild is a wonderful mother or grandmother piece. A bracelet with a charm from each country visited is a fantastic memory for an intrepid traveler. Hobbyists may enjoy collecting charms representing favorite pastimes. Choosing charms that have meaning to you or simply strike your fancy all add up to a bracelet that tells the unique story of you.

A traditional charm bracelet is an open-link chain onto which you add dangling charms or baubles over time. If this style doesn’t suit you, take a look at recent charm bracelet trends.

Mother’s or Grandmother’s Jewelry

Many mothers and grandmothers enjoy having a piece of fine jewelry that honors their children or grandchildren. These offspring are a source of pride, and the jewelry conveys that message.

Mother’s Jewelry can range from obvious (a small pendant charm with the name and birthstone of each child) to subtle (a tiny birthstone for each family member set in a heart or other design) to something in between, like a small picture charm chosen by each child dangling from a bracelet or necklace.

Birthstone jewelry

Birthstone jewelry falls into the subtle message category. It doesn’t tell a story, but to a keen eye it does say something about you. Birthstone jewelry in the form of stud earrings, a pendant necklace or a gemstone ring is also a great addition to any woman’s basic jewelry wardrobe.

Jewelry with religious or cultural significance

Like birthstone pieces, jewelry conveying religious or cultural significance says something about you. A small cross or Star of David hanging from your neck affirms a certain part of your identity, and sends a message of religious pride. Items like a Celtic knot pendant or a traditional Hawaiian bracelet assert cultural pride or admiration.

Ambigrams and other subtle puzzles

An ambigram is a word or symbol that has meaning when read from various directions, like right-side up or upside down. The meaning can be the same or can vary depending on which vantage point it’s read from.

These are especially fun on a ring or bracelet, as your perspective when looking at your own jewelry will differ from everyone else’s. Because they often look cryptic, ambigrams are a great way to wear jewelry that obviously sports a message — but where the message itself isn’t obvious.

Outside ambigrams, some jewelry designs like to play on words and letters, twisting them into intricate designs that may suit your style and carry subtle meaning behind the pattern.

Every piece of jewelry you wear says something about your style, but certain pieces carry a stronger message. Choosing a piece that’s meaningful to you will make it as integral a part of your jewelry wardrobe as a pair of classic stud earrings.