I accidentally dropped one of my three jewellery boxes yesterday and broke the lid of it. It was a lacquered box that I had bought on an overseas trip; it didn’t hold precious memories necessarily, but would spark a reminder or two of things I didn’t really want to think about. So I decided it was time to get rid of it and thought maybe I should declutter my jewellery.
I used to wear lots of different jewellery but don’t much anymore. But try as I might, there were only a few things I could bear to part with. The few cheap trashy gewgaws I bought at cheap trashy shops were easily disposed of, but when I opened up my second jewellery box I stumbled into a wormhole of reminiscence.
That box is a wooden cigarette box that my dad used to have in his office (part of a matching set of pen holder, lighter, ashtray, which was evidently something successful businessmen had on their desks in the 80s). I don’t know if he ever knew that I took it, actually, but it had always been empty and I had a much better use for it.
It holds the jade pendants from my Chinese grandmother, with the gold chains that don’t really suit me, but are precious all the same. It holds the pendants of amber, silver, pewter; gifts from people no longer in this world. It holds the chunky steampunky necklace I wore at uni all the time, long before steampunk was a thing. It holds the silver locket dad bought me in Thailand when our tuk-tuk driver took us to his ‘cousin’s’ silver shop, a locket that is empty because I have never had anything special enough to put in it. It holds the big silver cross I bought in the UK that says ‘Locksley’ on the back and made me secretly gleeful when I was rather fond of Robin Hood. It holds the TalulaMei pendant a lovely silversmith made for me after the Big Hearted Business (un)conference in 2014. It holds the war medallion and marquisite brooch from my Australian grandmother.
It holds many memories. Decluttering junk or things that evoke bad memories is one thing, but there is something to be said for treasuring a small box full of stories.