CIRCA Guest Editor Susan Swimmer
CIRCA Guest Editor Susan Swimmer, is a fashion consultant, contributing Fashion Features Editor at More magazine and regular guest on NBC’s TODAY Show. She shares her thoughts on less being more.
I’ve always loved jewelry. When I was seven years old I received a gold ring with my birthstone and I thought it the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I treasured it madly and deeply, until I lost it while jumping in a pile of leaves with my brother, one late fall Saturday in the mid-1970’s. I cried for four days, but I learned to take better care of my belongings from then on.
On my mother’s side of the family I was the only daughter and the only grand daughter, so as you can imagine it yielded a jewelry windfall: Brooches of faceted blooms, satin-strapped evening watches, charm-laden bracelets and pearls galore all came my way. And, since women are the keepers of all things, the cache also included diamond-studded art deco cuff links, an 18-carat gold pocket watch, two diamond-incrusted money clips and even a pinkie ring with an old European cut round diamond coming in at almost two carats (that there were men in my family who wore such things came as a shock to me—who knew there was such peacocking in a clan of architects and insurance brokers?)
For years I squirreled everything away, sequestered in velvet pouches and tucked into dresser drawers, lacquered keepsake boxes, even the safe deposit box I kept at the local branch of my bank in the town I grew up in, nearly three hours drive from my home in New York City. Like nuts in a lawn.
One day it hit me that it was silly to keep all of it. Why? Because I never wore most of it and I knew I never would—the pieces didn’t suite my style or they didn’t look right on me or, quite simply, I didn’t care for them. I chose the half dozen that really held meaning for me—like the sapphire and opal ring that my mother received for her high school graduation, a 17-strand sea pearl choker my grand mother wore to my Bat Mitzvah, my father’s gold Rolex—and I sold the rest. Not fifteen minutes after the transaction was completed I felt a surge of accomplishment, and relief.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a pretty deep collection of baubles, both real and faux, but I also know with certainty that there will always be something fabulous to buy…in a tiny beach side shop, on a cobbled street in Paris, behind the glass of my favorite jewelry store. My advice? Buy what you love, wear it as often as you can, and then Spring clean your jewelry box and make room for the new treasures that await.