Originating in the late 1980’s, the term “Bling” (intended to evoke the “sound” of light hitting something shiny, especially valuables like silver, platinum, or diamonds) didn’t hit it’s peak until the late 1990’s, when it had soaked through from hip-hop into mainstream culture. First intended to describe shiny jewelry (especially diamond jewelry) that was somewhat over-the-top, it’s use gradually changed into almost anything in the way of jewelry that had a light-reflecting visual “pop.”

Although ideas regarding this term have shifted somewhat over the last 20 years, the sparkle of diamonds, the light reflection from highly-polished gold jewelry, the beauty of well-cut colored stones, and even the subtle glow of fine pearls strike a chord in many people that is not easily achieved by other means, and it’s not just the monetary aspect, either. I’m sometimes asked if a certain piece of jewelry looks “gaudy,” and my answer is never yes. This is a straight-up matter of perception on the part of an individual, and the “litmus test” is this: If you’re wearing a piece of fine jewelry in private, do you still like the way it looks? Is it beautiful to you? Does it make you feel good to wear it? To be sure, there are those who wear jewelry simply to impress others, but the vast majority of the population wear jewelry for a different reason. Mostly, it’s because they appreciate the beauty, or because it has meaning to them— but regardless of the reason, the feeling is not easily duplicated by anything else, which is why styles change, but fine jewelry has been popular since the beginning of recorded history.

Joe Brandt

If you have a piece of jewelry you really love, but wear it only on rare occasions, what are you saving it for?  Is there something in the back of a drawer (or in a safe-deposit box) that never sees the light of day because it’s “not your style?” If that’s the case, a visit to your local jeweler can yield some amazing results by having an old or out-of-date piece altered to suit your taste. The stuff does you no good sitting in a box, and if it’s an heirloom piece, you are doing your benefactor a disservice by not making use of it. Not enough “bling” for you? Have it changed to suit your fancy, or simply have an old, worn piece refinished. If nice jewelry makes you feel good when you wear it, there is no downside. I say “If you got it, flaunt it” — at least within reason.

 

 

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Joe Brandt is a local resident, and president of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public since 1928. Readers are invited to submit questions or comments to JLBCO@hotmail.com. Names or contact information will not be used for publication, and all inquiries will be answered promptly.