I received an eclectic green Lizard earring inspired by the architecture of Gaudi, from my aunts travels to Barcelona, and as I opened my jewellery box to safely stash it away, bits and baubles from my and my families travels vied for my attention.
Bringing back souvenirs from our travels , and the more popular ones have been fridge magnets, and I have written a post on all the magnets from around the world on our refrigerator HERE, and since a child I have been collecting picture postcards, the collection is so huge that honestly I am terrified to even venture on writing a magnum opus blog post on that. But I had never considered my jewellery box to be a treasure trove of memories from travels.
So one lazy Sunday, I picked out a few pieces from around the globe to share with you.
1. The Gold coated orchid from Singapore: This was one of the first pieces of jewellery I ever bought on my own, and it hadn’t come cheap. But just outside the orchid flower greenhouse at the Jurong Bird Park at Singapore, was the souvenir shop, and the nice lady showed me ten ways to wear this neck piece, and she said it was a REAL orchid, which had been Gold plated. Now how cool is that, so I kept the tour guide waiting while I struggled with my need for bling, versus saving my dollars. I am glad for this purchase, for it is over ten years old.
2. The multi-coloured bead earrings from Kenya: my mother had gone for a conference to Kenya, and she said that even the senior consulting doctors wore bright coloured bead jewellery. It must be the arid tropics, which bring out the colourful attire of people. African bead jewellery, how cool is that! This too is from ten years back.
3. Jhumkas from Jaipur: Jaipur colourful earrings were a staple with me in college. And even though one could get them in various other places in India, there is no place like rajasthan for the bright coloured Jhumkas.
4. The azulejo inspired earrings and ring from Lisbon: Another one from my mothers conference travels , but precious to me also because living in Goa, I see a lot of Portuguese inspired art here. The azulejos are seen adorning outsides of houses, and even in churches and museums, and to be able to wear the art in the form of jewellery , and a part of a cultural exchange was really special. Azulejos are painted tiles, in indigo, signifying the indigo trade as well as the sea faring Portuguese.
5. The Star spangled earrings and the dice earrings from Lasvegas: nothing says USA like star spangled earrings in the colours of their flag, and the cute dice earrings are a throw back to the game of chance at the Las Vegas casinos. (read about when I met Hillary and Kim Kardashian)
6. Red and green earrings from Leh ladakh as well, a bracelet with Buddhist chant:The chant Om, mani, padme, hum is very special to me. You might know it as the colourful prayer flags that almost every Buddhist temple /monastery has. Or even on the prayer wheels. I used to listen to it during my pregnancy, as well, as to put my child to bed, as a sleep rhyme. To have it on a bracelet makes me feel like wearing a lucky talisman.
7. Red and green matching neck piece: I love my jewellery from Leh Ladakh so much, that when my family travelled to Bhutan, I specifically asked them to search for something to complete the ensemble. They are now a part of a treasured set.
8. Evil eye earrings from Istanbul: I know they are THE most over done touristy thing ever to get back evil eye jewellery from Istanbul, , and I got back a LOT LOT of stuff. Yes neckpieces and key chains, and I think bracelets, and wall hangings all with the evil eye. But, They are so cute and go with all denims.Did you know Istanbul has an asian part and a Europen part, and the Asian part is way cooler than European? I have been there and eaten to tell the tale
9. Kettle earrings from London: Now how cute are these! Brought back from my brothers travels, they signify the british love for chai brewed in a tea pot, and have the union jack on them, and is also my foodie earrings, in the sense the atleast have something related to a food item on them J
10. Mother of pearl earrings from Kanyakumari: every sea shore place on the east coast of India sells shell earrings and jewellery, and funnily, none of the sea shore places on the west coast sell them. Hmm, so I do have memories of buying jewellery from digha as a kid, and I have humongously large earrings as well, when I was in college, the ginormous shell ones, but off late I stick to the more wearable sedate variety. And I couldn’t find any of my more “I am on a beach and will wear shells” jewellery, but 15 odd years back, I had an enviable collection of them.
11. Terracotta from West Bengal: I had terracotta jewellery in every shape and colour; some with paintings on them , others with elaborate village scenes, and they are so affordable, at just 150 Rs a set, that even when one gets lost, or broken, one doesn’t mind. And I guess that happened to a lot of mine. Which makes me value them more now, in hindsight. Made of clay, and handpainted painstakingly, these are elegant, and timeless part of our culture.
12. Cultured pearls, and blingy bangles from Hyderabad: Hyderabad is famous for it’s wide variety of cultured pearls, and I have been conned into buying a very expensive set once for a princely sum of 2500 10 years or so back, when I pretty much earned that amount in a month. But what I rememeber the most is the churi bazaar, near char minar, the colours, the sparkle, and the combinations,and again so versatile,wearable and affordable;what else could a girl want.
13. The green lizard from Barcelona: Gaudi was a genius, if you haven’t seen Sagrad Familia, then it MUST be on your list of to do things in this life time. Psychedelic, eccentric, and whimsical, the entire Barcelona, is like a canvas for Architecture by Gaudi, and these lizards in their mosaic, would have made Gaudi proud. We loved Barcelona so much, we were narly stranded in the city when we almost missed our ship, read all about it HERE .
14. Hand of Fatima from Tunisia: this one is special, because the shop owner gave it to me for free. We were on a Mediterranean cruise with mostly Europeans, and when we landed in Tunisia and in a market place no less, they were all wary of bargaining, but my true Indian blood leaped to the challenge and before long we were in the middle of a haggling match, and a small group of spectators gathered. 30 . no 10….ok I give for 25… no 10 … and it went on till, I got a beautiful blue and white painted porcein, hand of Fatima cutlery set, for 15 dollars, and he threw in the pendant for free. J read more about our cruise HERE.
15. My mom decided to share her collection of pendants when she heard about the post. her gemstone Srilanka flag and the green Jade Buddha from Nepal are also from her travels.
I have plenty more where that came from. My kiwiw earrings and the kangaroo pendant from Dad's trip to Newzealand and Australia, or a blown glass Murano glass pendant from my uncle's trip to Venice.
Yes, we are a family of travellers (and gifters, and collectors), to celebrate my families travels I have a blog post where the women in the family share their travel kit tips, and it has some nifty tips, read it HERE. :)
Until them I hope you rummage through your own Jewellery box, in search of treasures from your travels. and if you are a guy reading this, then kudos on reading thus far, i hope you are inspired to buy more jewellery on your trips for your family and friends.