11 Dec
Making Heirlooms Meaningful

My husband has been brilliant at creating unique gifts for me throughout our fifty-year marriage. One year, when we were barely making ends meet, he gave me his well-loved pocket watch for Mother’s Day. It was engraved with the words, “For all time, Love Gord, May ‘79.” I still wear it on a chain, and I will always remember the Sunday, so long ago, when he humbly gave me his own watch. 

My youngest daughter, who was four months old when I received the watch, has no memory of her father ever wearing it. However, she will always associate that watch with me. An heirloom is only as valuable as the memories you associate with it. My accessory collection is brimming with generations of pieces, each with a story. It makes getting dressed in the morning so much fun. 

I already have a gift for my granddaughter’s grade eight graduation day based on the idea of creating a meaningful heirloom. My daughter will wear this item until her daughter's graduation in 2023. If there is a plot twist and my granddaughter doesn’t like to wear rings by 2023, I will select something better suited for her. My daughter is enjoying wearing this redesigned ring and might like the story to evolve in her favour.  

The idea for this gift began in 2018 when I interviewed Megan J. Hazel, a well-established Saskatchewan metalsmith, for my Saskatchewan Fashion Artisan series. Most artisans are self-employed, and I am fascinated by their business stories as well as their art. Megan works in gold, silver, and copper. She is also known for her mixed metal works. It is easy to explain an idea to Megan, and she always produces something unique. 

Megan listened to the story of my tiny, black Alaskan diamond ring with its broken 10-carat gold band. My parents presented it to me on my eighth-grade graduation day. In 1963, almost every young girl who didn’t have a black Alaskan diamond wanted one. There had been such a successful marketing campaign that even the Eaton’s catalogue offered half a page of Alaskan diamond options. 

As I get older, I see the value of shopping for gifts in my own jewellery and accessories department. As long as I have a Saskatchewan artisan to help me create magic, I will never run out of gifts to give. Megan and I have created a family heirloom from a broken ring. She is definitely part of our story. The true value of this ring will be found in the generations of memories it is growing.

Above: Three generations wearing the redesigned ring. I graduated from grade eight in 1963, my daughter graduated in 1993, and my granddaughter will graduate in 2023.  

The Megan J. Hazel Jewellery Studio is located at 3207 Quance Street, Regina, Saskatchewan. You can also visit her Shopify store and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.  

Please watch the video we created titled Megan J. Hazel Jewellery.

Extra:

My husband gave me tiny, silver earrings to wear on our wedding day. They had screw-backs, and now, fifty years later, I wanted to wear them in a new way. Megan made them into a ring for me. 

 

Below is a Megan J. Hazel original. I couldn't resist it! 

Above is my beautiful pendant from Megan's old and new copper collection. The pendant is made from old and new copper used in the Saskatchewan Legislative Building dome. She called it wearable art. I call it heirloom jewellery at its best.  

Comments (7)

  • Bev Gardner
    December 21, 2020 at 01:45 am

    Such an inspiration Maureen! And Gord has long been a precious heirloom!

  • Marion Murawsky
    December 15, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Such a meaningful thing to do with jewelry you have loved. Your daughter & grandaughter will love the ring forever!!! Megan is very talented& creative.

  • Patricia Katz
    December 15, 2020 at 08:46 am

    What a great story. I so remember the lure of the black diamond rings when I was a teenager. They were a very big deal and I admired many on the hands of others.

  • Gayle Senger
    December 14, 2020 at 03:17 pm

    Again you have inspired us to look thru our jewelry to carry on a precious memory. Very well thought out, Maureen. Your research is so valuable! ????

  • Helen Davis
    December 14, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Too often, we don’t get the stories about the jewelry that is left by a loved one. How great to redesign things to be worn today! Love seeing your pieces....and as always....hearing your stories. Priceless.

  • The Boy
    December 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

    I hope I live long enough to become an heirloom for my wife!

  • Patricia Coulter
    December 14, 2020 at 10:13 am

    In a world of mass-produced items, this is a wonderful way to honour special people with such special items.

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