I’m a nature girl at heart. I love exploring gardens, forests and woods, although I do prefer the ‘objects’ I find to be made of precious metals, able to be worn, and completely inanimate. Recently I had a friend (in a relatively new relationship), who told me, that for a romantic weekend, the new love interest asked her to go camping. The last time I’d gone, I got bitten by some sort of exotic bug. It snuck up on me in the middle of the night and left welts that lasted for an entire month all over my legs.
“Wonderful idea,” I said. Perhaps the sex in the sleeping bags under the night stars that I mentioned to her was compelling enough to calm her fears that ranged from smelling like “OFF” to cute outfits for hiking to the more pressing topic of how many moisturizers and makeup you can weigh your backpack down with.
I remember going to sleep-away camp and felt nostalgic this past weekend when many of my friends were dropping their kids off ‘at the bus.’ This warm feeling waned when I recalled that they were being led to bunks with mice, one outlet for every blow dryer in the entire place, and swimming in the lake with all kinds of creatures that would keep any sane kid treading water as close to the top as possible.
The beginning of first letter home from camp to my mom when I was 11, read:” Camp sucks. (Sorry I mean stinks). I can’t believe you did this to me. Remember the bug juice at day camp, which you explained was really just like Kool Aid, well here, it has real live flies in it. Okay, they aren’t really alive. They are just kind of floating on their backs. I half expect them to be sipping out of mini straws.”
I was the one who woke up with 30 mosquito bites and had a mouse scurrying up my leg when going on overnight outings with boys and pretending to enjoy the whole thing. It was during one of these times that I found out I was highly allergic to bees or yellow jackets. I never bothered to find out the exact species of the creature as I was going into anaphylactic shock. It was embarrassing enough when my throat started closing up and my lips grew to the size of a blow fish. So while I find bees an interesting motif, I feel like I need to bring my EpiPen, even when looking at 18K gold versions.
I do have an affinity for the open weave of the web as a motif for jewelry like in Borgioni’s ring. Yet, I freak out, when, for instance, I see a spider on my NYC apartment ceiling. I usually call in my doorman to remove it before it somehow lands on my head or worse, on the couch and then crawls around only to appear on my shirt.
So, with the exception of spiders and webs, I am not really big on the creepy crawly motifs. I do like ladybugs and the memories that come from making a wish and blowing them to their next destination. I am more drawn to dragonflies, particularly Elyssa Bass’ stone set styles (same goes for butterflies such as Leila Tai’s Art Nouveau-inspired plique-a-jour versions or Mallary Mark’s Japanese inspired beauties) and when they are mixed in with stones, wood as in the designs of Wendy Yue or in the three-dimensional garden motifs of Shaill. Speaking of three-dimensional, I will take an occasional bug in the magic fairytale jewels of Vibes. Her collection is like a traipse through an enchanted forest with 18K white and yellow gold flowers blossoming, vines winding and creatures landing on her baroque pearls, raw and rose cut diamonds and newest rock crystal. A fan of H. Stern, the limited “Alice In Wonderland” collection developed in partnership with Disney and inspired by the spectacular creatures of Tim Burton’s Wonderland is magical (particularly the rose ring– and you don’t have to fall through a rabbit hole to find it).
I am completely enamored by various snake motifs and I own serpent rings from the 19th century and most recently, a contemporary version in high karat gold with colored gems on its head and black diamond in its mouth from Arman that I allow to climb up my finger as well the and the winding snake bracelet from Kathy Rose for Roseark that slithers around my wrist. But, you couldn’t catch me in 10 feet of the real thing.
Sometimes, a girl has just got to go out and smell the flowers or at least wear them. Laurie Kaiser, who has a green thumb, which she has turned to gold has created some of the most feminine yet bold pieces featuring the earthly delights of pendants with vines wrapping around trellis’ and hoops twisted like branches with blooms of different floral varieties. Luckily in her garden, I won’t need to carry my EpiPen.