A Blog by Any Other Name . . .

would be, to quote Vizzini in The Princess Bride, "Inconceivable!"

This is a blog for my jewelry business, but I’m starting with etymologies. Words and their families. Images and analogies. Metaphors and similes. All the ways we try to make sense of what’s around us and inside us, of what we do and what happens to us, and all the ways we try to communicate with other people about these things. Because really, selecting a piece of jewelry is not just about what type of metal looks best with aquamarine beads or which color of Czech glass to wear with navy.

It’s about meaning.

*How does this color speak to you?
*What’s special for you about this necklace?
*Why does this bracelet remind you of your dad, and how do you feel about it?
*How did you know those would be the perfect earrings for your mom?
*What will you think of whenever this pendant touches your skin?

    Words create stories, and stories help us understand ourselves and each other.

    So that’s where this blog begins.

    I’ve written elsewhere about how my upbringing led to my choosing the name Magnolia Bough. Essentially, this name commemorates a particular tree I remember from my childhood. What I didn’t know when I chose it is that the name also suggests a more general relationship between humans and trees: our word bough comes from an Old English word meaning not only “bough” but also “arm” or “shoulder” (see “bough,” Wiktionary), so the word identifies a relationship between the human body and the body of a tree.

    That’s a cool fact all on its own.

    But it gets even better . . .

    when we think about what jewelry does for us. Our word gem ultimately derives from the Latin word gemma, which means “a swelling bud” as well as “a jewel” (see “gem,” Wiktionary). The association makes sense, when you think about it: buds and gems tend to be relatively small, beautiful, and often brightly colored, and buds adorn a tree in much the same way that jewels adorn the human body. Of course, a lot of jewelry is easily removable; it isn’t an organic part of us in the way buds are of trees. But when we find pieces of jewelry that have special meaning for us, they do become part of who we are, in a way: they become part of our expression of ourselves—our tastes, our priorities, our identities—in the world.

    As I was geeking out over these etymologies, I was struck by the phrase “swelling bud.”

    Coppery-brown and green magnolia leaves frame and partially hide a magnolia blossom.

    It conveys such a sense of promise, of growth.

    And these are ideas we’re invested in when it comes to our own lives, as you can tell just by scanning the self-help shelves at your local bookstore or taking a look at what your friends are posting and sharing online. We’re all considering what we envision for ourselves and those we love, contemplating our hopes for the future, and likely mulling over what we can offer to others. In other words, we’re thinking about two kinds of promise: possibility, as we consider what we aspire to, and commitment, as we think about what we’re accountable for to ourselves and those we care about.

    And that’s where the meaning of jewelry becomes clear.

    When we choose it, when we wear it, we’re thinking about how we want to feel and how we want to appear in the world. There’s a sense of possibility: I can be stylish. I can look pulled-together. I can start again. And there’s commitment: I value myself. I’m worthy. I’ll do this for me. Likewise, when we give it as a gift, we’re communicating something important: I care about you. You’re special to me. I choose you. You’re worthy. I love you. There, too, is a powerful combination of commitment and possibility.

    I’m here to serve . . .

    women who cultivate confidence in themselves; who care deeply for other people; and who are curious about the world around us and our part in it. In other words, I’m here to serve women who value possibility and commitment, women with a strong sense of promise--their own, others', and the world's. A “swelling bud” is full of promise, and by analogy a gem is too.

    I can’t wait to see what stories we tell, what blossoms open for us, what fruit we bear.

     Magnolia leaves and a large white blossom fill the center of the photo. Part of a brick building is visible in the upper-right background.

    Looking for jewelry that expresses your own sense of promise?              Start shopping!

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