CustomMade Scholarships

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2014 CustomMade scholarship recipient:
Lydia Howery
University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Class of 2019

Something Worth More than Money

Compared to my twin sister, I wear little to no jewelry at all. I never was a big fan of it, so growing up I would end up giving the Claire’s earrings or “best friend” necklace that I got for my birthday to Chloe, my twin, so she would end up going home with double and I would end up with nothing, but looking back it was not a big deal at all. Those pieces of jewelry meant nothing at all to me. Why? Because they could always be easily replaced. Custom jewelry is not something you want to get replaced. It is something you will cherish forever because it means something to you.

After my grandma passed away, my mom was given with her favorite ring as well as other pieces of jewelry that had sat in her jewelry box for years, so in remembrance of her, she took Chloe and me to get replicas of the ring. They would consist of diamonds and sapphires from other pieces of jewelry from our past. When we were taken into the jeweler, I was amazed at how much of a choice I had when it came to the ring. Although it was a replica, I was able to make it into something that I knew I would want to wear every day. I had a say in what the piece would look like, which made a big difference.

Being able to custom design the ring made the experience all the more better. The jeweler that we went to allowed us to describe the vision we had in our minds and also offered up suggestions. The possibilities I had to design this ring were endless, so I do think that the maker influences the vision you have for your ring in a big way. They are able to take what you have in mind and make it come to life. They turn a dream into a reality. Yes, our rings were replicas so we had something to go off of, but we wanted to make slight changes and they allowed us to do that. For example, I wanted a different style and shape band on the ring, and they were able to show me what kind of styles they could do. Not knowing exactly which one would best fit and is the most comfortable wasn’t a problem for me considering they were able to take the band I liked most and make a wax replica of what the actual ring would look like. I could look at that and then make my final decisions, which made me more comfortable with my choice. If the jeweler were to be any different, I feel that the ring wouldn’t have matched up with my vision, so I am grateful for the hard work they put into it.

Although I wear my ring every single day on my middle finger of my right hand, I never truly realized how much it meant to me until just recently. In the beginning of December, I was staying at a hotel in Minnesota for a school function and I found my ring to be missing. I searched my room for hours on end, as well as the ten other people that were there with me and it didn’t turn up. I felt sick to my stomach knowing that I had lost such an important piece of me. I came to the conclusion that it must have been stolen and finally called my mom and I think that is when it really hit me because she said we could have it replaced, but it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t consist of the ring I was given to as a baby, or the only sapphire ring my grandma owned, or the diamonds from my mom’s old necklaces. It would just be a ring that was made to simply replace what used to be. Custom jewelry allows you to have a story behind the actual piece. It is no longer a materialistic thing; it is a memory from your past or a representation of who you are. It is a piece of you. That ring was a piece of my past that I planned on wearing throughout my life because of the memories attached to it. I was prepared to get a replacement, but I wasn’t happy about it.

Once home, my mom looked through my belongings and within minutes she had found the ring. I was so happy I could have cried. I have never been a big fan of jewelry and since I had had the ring for a good amount of time now, I think I forgot how much it truly meant to me. When surrounded by my friends that were helping me look for it, I tried to remain as calm as possible, shrugging it off, because I didn’t think they would understand what it meant to me and my family, but I was wrong. They felt a sense of relief when I said I found it because they knew how important it really was to me, even though I was trying not to show it. It is strange to think that all these feelings and emotions can come about simply because of a ring, but it did and I am thankful for it.

In the end, you don't have custom jewelry made for you just because it’s expensive and you can show it off. You don't have it made just because. You have it made because you have something you want to symbolize. You have a vision in your mind and you wish to make it more than that. While creating your piece, others get involved and understand the importance of it, which demonstrates how much more the piece of jewelry is worth. There are memories behind the meaning of the jewelry and there are memories from the actual making of it as well. It ends up meaning so much more than you think, whether you realize it or not. Your custom jewelry will represent something that you wish to remember always.