There are some pieces I come across that move me. I mean really move me. This JJ Jonette pin from 1988 depicting a crowd of people is one of them.
This piece really exemplifies why I feel such a deep connection with vintage jewelry. It takes me back to another time (I would have been four years old in 1988) when we didn't question closeness. When we didn't wear masks. When we didn't keep our distance from one another. When being a part of a crowd was normal and natural. When being together was simply...human.
The pieces we wear sometimes reaffirm who we are. They are the rings we slip on and suddenly feel "ourselves." They are the necklaces we never take off. Other times, jewelry can be aspirational. It can remind us of who we want to be. Enable us to dream. To feel grand. To imagine. To escape.
What strikes me about this piece is that in 1988, it would have been interpreted as the former--a simple statement on humanity as it was--a group of eight people, strangers, perhaps, rubbing shoulders nonchalantly with the rest.
In 2020, though, this piece has suddenly become an aspiration. A vision of togetherness. It makes us dream of the world as "normal" again. It makes me yearn for a time when I can rub shoulders again with strangers on the crowded New York City subway and not think about how my mask makes my glasses foggy or if I should get off the train car and move to a less crowded one.
It makes me remember a time when we took for granted how simply we were able to be. Together.