There’s a show I used to watch religiously in college. It had everything I looked for in media back then…an exciting plotline full of solving mysteries and chasing down bad guys, supernatural elements like scary monsters and magic, really attractive male leads… It hit all of my media needs. I was just starting to study literature in college, embarking on what would ultimately be a four year journey that would culminate in my Bachelor of Arts in English. My eyes were just being trained to see the symbolism writer’s hide around every corner of their works. In this particular show, jew elry played a huge role. That’s where I cut my analytical teeth.
Our main character wore a lot of rings and a very distinctive necklace throughout the entire five season run. In one interview, the actor explained he simply sifted through a prop box on set and decided this character was the kind of guy who would wear a lot of rings and necklaces. That was it, the entire reasoning simple and wrapped up with no greater meaning. I had spent an entire extra credit paper exploring the possibility of these rings, amulets and earrings being practical in the universe of the show, potentially blessed and used to repel vampires and other creatures of the night, and here he was dropping the truth bomb that it was an arbitrary actor’s decision as opposed to a well thought out writer’s move.
I was fascinated, though. As I moved on to other shows in the supernatural crime genre, the trend continued. Jewelry, much like in real life religious circles and in all those books I ended up studying, would always find its place in the story as a way to balance the symbolic and the practical. It certainly changed the way I thought about my own collection of pieces. While they all had sentimental value before, some being gifts, others being things I bought purely for their aesthetic, I began thinking about the associations I made when looking at them and how that changed the way I put together my outfits and chose what accessories I wanted. Earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, watches…they’re all a language, with each of us speaking with slightly different colloquialisms and dialects. The broad messages are still the same. Wherever my recently aquired degree takes me, I can at least guarantee that it’s changed the way I look at all aspects of my world.