When it comes to gems the hidden ones are often stories, not stones. Welcome to Demystified, where we look beyond the jewelry box, past our closets, and into the depths of our most cherished possessions to reveal their cross-cultural significance.
We could string together an entire necklace using the fine pearls of wisdom acquired over years of watching (and rewatching) Gilmore Girls, like the fact that there's no problem a pro-con list can't solve when Pop Tarts are involved. Rory also taught us that nature's most desirable nook can be found at the base of a tree — the preferred thinking spot for both Sir Isaac Newton and Buddha where one feels grounded, calm, and focused. It’s this sturdy core and its deep, cascading network of roots that make the tree a symbol of stability and strength.
According to Andrea Hauer, founder and creative director of the ethically made jewelry brand Neola, the tree stands for togetherness and "serves as a reminder that you are never alone or isolated, but rather that you are connected to the world." It's universally recognized as a source of existence and its multifaceted significance can be traced back to different mythologies and cultures. Hauer cites ancient Egypt as an example, where the tree of life motif was used to demonstrate the order, process, and method of creation. In Christianity, she says, it's a symbolic connection to divinity. After a recent trip to Bolivia, Hauer launched a collection featuring this mighty emblem after observing the way Bolivians worshipped Pachamama, the benevolent goddess known as Mother Earth. In today's critical state of climate chaos and its disastrous environmental implications, Hauer's pieces are designed to be a beautifully urgent reminder of our delicate relationship to this planet.
At the same time, the tree of life is also famously representative of our relationships with one another, from the arboreous ancestry diagrams of proud elementary schoolers to the recognizable logos of Mulberry and Timberland. The interwoven branches tell the story of how families grow and expand throughout generations, making it a natural choice for a brand like Mulberry whose entire identity is rooted in its British heritage. A statement shared with us from the luxury design house explains that "being a part of a close-knit family encouraged Mulberry’s founder Roger Saul to replicate this sense of community in his business — something that is still vital to us today.” The Mulberry logo, designed by Saul's very own sister, is a testament to this legacy. Inspired by the same mulberry trees that are still dotted throughout the grounds of the company's Somerset factories where it was founded in 1971, the logo visually translates the notion that Mulberry was built to last.
According to Hauer, Neola’s tree of life jewelry is almost always purchased as a thoughtful gift for friends and relatives. We've rounded up a number of meaningful jewelry and home decor pieces in all their bark-covered glory that will make for the perfect present this year.
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