The motivations for collecting dress can be extremely personal, and often hidden from the collector until they are given the opportunity to discuss their emotional connection to their garments.
When I started to document and photograph my vintage jewellery I realised that the impetus for my collection was my three grandmothers.
My three grandmothers were all born at the turn of the 20th century and lived in luxurious locations across the world.
My maternal grandmother, from Russian origin, left my mother in Turkey and went to live in Bombay, India, with her new husband. She would visit us in the UK every couple of years, bringing exotic gifts from India and Switzerland, where she went for ‘cures’, as they did in those days.
I always remember her 1950s jewellery and now have a few pieces, which I inherited after my mother’s death.
My step-grandmother, Greek in origin but also lived in Turkey bringing up my mother, who I had the closest relationship with, lived in Paris and the South of France.
My childhood was spent in luxury French boutiques watching her try on amazing clothes. Her jewellery was exquisite, wearing brands like Van Cleef and Arpels. Sadly I only have a few costume pieces from her estate.
On my fathers side grandmother was somewhat remote and I only vaguely remember her, but as you can see from the photograph she too was very smartly dressed.
Pearce (1990) explains that Collections can act as a validation of a personal narrative, in which individual objects act as souvenirs, reminding the collector of nostalgic memories.
I think my childhood, although very challenging, was also a period of wonder.
My motivation for collecting vintage jewellery is undoubtedly escapism.
Belk (1995) proposed that modern hedonists, driven by their emotions, live out their desires through consumption of goods.
He writes that living through collections
…provide[s] the opportunity to enjoy heightened emotions…
He continues by explaining that
this cycle of desire is likely to be rapidly re-initiated but focusing on yet another object
- Belk, R. (1995) Collecting in a Consumer Society, Oxon: Routledge.
- Pearce, S. M. (1995) On Collecting: an investigation into collecting in the European tradition, Oxon: Routledge.
- My Vintage Jewellery Store on Etsy