I was on my mid-year break in my final year of school when my mother and I caught the train to my hometown to see my Nanny and Poppy. They still lived in the same house my mother grew up in, on the same street with most of the same neighbours. I loved visiting them. Nanny, a marvellous baker, would always have large plastic containers full of slice she’d made for impending visitors. Chocolate slice for mum, coconut slice for dad. Every afternoon we’d make a pot of tea and sit on the back porch, listening to the birds chirping as the sun went down. One afternoon during this particular visit, Poppy went to his office to get something to show me. His ‘office’ was actually a converted a dark room from his photography days and it was shoved full of all these weird and whacky little trinkets. He loved to collect things, my Poppy.
He came shuffling back out on the porch and in his hand he had a silver coin. He said ‘Now Carly. This is a sterling silver coin and I’ve probably had it for about 20 years. I’d love to drill a hole in it and for you to wear it around your neck. The only thing is, I don’t know how much it’s worth and if I drill a hole in it, it destroys its collector value. It’s very old, it’s from 1780 and it has the queen of Bohemia on it. It could be worth $100 or $10,000, I have no idea. If you want this coin to wear around your neck, I’ll drill a hole in it right now and you can have it but if you’d rather know how much it’s worth before we make it worthless, we’ll Google it and I’ll sell it and keep the money. The choice is yours.’
It took me about 2 seconds to decide to get him to drill a hole in it. Poppy loved a bit of drama so I knew he was testing me. He took a small hand drill from his warren of treasures and drilled a hole in it right there on the porch. Then we sat side by side on his old computer and Googled how much the coin was worth. $200. I’d made a wise choice.
When we got back to Canberra, I took it to our favourite jeweller and had a heavy link soldered onto it so it would never fall off. My mother bought a beautiful chain from Vietnam for it and I’ve worn it nearly every day since then. People always compliment me on it and I love telling the story of my Poppy bribing me with it. Poppy passed away a few years ago but I still wear his necklace nearly every day and I always think about him. I also make sure to wear it whenever I see my Nanny. She loves this necklace and knows Poppy would be thrilled by how often I still wear it. I’ve run into a few coin collectors who aren’t very impressed with me, but they can get stuffed. I love this coin and I think it’s living a far more fabulous life around my neck than it would be being cooped up in some stuffy old collection display box.
I have a few other pieces of minimalist jewellery I wear often. A plain pair of silver hoops I bought on a holiday in Thailand, a silver ring with a black stone I bought in Byron Bay after a particularly successful business year and an excellent collection of Dinosaur Designs bangles that Mama Smaggle has built up for me over the years. I own (and wear) other pieces but my everyday minimalist jewellery collection is pretty perfect for my everyday needs and style. I usually wear the necklace, earrings and ring every day but the bangles only come out on the weekends, otherwise, they crash around on my desk while I’m writing and they drive bonkers.
Dress from COS
Shoes from Swedish Hasbeens
Coin necklace from Poppy Smaggle
Earrings from Thailand
Ring from Byron Bay
Dinosaur Designs Bangles from Mama Smaggle
Tips for an awesome minimalist jewellery set…
1. Pick a key piece
I started this set with my Poppy coin and worked from there. Even though it’s a subtle design, the coin itself is quite intricate and textured so my other pieces are smoother and cleaner to keep the minimalist jewellery vibe going.
2. Stick to the one metal colour
I mean if you love mixing metals go for it, but as a qualified jeweller (which I am), mixing metals makes me go all twitchy. It’s easier to pick your metal – gold, silver, white gold or rose gold – and build your collection in that one metal. That way everything goes together and if anyone wants to buy you a fancy present, they’ll always know which colour metal to go with.
3. Keep it clean
I only wear silver jewellery and it tarnishes really quickly when exposed to the elements so I keep a little silver polishing cloth in my jewellery box to give my silver pieces a quick polish if they’re looking a bit dull. You’d be so surprised by how much a quick polish can make a difference to your jewellery.
This outfit was worn for a very lovely day of writing, doing photography, planning out some business things this year. Very pleasant day. What are your weekend plans? I’m off to Bendigo for the weekend with my in-laws to see the Marimekko exhibition. It’s become somewhat of a tradition to meet up with Mr Smaggle’s parents in Bendigo to see whatever winter exhibition is on. Have you been to Bendigo? It’s gorgeous, the architecture is wonderful, there are fabulous restaurants and the exhibitions they have are always brilliant. It’s also a very walkable town which I love. There’s a park opposite the town centre that’s kind of on its way to the art gallery. Also… Bendigo Woollen Mills. Nuff said.