Jewellery has been used throughout history to form a connection within a family to be passed down through the generations. If enduring the last two years with its inherent separation and isolation has taught us anything, it’s how important these connections are. Here we examine the special role children’s jewellery plays in capturing memories and immortalising family bonds.
1/2 MY JEWELLERY SHOP, 9CT YELLOW GOLD FLATTENED BALL STUDS
Children’s jewellery market booms during pandemic
As alluded to earlier, the separation families endured due to pandemic lockdowns caused many to take stock of what’s really important, and for many it is their loved ones. This had a noticeable impact on the children’s jewellery market with all the jewellers we spoke to for this article agreeing that they saw an increase in demand for children’s jewellery during the pandemic – especially with personalised and specialty jewellery.
David Paterson of Melbourne-based jewellers Paterson Fine Jewellery said that since families were unable to unite and celebrate special occasions together, the gifting of jewellery became more popular. “We saw increases in demand for our premium children’s jewellery range, My Little Angel,” he said. “Especially pieces that could be engraved, like our brooches, bracelets and signet rings. We also saw an uplift in bangles and initial jewellery.”
Sarah Saputra is founder and CEO of Sydney-based personalised jewellery brand Belle Fever. She said the physical separation of families was probably felt most keenly by the older generations.
“A number of grandparents created custom pieces to comfort their grandchildren while they could not meet as a reminder of their love,” she said.
Founder and owner of Gold Coast-based online jewellery store and physical store My Jewellery Shop Catherine Pevy-Trewartha also applauded grandparents for their part in bolstering the children’s jewellery sector during the pandemic. They found grandparents favoured bracelets, initial necklaces, and fun enamel earrings to post to their grandchildren to remind them they are loved.
2/2 BELLE FEVER JEWELLERY, FAIRY NAME NECKLACE worn by Riley @my.tribeoftwo
Children’s jewellery as precious heirlooms
In the 2016 journal article “It’s From My Grandma” by Petra Ahde-Deal, Heidi Paavilainen, and Ilpo Koskinen, the authors discussed how pieces of jewellery were like containers for memories. These ‘containers’ helped mothers in particular maintain, organise and work through memories to pass them on to their daughters, just as their mothers and grandmothers passed them on. Our contributors well know the potential for their pieces to become such heirlooms.
Sarah said that the meaning of a piece of jewellery goes beyond its physical beauty.
“It’s about memories and stories. An important event in a child’s life can be remembered by preserving the memory of a lost family member, a happy moment, or a momentous occasion.”
She said Belle Fever boasts a large selection of personalised jewellery designs that will last for generations, and just like Ahde-Deal et al’s article described, Sarah said their pieces capture special family moments through inscribed messages, photos and dates.
“Among the designs that have been passed down through the generations are family trees, which can also have inscriptions added as new generations join the family. Making personalised jewellery that bridges the gap between family, love, and life is our mission.”
Catherine said My Jewellery Shop is a family business, and as such, they can cater for multiple generations of the same family, and both parents and grandparents enjoy selecting something that can be handed down.
At Paterson Fine Jewellery, David included religious jewellery in the range as many families prefer to mark special religious milestones with jewellery. He says it’s essential for retailers to offer a range of quality kid’s jewellery.
Ranges for all ages
Children’s jewellery crosses a number of age groups – some who have buying power (or pester power) and some who drive purchases simply by gurgling adorably in their cots.
The baby range has stayed remarkably consistent over the years. “Baby brooches, signet rings and bracelets are traditionally gifted as first pieces of jewellery,” said David. “They are often held with significance for being ‘the first’ and passed down through generations.”
As children grow and become more exposed to trends and influencers via social media, the category of ‘children’s jewellery’ becomes blurred. Some parents eagerly introduce their children into grown-up trends, such as Pandora and Thomas Sabo charms, at an early age. Charms remain a popular category for children between the baby and tween age.
The tweens sector is where trends move fastest and a savvy retailer has to stay abreast of both what’s happening with the ‘insta-famous’ and fads that might be raging through school playgrounds.
Memories of a Disney kind
Couture Kingdom offers licensed Disney jewellery that provides families with a different set of shared memories – their favourite heroes and villains.
“Disney, at its core, celebrates family,” says Couture Kingdom’s Ryan Ridikas. As such, the jewellery offering has pieces aimed at both children and adults. “Whether it’s the classics such as Minnie and Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh, or the more modern Toy Story styles, family is at the heart of all our pieces,” Ryan said.
While other jewellery pieces for children might celebrate a particular event or milestone in their lives, there’s no reason why that milestone can’t be a shared movie memory. Any parent who has sat through infinity-thousand re-watches of whichever Disney movie might be imprinted on their child’s mind at the moment understands how thoroughly those Disney characters can inveigle themselves into family life.
“Our jewellery is based on nostalgia,” said Ryan. “Having a jewellery piece from a favourite movie or a trip to Disneyland brings back fond memories. Wearing or seeing a piece like that takes you back in time to relive and reflect upon a precious moment.”
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