Of Little Girls, Fathers and Birds Nests How long should you keep something that you never wear? Is it better to keep it, boxed up never to be seen again or to let it go to someone else who will wear and enjoy it? This is a question that has boggled many through the ages. This is a question about my bird nest brooch. I was around eleven or twelve when my dad surprised me with a little gift. It wasn’t my birthday or a special occasion; it was just an “I love you”, a priceless message from a father to his little girl. The gift? A now classic Bird’s Nest Brooch made by Jeanne, a costume jewelry company that started operation in 1919 and like so many others, closed up for good in the 1970s due to cheap imports from China. This beautiful piece sums up why I love vintage costume jewelry so much. The design and workmanship is impeccable. Goldtone wire is fashioned into an intricate bird’s nest. Three small eggs of faux pearls nestle inside. The mother bird is perched on the edge of the nest, hovering over the eggs, keeping them safe. It’s beautiful; it’s perfection. It’s … not my taste.
I was deeply moved by the gift. My dad, on a whim had actually gone downtown to a department store, probably Lewin’s or Woolf Brothers and on his own picked out this lovely piece for me. The trouble is that I never wore it. Oh maybe a couple of times, when it was new, to show my appreciation. But after that, the brooch was put away in my jewelry box and there it stayed.
The Bird’s Nest went away to college then came back. It went with me when I married and it moved through two apartments, 5 houses and three states over the years. Every once in a while I would take it out and smile, remembering my dad. Missing my dad. After considering whether to wear it, the brooch would always go back in my jewelry box.
When the initial idea of opening my vintage shop took shape the plan was to sell the closetful of vintage treasures that I no longer wore so that someone else could enjoy them. The Bird’s Nest was exhibit “A”. Still I felt guilty. It didn’t seem right to sell it but it also wasn’t right just to let it sit there. Now a call to action has solved my dilemma. A group of vintage shop owners from around the country is conducting a jewelry auction on Facebook to aid a much-loved member who is suddenly facing a mountain of hospital bills due to her husband’s medical condition. So the Bird’s Nest is going into the pot and, I hope, will fly away to a home where it will also be cherished and maybe even worn plus make a small dent in those medical bills. A fitting ending to the story of a wonderful gift from the best dad ever.
If you are on Facebook, please check out the auction here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.368808813263779&type=1
You will need to join the group to bid.