Guest blog written by fashion history blogger, Lydia of Lydia Loves Purple
I fell in love with it the minute I opened the box. What had me instantly was the mix of the pearl and the oyster shell. Well, it's actually an abalone shell, but the resemblance to the inside of an oyster is unmistakable. The sight of an oyster shell almost always fires happy memories of my childhood. Days spent along the "Forgotten Coast" of the North Florida Gulf Coast. As I write this post, it's been a week since Hurricane Michael devastated the beaches of my childhood. The hurricane was the third most powerful hurricane to ever hit the continental US, and the strongest to ever hit that part of Florida. The worst hit towns were Mexico Beach and Panama City, but the tiny town of Apalachicola was a victim too.
King George Shop's, Mixed Media Necklace in Lucite, by designer Catherine Page
This little town might be small, but it has so much history, and it's connection to oysters is what connects the necklace to my memories. Apalachicola sits along the Apalachicola Bay, right at the mouth of the Apalachicola River. The area abounds with seafood, which provides the town with it's most permanent industry. The seafood industry has always remained, even as other industries like logging and cotton shipping have come and gone.
Oysters were Apalachicola’s first seafood industry. Oysters were sold locally as early as 1836, harvested much the same as they are today with scissor-shaped tongs hoisted aboard shallow-draft skiffs. By 1850, oysters had begun to be packed in barrels and shipped aboard steamers headed north or to other neighboring states. - cityofapalachicola.com
As a girl my family spent umpteen hours water-skiing on the Apalachicola River, eating in the seafood restaurants in town, and playing on the beaches of the nearby island of St. George. As I mentioned earlier the region is called "The Forgotten Coast" because it's so different from the rest of Florida. It's been almost forgotten by the big city developers who have changed so much of the Florida coast. This tiny sliver of coast remains like a living time capsule, a glimpse into the past of Florida, the pre- air conditioning past, a past many of us refer to as "Old Florida".
The designer of this beautiful necklace is Catherine Page, an artist from a small Texas town. Although, I've never met her, I imagine she would love Apalachicola and find it's soul inspiring. On her website, she's quoted as saying "As in art, passion, life and fire can be found in every piece of jewelry. You have to know how to look at it." When I look at this necklace I see life, passion, and fire in the abalone shell. I see the life blood of a place, and I pray that it can be restored quickly.
Catherine's jewelry is comprised of semi precious stones, mostly found in India. Often she will work antique or re-purposed metals into her pieces. Each piece is handcrafted and no two pieces are alike. A unique, artist-made piece is exactly the type of piece that speaks to me. It tells a story, it's uniqueness makes it stand alone, and it's for those reasons a piece like this would stay in my drawer forever. I would even imagine that someday it would go to a niece or daughter-in-law who would wear it and think of me.
You can purchase more Catherine Page jewelry at King George Shop. The ladies of King George Shop have an eye for unique pieces that appeal to a woman who wants to tell a story with her jewelry. The very existence of their shop is inspired by their grandfather. The things you wear should be a reflection of who you are and what you want to say to the world. I certainly find inspiration in the pieces they choose to feature in their shop.
I know I've written about this before, but I must repeat it, sustainability isn't just about being eco-friendly or waste-free. For me, it's about telling a story and taking a piece of clothing or jewelry and making it art, an heirloom that can passed down. After all- for most of human history, clothing and jewelry were art; and art they should remain!
Also, if you'd like to help Hurricane Michael victims, a friend of mine in Tallahassee has set up a 501C3 for folks to make cash donations for storm relief. The fund will be used to purchase needed items and deliver them.
You can mail checks to:
Southern Relief Attn: Noreen Fenner
1103 Hays Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Online donations can be made at: Southern Relief, Inc.