the stories behind the stones

by haley sherif

“I meet a person, and in my mind I’m saying three minutes; I give you three minutes to show me the spark.” Amy Hempel wrote those prolific words in her short story collection The Collected Stories. I only happen to know those words because my friend, Taylor Templeton, recommended Hempel to me. Taylor has clearly shown me her spark – I have known her for over eight years now. She has always been one of those friends who knows exactly what you need to hear, who never forgets to call you back, and who is always willing to meet you for a coffee, (though that might have to do more with her voracious love for coffee).

It’s funny, often times we see the same person everyday wearing the same pieces of jewelry, but only on occasion do we ask for the story, the significance. One very cold day last week Taylor and I sat warming ourselves with tea and oatmeal and I finally asked her to tell me their stories, to tell me where each came from. I learned that the four rings she wore everyday without fail all had significance, that the necklace she wore was more than a number, that her watch held familial meaning, that none of it was solely stuff. When she was done, she said something I’ve been considering since, “all the jewelry you wear should have meaning, it’s silly otherwise.”

The ring on the furthest left, an infinity sign, is an engraved ring that both Taylor and her friend wear. The diamond band underneath the red stone is a present from her mother, while the red stone previously belonged to her mother.

This necklace’s charm, which hangs on a long brass chain – the number eight – is an old room number for the Plaza prior to its renovation. It also happens to be Taylor’s lucky number.

The watch was a gift from her dad while the ring was a graduation present from her mother – her mother has the same ring, and will give one to Taylor’s younger sister when she graduates too.