My mom first gave me this necklace when I was about 5 years old.
She gave it to me for protection because I thought I had seen a ghost. (If you're actually interested in hearing the ghost story, you can just skip to the bottom of the article.)
She never told me why she gave it to me, she just told me to wear it.
And it always struck me as a little odd that there were three pieces of jade on this necklace - all of the jade necklaces I had seen people wear only ever had one piece of jade. It was as if she thought I needed the extra protection.
My mother has a lot of stories about pieces of jade jewelry. She has stories about how pieces of jade jewelry have saved people's lives.
I don't remember all of them, but they all go something like this - 'You know so-and-so? Well, she was moving some things around in her closet when a heavy, metal box fell down and hit her wrist and broke her jade bangle. If it weren't for the jade bangle, the box might have killed her.'
I don't know if I believe all of that, but I guess the point is - my mother gave me this necklace because she loves me and wanted to protect me, so really, it is a symbol of her love.
I think because I knew that she gave it to me for protection, I got used to the idea of never taking it off and have now been wearing it for about 34 years.
The only time I've taken it off was to go to prom (it just didn't match my dress), and to take these pictures I'm showing you.
Over the years, it has become for me, a symbol of connection to my family. It gives me a feeling of belonging and being a part of my family. In fact, I feel that there is something missing when I'm not wearing it.
Sometimes it seems like jewelry can develop a kind of 'life' or 'spirit' when we wear them long enough and when they have come from someone special.
Thank you for reading my story! If you have an interesting jewelry story, please let me know - I'd LOVE to hear it.
P.S. Here's the ghost story, in case you were curious...
I don't know if you believe in ghosts or not, but when I was a little kid, I sure did.
It happened in my first house in the suburbs of Alhambra, California. There was always something creepy about that house - I just couldn't put my finger on it, but I often felt frightened for no apparent reason.
I shared a room with my sister and we always had a night light on between our beds. One night, I woke up and looked up at the foot of my bed and thought I saw my mother there (or a 'doppelganger' of my mother, if you will).
She was wearing a yellow sundress and a straw hat, but then I realized that she had no eyes - there were just black holes where her eyes should have been. My mother also never wore yellow sundresses or straw hats and it would have been a weird thing to wear in the middle of the night anyway.
I looked over at my sister and tried to call her, but she seemed sound asleep and I couldn't get any sound to come out of my mouth anyway.
At this point I freaked out and turned my head towards the wall. I remember sweating profusely and being frozen with fear.
When I turned back around, I saw that the ghost had come closer to me, along the edge of the bed, and she seemed to be lifting the edge of the blanket.
At the moment I saw her last, she was standing at the end of my bed again and then slowly tipped over sideways, straight, like a falling tree, and disappeared into the floor.
After she vanished, I hid in the blankets for a minute or two before attempting to run to my parents' room. When I finally got the nerve to go, I stepped carefully around the area where it looked like she had fallen.
Of course, when my mom brought me back to my room and turned on the light, there was nothing there.
But, maybe she was a little superstitious, too, because about a week or two later is when she gave me this special jade necklace to wear for protection.
The other thing that makes this necklace a little special is that I'm pretty sure my mom didn't just go out and buy it. I'm not sure where it is from, but a lot of the jade pendants in our family were purchased in China and passed down from older generations.
When I was a kid, sometimes my mom would take this small box out of a hidden safe under our carpet and show me all these things that were like family heirlooms.
There were jade pieces in the shapes of various animals and a couple of gold rings that belonged to family members who passed away (we never buried gold jewelry with the deceased, as my mother's family was very poor).
One day, I will ask her who owned my jade pieces before she gave them to me.