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An International Jewelry Box

This blog post was updated on October 5, 2018.

An International Jewelry Box, shutterstock:Carolyn Franks

Like many others out there, I’m a jewelry addict. I had the opportunity to travel quite a bit as a teenager and young adult. When I took my first trip to Europe (Denmark) at age 14, I brought back a handmade pewter necklace that I still have. From there, my jewelry collection grew steadily as I added more countries to my list of places traveled. I love my collection of timeless, international jewels. Here are some quintessential pieces to buy in five different countries.

Damascene (Japan)
In Japan, damascene is used in a variety of decorative arts, including objects for the home (boxes, shelves, room dividers, etc.). Smaller scale damascene can be found in the form of pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets. Motifs typically include cherry blossoms, iris, birds, butterflies, and landscapes. The contrasting gold against black lends damascene pieces an elegant, timeless look.

Taxco Silver (Mexico)
There is no better Mexican souvenir for jewelry lovers than Taxco silver. Mined in the town of Taxco (located in the hills between Acapulco and Cuernavaca, about 100 miles south of Mexico City) and shaped into inspired designs by local artisans, this stunning silver has been on tourists’ radars for the better part of the past 100 years. I wear my timeless Taxco pieces with everything.

Millefiori (Italy)
Millefiori (“a thousand flowers”) are intricate glass beads and disks that are produced in Venice (and on Murano Island) and made into colorful jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings. A hand-knotted long strand of millefiori glass beads is a classic look.

Pewter (Denmark)
Pewter jewelry is popular throughout Scandinavia. In Denmark, you can find pewter pendants, bracelets and earrings with traditional designs (wildflowers, for example) or in bold, modernist shapes. Pewter is easy to care for. Choose a design you love and enjoy wearing it for years to come.

Jade (China)
One of my favorite pieces is a vintage jade bangle from China. Depending on the age and quality of the jade, some pieces can get quite expensive. However, it’s possible to find beautiful, reasonably priced jade pieces (think pendants or earrings) that look great layered with gold chains.


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