The item I have chosen to write about is a vintage Elsa Peretti Open Heart Pendant, which in simpler terms is a heart-shaped necklace from Tiffany and Co. I have had this necklace since I was sixteen years old, when my mother gave it to me as a birthday gift. We went together and picked it out at a vintage store while vacationing on Block Island. I wasn’t just buying a pretty necklace that day, though; I was becoming part of a long-standing tradition upheld by many of the women in my life. Each summer my family, along with many of my relatives and family friends, vacations out on Block Island. Over the years each woman, and eventually each girl, has gone to The Lazy Fish and picked out a piece of vintage Tiffany & Co jewelry.

Unlike most of my other jewelry pieces, this necklace isn’t something I wear often – in fact, I only put it on for the rare occasion. When I do wear it, however, people tend to know exactly what it is and where it came from. Tiffany & Co is such a staple in the fashion world, even in American culture at large, and my necklace is one of the most well-know designs. When people comment on the necklace they never ask where I got it or who made it, because they already know.

People who see me wearing the necklace probably assume that I bought it because of its famous association with Tiffany & Co. This is not to say that I don’t genuinely like the piece itself, but why would I spend the money on such a simple design if not for the name? Perhaps they think I like the “status” that comes with owning such an iconic piece. These presumed reasons aren’t exactly false, but the truth is that they are all secondary to the years of tradition that I became a part of when I bought the necklace. That is what it’s all about for me.