When we were young, all we thought about was growing up. I couldn’t wait until I was older and to me, twenty-four seemed like the perfect age if I had to stay at one forever. In my head, twenty-four was old enough to be allowed to do anything in any country, you’re still in your early twenties and you’re taken seriously as an adult. Well, I’m two years off turning twenty-four and all I want is to be eighteen again. Young, foolish and with no real responsibilities!
Before I bore you with how hard it is being an ‘adult’, growing up and coming of age is extremely important to any young person. The teenage years are always a struggle and when you hit a certain age, it feels like you’re blossoming from a child into an adult, into a world you can’t wait to be a part of. These milestone birthdays and events mark the passage from childhood to adulthood and what better way to mark the occasion than with one-of-a-kind jewellery?
When choosing a present to celebrate one’s coming of age or milestone event, it’s important to consider a number of things. Firstly, consider age. Birthdays are always the best opportunity to mark someone’s coming of age. For example, I have three rings that I love and wear everyday that were given to me by my parents on my 16th, 18th and 21st birthday. They haven’t left my hand since I got them and they are incredibly meaningful.
Secondly, think of significance. What is the significance of this gift? Is it a keepsake for them to remember you by and pass down to their children as an heirloom? Or is it a gift with no real meaning that they’ll grow out of?
Finally, make it last. You’ll always remember what you were given on a special day. It’ll become the first thing you say when complimented on it. “I love your ring!” “Thanks, I got it for my 18th birthday.” I’ve heard that more times than I can count.
Pick jewellery that will last a lifetime and perfectly marks their coming of age. Still looking for ideas? Take a look at these unique one-of-a-kind pieces from JewelStreet independent designers:
Sweet 16 / Sweet 18
Sixteen and eighteen are milestone ages, the former for Americans and Canadians and the latter for the British. These ages mark the blossoming from childhood to adulthood and the added freedom that comes with these ages. Sixteen and eighteen are also the ages where people are becoming more interested in giving jewellery as a gift. For her, I would suggest her first diamond. Diamonds are beautiful and personal gemstones that are coveted and desired by millions. Giving a diamond is a sentimental and meaningful gift, as well as a perfect introduction into the world of jewellery.
For him, a signet ring. Signet rings are not only fashionable but are highly personal and gives him a constant link to his family. Keep it simple with a block colour and plain design or make it personal with engravings. Consider his initials or the family crest for a sophisticated and timeless present that he’ll wear and cherish forever.
Key to the door
The age old saying when someone turns twenty-one is: “He’s got the key to the door/ Never been 21 before.” This song has been around for generations and has become a superstition and tradition in many households. When someone turns twenty-one, they are usually given the keys to the family home to symbolise their maturity and independence at this new age. This may have been the case decades ago, but now why not symbolise it with jewellery? Give your son or daughter the ‘key to the door’ on a necklace, earrings, cufflinks or bracelet.
Many cultures and religions celebrate an adolescent’s coming of age and maturity with ceremonies and celebrations. These festivities tend to include gifts to mark the occasion and jewellery is the go-to gift. Bat and Bar Mitzvahs are Jewish coming of age rituals for girls and boys, typically when they turn twelve or thirteen. Pearls are a gift often given, as are personalised name necklaces with his or her Hebrew name inscribed.
In Christianity, confirmation is a religious ceremony confirming a young person’s faith in the Catholic or Protestant church. Ages range for this ceremony but it usually takes place during early adolescence. Charm bracelets are often given and jewellery with cross symbols are frequently gifted to mark the occasion.
Going to university
While this isn’t a ceremony or a birthday, leaving school and heading to university is a big step in becoming an adult. For a lot of people, it is there first time living away from home and looking after themselves rather than relying on their parents. Other than a survival kit and a lifetime’s supply of noodles, a small piece of jewellery makes the perfect gift for marking this milestone. Pick a personalised gift, like an engraved bracelet or a locket with photos in, so they have you with them always.