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Tiny Treasures

May 25, 2008
Jewelry is a delightfully appealing way to mark a moment in time with your child.

From birth or adoption to graduation and everything in between, there are so many "firsts" to celebrate with your child: first birthday, first day of school, first time being a flower girl or ring bearer, first ballet recital or soccer game, first time being a big sister or brother--even everyday rites of passage such as losing a tooth or sleeping away from home for the first time. For all these memories-in-the-making, there's a perfect piece of jewelry to delight your child and help you cherish precious milestones--big and small.

Birthstones have a long tradition of being a cherished "first jewelry" gift. Each time your child wears her birthstone, share memories from the day she was born: "Grandma and Grandpa few all the way from Ohio just to meet you." Or: "Daddy ordered us a pizza right in the hospital!" Try a new twist on birthstone jewelry for a first-time big sister: incorporate both her birthstone and her new baby brother or sister's birthstone into one piece of jewelry. She'll feel the honor of being a big sister, connected to her new sibling, and very grown up.

Most children have at least one occasion in their lives that calls for dressing their very best, whether it's their own christening, a family portrait, first communion, a bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah, or the invitation to be part of a bridal party. For these most formal rites of passage, very special pieces of jewelry can honor family or religious traditions and mark the importance of taking part in ceremony. A luminous pearl bracelet, a tie clip accented with a small diamond, or a delicate cross or Star of David pendant can be the start of a new tradition in your family. It may even become an heirloom handed down for generations to come.

Lockets help loved ones feel close-to-heart during some of those "firsts" that can be a little bit scary. Having a picture of Mom or Dad close at hand can help calm the first-day-of-school jitters or the sleep-away camp blues. Lockets can also help ease your child's sadness if you often have to travel away from home. Tuck a tiny note inside the locket to remind your child that you'll be thinking of her every day. Lockets can also help comfort your child at times of loss. Place a picture of your child's beloved grandparent or even a favorite pet inside a locket. Share the symbolism by saying that although people and animals sometimes die, they will always be near and dear to our hearts.

Jewelry can help keep your child safe, too. ID-tag necklaces and bracelets can be engraved with your address or phone number in case your child gets lost while hiking, camping, or vacationing in a new city. If your child has a medical condition such as diabetes or epilepsy, a medical ID bracelet can help rescuers quickly pinpoint the care your child needs. Bracelets with colorful sport bands can help children overcome their reluctance to wearing medical ID. Matching sport bands with plain tags come in adult sizes, too, so the whole family can show their love and support.

Charms are an easy way to express pint-sized individuality and style. No matter what your child's interest--butterflies, soccer, hearts, bugs, cars, flowers, trains, dolphins, teddy bears, or fairies--there's a charm to capture it. A single charm makes an adorable necklace, bracelet, or anklet perfectly scaled to fit your child's body. Add charms as interests and activities develop. Before long you'll have a piece of jewelry that tells a story about your child, a story that he or she will love to hear over and over again. While you're in the doctor's waiting room or standing in a grocery store line, "read" the charm bracelet with your child. Explain that each charm is a memory that makes up the story of his or her life.

No matter what jewelry you choose, encourage your child to get creative. Wear a bracelet as an anklet or a hair tie. Try a pinky ring on a big toe. Mix and match earrings. Wear two necklaces at once, or wear one necklace as a multi-strand bracelet. Jewelry is a wonderful mix of tradition, fashion, and fun. It's never too soon to encourage your child to develop his or her own personal style.
About the Author
Jodi Goldberg is the editor of Fine Jewelry News, http://finejewelrynews.com
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