When I was 15 my high school boyfriend and his family invited me on a family trip to their timeshare in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the island of St. John. In addition to snorkeling in Waterlemon Cay and out and around a little island where I came across (and touched!) a sea turtle, I had my first (and only) water trampoline experience in Cruz Bay on the other side of the island. Aside from the memories and standard tropical fun that come along with a Caribbean vacation, my then-boyfriend bought me a ring in one of the island shops.
The ring is made of yellow and rose gold, and sterling silver. According to the shop owner, this is challenging to do because each metal has a different melting point. The ring has moons and stars and a single tourmaline stone. Inside the ring is a stamp of a feather. The shop owner said the ring was made by Feather Spirit, a jeweler in Indiana who makes each piece completely unique. This is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry still to this day. Not just for sentimental reasons. All of the different metals make it match just about any ensemble.
Many years later (11 to be exact) I searched for Feather Spirit out of curiosity to see if she still sold jewelry. Back when I was a teenager I couldn’t afford her other pieces so I figured it would be nice to add another one with my adult income! I found her website and noticed she was going to be at a summer festival in Asheville. So, I scheduled a writing workshop there that same weekend and stopped at the festival where I found her booth and dozens and dozens of bracelets, necklaces, and rings with her signature moon and star symbols.
After she was done helping a few happy customers I showed her my ring and told her the story behind it, how much I loved it and her work, and told her I was interested in one of her necklaces and wanted to know the story behind it. She told me she is a poet (before I even told her I was one too!) and that the inspiration for her jewelry comes at any time of day and sometimes from her poetry. She asked me to tell her what I liked about the necklace I had picked out.
I told her I liked that there were twelve dots around a single center stone, making thirteen total. I told her that I had just reconnected with a friend from high school (now my husband) earlier that summer and that we had met each other thirteen years before. (According to her website her “designs [are] inspired by the movement of time.”)
I also liked that it was reversible! On the back I liked that there are clouds in subtle designs throughout the background. I also liked that there were two stones–sort of representing me and my love.
She refused to tell me what inspired her to make the piece and instead told me that she preferred I attach to it the story that fits me. She liked seeing the joy that her jewelry brought people. She would only tell me that she had woken up in the middle of the night with the inspiration to create this necklace–and the cloud design in particular had been part of her dream.
Earlier this year I had visited her website to see if she would be traveling through the South again, but no dates were in my area. I was toying with the idea of ordering a pair of earrings straight off the site, but I preferred to see her pieces in person. This week I visited her site again and was greeted by a memorial. Feather has passed on after fighting cancer.
I will wear both of her pieces today in her memory and in the joy she so loved spreading.