My Favorite... Personalized Necklace
'Entertainment Tonight' host Nancy O'Dell shares the story of this personalized diamond necklace, a gift from her daughter.
How did this beautiful necklace come into your life? "It came into my life because my daughter gave it to me for Mother's Day, it's her initial. Obviously she had a little help from her dad picking it out, because she would have been about four at the time, but they both know that anything that has to do with the kids that they give me is extra special. And I think meaningful jewelry––I see it so much around Hollywood, and the trend of jewelry with personal meaning just keeps getting stronger."
It's also such a classic piece. "And it never goes out of style, that's the thing, and that in itself is one of the reasons I love it. Because it is so classic, with a little 'A,' and I can wear it with casual clothes, I wear it with T-shirts, with dressy things, I wear it if I'm going to a cocktail party, I can wear it when I'm just hanging out in jeans, if I want to wear it with my sweatsuit...I wear it quite often, because it goes with everything. It's not so big, but it's not teeny tiny, it's got little pavè diamonds so it doesn't have a color to it––and it's got such great meaning. It almost feels like I have Ashby there with me whenever I wear it because it makes me think of her so much. She's so cute, whenever I wear it she gets all excited, she's like, 'You're wearing my A!' She's seven now. She asked me the other day if she could borrow the necklace—it actually came from Tiffany's—I was like, 'Well, let's find you another A!'"
Can you share the details of when she gave it to you? "Kids just love gifts in general, they think it's so much fun to open a present and stuff. She had helped my husband wrap it and it was the cutest little wrapping job because it obviously wasn't the most professional, which made it even more lovable and charming. She was just so excited about the wrapping paper she had put around the box itself, and opening it up. It's such a special piece of jewelry because I do remember her giving it to me and being so excited because it involved so much of her. Because she had wrapped the gift, but also because 'it meant so much to mama' because it was her initial. It was a way of connecting us, it was a great gift because of what it means: 'Hey, I want to wear this because I think about you all the time.'"
No wonder personalized fine jewelry is such a timeless trend. As you said, it goes with everything, and means so much. "Yeah, I agree. And I think it will never go out of style, personalized jewelry. And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I mean, you look at the red carpet, I see at the Emmys and the Oscars, the red carpet's filled with moms that have some personalized jewelry on with their gown, which I think is so sweet."
And for you, the necklace is really about the bond you have with your daughter, which means so much.
"Oh, big time. To see her when she sees me wearing it, 'Oh, look, mommy's wearing the gift that reminds her of me,' just to see her little face light up when she sees it on me because she knows it means, 'Look, Mommy wants to think about me all day long.' It's really special. I have two stepsons too, so I keep hinting to my husband that I need a 'C' and a 'T' too, for Carson and Tyler. It spells 'ACT!'"
Do you see this piece getting handed down someday? "I would love to be able to, I want to keep it for a long time but maybe when she has her first Mother's Day, to hand it down to her, and if she has a daughter, I've thought about that, it would be fun to give her a necklace with her daughter's initial, and also the one that has the 'A' on it. I have so many pieces of sentimental jewelry that have been handed down and they're my favorite pieces of jewelry. I have my mom's wedding ring, she passed away, but she had worn her mom's wedding ring along with her wedding ring, so I have both of their wedding rings, and mine. I also have an opal ring and the opal itself is special because my grandmother was given it when she graduated, and when my mother graduated she gave it to her, and it was given to me when I graduated from college. We had to change the gold but the opal itself has been passed down for years and years and years. I'm really into sentimental jewelry."
That really illustrates how much meaning these pieces can accumulate over time, and their role in a family. "It really does. I have pieces that my dad gave my mom, too, for an anniversary, and it means so much because it shows so much of their relationship and makes you think about them."
Can you share any styling tips for classic, personalized necklaces like yours? "Well, the great thing about it is that you can wear it with so many different things. When you have a personalized piece like that, to me, it looks really good with a V-neck or a neck that crosses, which I think kind of points, then, to the jewelry. Even on air, that's what I tell them. Necklaces, especially if it's something you really want to draw attention to, a V-neckline is the best one to wear with it. And then if you're wearing jeans and a T-shirt, a piece of jewelry is a great way to dress it up. So when you feel like being casual but don't want to feel like you just stepped out of the gym, just throw the necklace on."
What's a memorable moment that happened when you were wearing your 'A?'"I was actually at [Ashby's] school one time and I had it on, and another little kid came up to me, and she goes, 'Why are you wearing an 'A' on your neck? That's not 'M,' for momma. You're momma. So I explained, 'Well, my name is Nancy.' And she said, 'Now it makes twice not as much sense.' That was the way she said it. So I had to explain to her, 'No, this is for Ashby.' There was a lot of explaining!"
Funny! When you see the necklace what's the first word or feeling that comes to mind?"I mean, my little boo, that's what I call her. It just makes me smile. As soon as I see the necklace, it's a big smile. As they say, the love that you have for a child is one that nobody can ever describe. Until you have a kid––people tell you it's a different love you never felt before––and until you experience it, you really can't even grasp that. I mean memories are so important. It's just reliving that, and being able to look at that necklace and remember that moment and the look on her face, and seeing how much pleasure it gives her when she sees me wearing it."
Source: Nancy O'Dell, Art by Tanya Keigh Washington