My Martinesta

Jewelry can be an amulet, a talisman, a personal symbol.

It can also be deeply rooted in lifestyle, lore and culture. The bracelet featured here is a Martinista. This jewelry fun fact came to me in a long, random chain of events for which I am eternally grateful. As it turns out, the events leading to my Martinesta make a pretty good  tip list for a Nice life.

  1. Set dreams and make them reality. Go to Cuba! Connect with culture, history and jewelers like the amazing, welcoming Jorge Gill.
  2. Wander. Happen upon Havana’s Plaza Viejo when the Congolese women are reading cards.
  3. Listen for good advice. Hear the voice of my Mom (Joeann Hofer) in my ear say, “Go get a reading from that woman!”
  4. Follow the Principle of Immediacy. I sat down, we locked eyes and she ROARS in a booming African accent, “Yo soy JOHANNA DEL CONGO!” (That name was my first clue I was in the right place at the right time.)
  5. Give, acknowledge, appreciate. Always wear give-away jewelry to thank kind people.
  6.  Practice Spanish (insert language of your choice). Receive a giant smile, booming belly laugh and the gifts of this bracelet and these words, Los ispiritus de su familia todos son aqui! Aqui!
  7. Create and sustain traditions with friends. Two weeks later spin fire at Milena’s annual Chinese New Year party.
  8. Make friends with smart, interesting non-US born people. My dear friend and party host Milena, from Bulgaria, compliments my Martinista, which I didn’t know I had.

According to Wiki and Milena, the Martenitsa is worn in Bulgaria from March 1 until the wearer first sees a stork, swallow or blossoming tree.  The name of the holiday means “Grandma March” in Bulgarian and the holiday and the wearing of Martenitsi are a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the Spring, which according to Bulgarian folklore begins in March. Here’s to coincidences, connections and always, new beginnings.

The bracelet remains on my wrist, removed only for this portrait with the baby buds on the jujube tree. When jewelry connects us to people, places, memories, ideas and inspiration, it becomes a part of our lives. Thank you for making Nice jewelry a part of yours, and for the positive change we’re making together.