Jewelry Kit

My mom’s first NY destination was 34th St. - Herald Square. She entered a jewelry store on 32nd St and was amazed by the hundreds of different colored beads in all shapes and sizes. She browsed the store for hours, observing the jewelry pieces. By luck, the manager noticed my mom’s curiosity and taught her how to make the most basic bracelet style, which was just stringing beads and tying a knot. Mom received a her first massive order of ~1000 bracelets to be completed within a week. After her initial success, she came home with jewelry work every Monday and finished them every Sunday. If there were defective beads, my mom was allowed to keep them. Personally, she never considered any bead “defective.” Just because the sides were a little chipped or cracked doesn’t mean they’re not pretty beads. Thus, she bought a box kit to store all her leftovers. She kept every single extra bead, everything from orange, teal, green, blue, magenta, to pearl, round, pointy, triangular, square, and rectangular. The kit soon included other jewelry parts such as metal lobster clips, rings, string chains, and pins. To this day, my mom still makes jewelry and extras continue to compile in the kit box. To my mom, this kit represents all the jewelry orders she has done. She would pick up a specific bead and smile fondly as she recalls the company order. In a way, this kit serves as a resume, even though my mom has never made one in her life. It provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Year: 1990

– Guanhua Li

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child