Grit Charm banner image

Buying yourself jewellery: how it empowers women and brings control

living creatively
by holly TUCKER


Want to know why I think self-purchased jewellery is so empowering for women? Let me share my story...

The power of self-bought jewellery

Buying jewellery as a symbol of empowerment is something the women in my family understand. My jewellery obsession began when I was given a beautiful gold bracelet with about 15 wax seals hanging from it by my mother, whose mother had commissioned it. In fact, I have a 1920s oil painting of my grandmother actually wearing it, and I often used to wonder how she felt when she bought it. It made me realise the power of a piece of jewellery, and how it holds the story of ‘us’ that we can pass on to future generations. Jewellery is a time capsule in a way, isn't it? An everlasting scrapbook. I feel it’s a feminist act to buy it for yourself so that women's stories are written too — and I'm not alone in thinking this either.

Buying jewellery for yourself combines self-love and self-expression

One of my favourite jewellery designers, Annouska (whose Conversations of Inspiration podcast episode is so insightful on this subject) says that over 70% of her jewellery is bought by women for themselves. And that really rang true for me. From the early days of notonthehighstreet, I would celebrate milestones with jewellery; an investment in the business or something we’d accomplished, almost like a medal for all the hard work. When I got my MBE, I saved up for years and bought myself a Bulgari ring and it’s one of my prized possessions which I hope to give to a granddaughter one day — a physical reminder of the possibilities for women.

Why is buying yourself jewellery empowering?

For some of us, owning our own jewellery is a major motivation to succeed. The notion of waiting for someone to buy you the precious stone or the sparkle of a diamond when you are already shining so brightly means that you lose power and strength somehow. Actually, taking control of when you sparkle is a really empowering act and also for me, incredibly motivating because I’m such a magpie! The thought of going to Hatton Gardens in London and discovering the Aladdin's caves there — seeing lockets and all those precious things that women have worn in centuries before us — it's enticing. I want to carry their stories with me and I always think of the person behind every piece.

Challenging traditional narratives: finding strength in women’s jewellery

There’s also the psychological impact of adorning oneself with jewellery you’ve bought yourself — it’s like armour. Jewellery can be a form of self-expression and empowerment for women. Talismans and charms can give us confidence, a feeling of self-worth and strength. They help heal us somehow and remind us that we’re capable; more than capable. Unstoppable.

The benefits of self-gifted jewellery

I think that challenging traditional narratives has really never been more important. When you buy yourself a ring or a necklace, you’re showing the autonomy of your choices and expressing your individuality; breaking away from the notion that women need to wait for others to validate their worth through jewellery. It shows that we’re financially independent and capable of putting ourselves first, countering societal expectations and stereotypes, which I love.

Supporting female independence

It’s also highly significant for women to support women-owned businesses and to plough money back into independent brands as well as the female economy. Especially if it’s ethical jewellery that doesn’t harm the planet. Those are rock solid reasons to shop for yourself, guilt-free. It’s a choice that you’re also using to support, empower and lift other women in their journeys. It shows you’re not afraid to embrace your own wants, celebrate your worth and make a feminist choice. And truly, what could be more precious and valuable than that?

Holly's signature