Shell Games [pt 2]

Previously, a post that was ostensibly about NOT buying a vintage abalone bracelet meandered to include photos of my shimmering walls, lamps, and bags.

Having passed up the California Clasper because the detailing was a bit too horsey and the (three) prices were a bit more than I wanted to pay, I now faced a daunting task: using the internet to find a shell bracelet that appealed to eyes, heart and wallet. And fit my wrist.

Which of course was supposed to be the EASIEST task, per Mr Vix’s well-meaning relative.

Having grown from a young child who completely identified with Goldilocks’ quest for perfection to an aging ma’am who completely identifies with Goldilocks’ quest for perfection, I was dubious.

But what the hell, it’s not like I was planning to cure cancer in my spare time. Bring on the eBay listings! Lead me to the online vendors!

I found a lot of bracelets I considered breathtaking, but none that would work for me. I was beginning to think I should have nabbed the raw materials and embraced a Rustic Chic look:

I suppose I would have been arrested had I liberated the abalone shells I saw in Point Lobos (CA) State Reserve


Since much of what I did find was too magical-in-a-nonsupernatural-way for me to simply forget, a little documentation seemed just the ticket.

Gorgeous Abalone Bracelets That Were Too Elaborate For Me

Alas, as with the bracelet I left behind—which had similarly-colored slabs—these stunners are not really one with my Minimalist Magpie side. Forget the price and size considerations: I knew I had to pass them up.

Holy moly, would you look at those hues!

Left: Snap it up. Top right: Still in play. Bottom right: Can be yours.

Gorgeous Abalone Bracelets That Were Too Large For Me (And Yet Not Wide Enough)

Why do you HATE me, Universe??!!

Yes I know this has those ball bearings I don't like, but these are more discreet

Top: $45! for both! Bottom: For those with bigger pocketbooks.

Gorgeous Abalone Bracelets That Were Sinfully Sculptural—But I Wanted Flat

Sinuous and Seductive!

Left: lower end, priceless glow ($80). Right: Higher end ($575) Geraldo Lopez.

Get two clamper cuffs and take no prisoners

Lots of these on eBay, though this one’s now gone.

But a funny thing happened as I was going ga-ga over all this luscious color. A lower-key bracelet-ring set caught the eye of my other style persona, the Contrarian Classicist. Listed as abalone but more likely to be black lip oyster, the set was all sleek curves and subtle smoky shimmer. With a chunky 1.5-inch bracelet width, hurrah!

It flashed a few colors here and there, but let steely grey and black run the show:

It reminded me of mood rings and 70s era Halston:

Halston c 1976, from the Chicago History Museum's Chic Chicago exhibit

And it made me forget all about my new WEAR COLOR IN THE WINTER, DAMMIT resolution (and purchases that enabled that resolution). In fact, it sent me straight to my beloved blacks. And greys. Ahhhhhhhhh!

The Contrarian Classicist triumphs over the Minimalist Magpie...or does she?

I can see this will be an eternal wardrobe push-pull, with each side making strong points for her case. Balance is good, of course, and perhaps the recent color and pattern friskiness has been a bit much for my poor Classicist to take. Now of course my inner magpie hasn’t given up on hoping a Lonely Abalone will find its way onto my wrist. But, well… shhhhhhhhh.

PSA: Don’t miss the other Chic Chicago photos the Chicago History Museum has on Flickr!


2 Responses

  1. Well, either you can console yourself to having fun while you look for one you like, or, have you considered visiting a bead store to buy the necessary bits yourself?

  2. Yeah, I think now that I have one I love (albeit a more sedate variety) it may make it easier to take the “nope, nope, NOPE” situation I’ve been encountering!

    You know, I hadn’t considered making one, as the style I like has the abalone set in fairly heavy silver. Maybe I will poke around and see what’s out there. [Of course I’d thought about having one *altered* but stepped away from that idea, ha! ($$$) ]

    Thanks for the idea (I think!).

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