Uncommon Belongings A peek at our secret trove and the special stories behind it

Bracelets by Graziella Laffi, 1960s

Our personal jewelry boxes become an autobiographical reflection of ourselves. Delicate fringe against sturdy silver. Bakelite stacked with wood and papier-mâché. A beaded talisman from an exotic land. Some pieces are functional. Others are pretty to admire from afar. It’s true we even acquire pieces that question our taste. Yet somehow, these treasures just work together because we chose them.

We are what we wear. And what we wear can be a look into our private selves.

Ring compendium, 20th Century

It's truly amazing that a predetermined form as small as a ring can mirror the complex events that dominate and shape our lives, and yet that is precisely what they do.

Barbara Cartlidge
Delicate scarab beetle belt — the Ancient Egyptian representation of rebirth, 1920s

We are what we keep. And what we keep doesn’t have to fit a mold, a style or a trend.

Digital archives are no replacement for the real thing—it’s only in a private visit to a secret hoard that history, humanity and passion are let loose to inspire, inform and entertain again.

In Safe Hands, Monocle 2018
Rooster fur clip, France, 1950s