Trisha Okubo, Designer at Maison Miru
Your wedding day may be your big day, but let’s be real: it takes a village to make your dreams a reality. And more likely than not, your bridesmaids did more than their fair share to make it happen. Your bridesmaids planned your bridal shower (hello, all of the finger sandwiches and little cakes you can eat). They tried on armloads of potentially unflattering dresses under equally unflattering fluorescent dressing room lighting – all without a whiff of complaint. And they signed up to stand by you and attend to your every need on your big day (including, perhaps, holding your dress as you went to the bathroom). How do you thank your best girls for everything they do for you? Give them the gift of jewelry: something that they’ll be able to treasure long after you say “I Do.”
When I was searching for the perfect gift for my bridesmaids, I considered just about everything that I thought they’d love. A luxury spa day? Relaxing and certainly a treat, but it’d have been a repeat of one of our pre-wedding activities, and it’s only ephemerally enjoyable. Dinner at a fancy restaurant? Likewise, it’s fun in the moment, but it’d only last a single evening. A box of chocolate truffles? Delicious, but ultimately not long lasting. A luxurious robe? This fit the bill as a treat that they probably wouldn’t splurge on for themselves, but it’s so hard to get sizing right, and any wearable gift is wrought with potential figure flattery issues. Nobody wants to be the girl who accidentally bought her friend a robe a size too big. Tickets to an event? It’d need to be customized by bridesmaid to match her interests, and it’d be difficult to keep the gift equitable price-wise between bridesmaids. Way too complicated.
But when I hit upon jewelry, I knew I had a winner. Jewelry is the perfect accessory, as it works for everybody without worries about offending people with the wrong size! Jewelry never met a body type it didn’t like, and it doesn’t discriminate. Plus, it’s timeless. Clothing fades and goes in and out of style, but a beautiful piece of jewelry can be treasured for years to come.
Most importantly, jewelry carries the weight of meaning. Jewelry can say things for you that you may find hard to say. Hearts say “I love you,” an eye symbolizes protection, and a moon symbol recalls intuition and clarity. The gift of jewelry is a tangible symbol of your friendship, a piece of love that you can hold in your hand. When you wear it, you’re reminded of all of the things you’ve been through together: staying up until dawn talking about life, that road trip you took right after college with more than a few mishaps (and manhaps!), and how you were lucky enough to share your big day with your best girls in the world.
I got married before I became a jeweler myself, and I ended up commissioning a designer friend to make bespoke friendship necklaces for each of my best girls, as I couldn’t find anything out there that was just right. After I became a jeweler, I set out to design a series of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings imbued with meaning, so that you could choose the right symbol and message for each of your friends. At Maison Miru, I wanted to create a luxurious, adult version of the friendship jewelry that we all exchanged on the playground with our friends – those lanyard style bracelets that we tied on each other, promising each other that we’d always be there for each other. I wanted to create jewelry that could truly be Love Made Visible.
When shopping for your bridesmaids, your budget will help dictate the kind of jewelry you can afford to buy. When looking at jewelry, you’ll want to be aware of metal composition. Be aware of metal allergies – many ladies have allergies to nickel, so you’ll want to look for jewelry that doesn’t contain any nickel. Solid gold (or sterling silver) is the most long lasting, but also by far the most expensive. For brides on a tighter budget, look for gold plated pieces with a thick plating that will extend the life of the jewelry. My goal at Maison Miru was to keep the pieces affordable (weddings can be SO expensive!) – so our series of bridal jewelry features a thick plating of 14k gold over solid brass, all nickel-free. But if you can afford to spend a little more, gold filled pieces (which are similarly gold over a base metal, but must be at least 5% gold) can be a good compromise as well.
If you choose a piece of jewelry that has shared meaning for you and your friend, something that makes you both smile, it’s hard to go wrong. And if you’re very very lucky (as you were, when you found your husband-to-be), you’ll pick a piece that she’ll treasure forever.