Bullet Casing Jewelry

Necklace and ring made of shells and bullet casing. These were my mother’s. A gift from my father, made for her when he was in the South Pacific, at war.

I don’t ever remember Mother actually wearing these, but I loved to look at them. My father designed our house and among other touches just for Mother (the kitchen was a wonder), he built a jewelry case into their master bedroom. The case was made of teak, modern and unadorned, set into the countertop. Lift the lid and there were the treasures, nestled in little compartments. I think that reveal, from the plain wood to the opals and myriad earrings, made magic.

I’m going to digress for a moment. We lived in a subdivision called “Paramont Heights, Homes with a View.” Daddy, architect that he was, cared deeply about how the house looked from the outside as well as inside. I often heard him comment on ugly houses with windows stuck here and there, no thought to outside appearance, just to inside expediency. For us, he designed a long low rancher framed in steel (at the time heating was cheap.) The steel was unusual; when it started to go up, the neighbors thought it was going to be a filling station. In any case, architectural beauty demanded two floor to ceiling windows in the front, connected by a long wall painted a lovely green. One window looked into the entry and livingroom, as might be expected. The other peered into the master bedroom. Houses with a view, indeed!

Back to the jewelry. Mother simply told us that Daddy made them when he was stationed on a ship in the Navy. After she died, I was going through the piles of cards and pictures (she kept everything) and I came across a thank you letter she had sent him. The necklace was a first year anniversary present. You can imagine how I treasure them.

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