I'm always on the lookout for unique and simple jewelry and accessories that make a statement ... something that symbolizes who I am (or a part of who I am). On my right wrist, I wear a black scrunchie for a simple and quick method of practical hair management and a piece of tie-line (the most common type of rope used in my business) that is tied into a bracelet using a double-fisherman's knot, which is a useful and attractive slipknot. The tie-line, in case you haven't figured it out, symbolizes my work as an electrician and rigger in the entertainment industry. On my left wrist is a very small and delicate, yet industrial-looking watch with a black rubber band, and a white face with plain, no-nonsense numbers and a hardy, brushed steel/silver-looking head, which just feels very "me" - small and delicate-looking but hardy and practical and no-nonsense. Around my neck I wear a very simple poly heart/infinity pendant in silver and copper (a nice, industrial metal). In my ears, I wear my birthstone, a dagger, a tiny pair of handcuffs, a tiny crescent wrench, and one long earring that gets changed out but is usually a chain-like design, all in silver.
My jewelry and acessories tell a story of who I am. They symbolize those parts of myself I most strongly identify as - polyamorous, kinky, strong, self-reliant, a technician. The birthstone is a throwback to my woo-days, but it's still a representative stone. It's a deep, deep red, almost black. In fact, it usually looks black unless you get it in just the right lighting conditions, then it looks black with red highlights. It's not a precious stone, it's not very expensive, but it's hardy and simple and dark. I don't like expensive jewelry, and I don't like "girlie" or flashy or sparkly stuff. I do like black and red - in fact, out of the handful of people who have even *seen* me in color, that color is almost always red, but usually, I'm very monochrome with my all black clothes and silver accents. I no longer believe in the woo regarding birth signs and stones and such, but I still retain an emotional attachment to my birthstone. The fact that I think the stone is pretty helps (if my birthstone were a diamond, I would have disowned it as a teenager).
I also have really, really long hair, and it often gets in the way, but I don't like wearing my hair up in clips or ponytails. It takes a great deal of effort to get my hair looking nice in some kind of updo because of the length, and because it's very fine, I get a lot of flyaways and this horrible Florida humidity actually manages to make my straight hair friz, if you can figure that one out. Plus, the weight of it just pulls it out of any hairstyle after a few minutes anyway. But, occasionally, I do pull my hair back into a low ponytail with my scrunchie, and even more occasionally, I do pull it up or back for a dressy style, especially if I'm dancing, since the length of my hair actually causes me to hit my partners when I spin.
But I'm never satisfied with hair accessories. They're always so girlie. Plus, they rarey hold my hair. I like black and I like silver, but black doesn't show up in my hair. I hate yellow gold with my skin tone, and anything with color in it can only be worn with outfits that match that color and I don't like sparkly, sequins, or glittery. I like simplicity in my accessories, understated elegance. And, of course, function. There's nothing more unattractive to me than fashion without function.
So, my aunt has very fine yet very curly hair that she says nothing will stay in. Clips and barrettes all slip out. But she found this one particular barrette that she says holds her hair very well, plus she likes how it looks. So she sent me a link and I checked it out, always on the lookout for any kind of hair clip that won't slip down my very straight hair or won't fall down with the weight.
This brand, called Flexi-8, advertises that they are specially made for very straight, very fine, very thick, and/or very curly hair. They don't slip, they hold weight, and they can even accomodate very, very long hair. One of their video tutorials actually shows a girl with hair past her waist, as long as mine, and how to use this clip with hair that long.
So I was impressed. Then I saw the designs.
Many of the designs are too "girlie" for my taste, and many come with colors. But the majority of the designs have, what I call, understated elegance. I think they are very simple and delicate looking, enough for the most dressy of occasions. But, even better, they're poly-friendly!
As you may have guessed by the name, they use a figure 8 pattern. Basically, imagine a figure 8 on it's side (in other words, the infinity symbol). Now imagine bending that 8 to curve around a bun or a twist in the hair, and slipping a hairpin like a chinese chopstick through the loops but under the hair. Now, to add fashion to the function, put a symbol at the center intersection of the figure 8. Can you guess where I'm going with this?
That's right, there are a handful of designs that have a heart in the center of an infinity symbol.
So, we have here an accessory that combines function with fashion, and incorporates a symbol that I find very near and dear to my own heart, one that I already wear to signify who I am and would therefore wear in another form when applicable (such as my heart/infinity earrings and my polo shirt with the heart/infinity on the left breast, and my high-top converse with the heart/infinity on the ankle). What's so great about the heart/infinity design, is that people who wish to remain "discreet" about their polyamory can still wear this symbol and those not-in-the-know won't have a clue. It's just pretty.
I have not purchased one yet, so I can't vouch for their performance, but they do come highly recommended by my aunt, who says she wears nothing but this brand of hair clip since she discovered them. I find several of the designs to be pleasing, and they're fairly affordable, so I plan on purchasing some soon. So I will recommend them on their appearance and the hidden poly-meaning that I can assign to it. Below are some pictures of some of the heart designs I found. I think you can click on the pictures to make them bigger if you want.
**EDIT** Here's a review for the Flexi-8 hair clip by a real person, not a paid advertisement: http://decoratived.blogspot.com/2009/05/flexi-8-hair-clips-arrived.html
And since I'm sharing poly-friendly accessories, I found these earrings at Walmart. They're a circle of linked hearts and the whole thing is plated with an irridescent, rainbow finish. In particular, I like the queer-friendly tone with the rainbow finish, but the iridescence is a lot less cheesy than if it were painted with primary colors. The flash really doesn't showcase the iridescence very well, but the little bit of earring on the right shows it off a little better. In person, the heart earrings look more rainbow-ish than they do in the photo.
I'm also thinking of trying to design a series of earrings that will be a simple string of beaded birthstones for which the wearer can change out themselves, thereby keeping up with changes to the romantic network without having to buy all new jewelry. Sort of like a DIY Mother design, y'know the type that's sold for moms to have birthstones of all their kids? It's been remarked on in the past that these Mother rings and necklaces would make great poly jewelry because you can have a birthstone for all your partners, or everyone in the network, or whatever.
My problem with these items is that they're usually very expensive and I haven't had a network stable enough to justify spending the amount. My network is always changing, and it is set up intentionally to be able to change, so the last thing I want is to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of jewelry that will symbolize something that doesn't exist in a year. But if I come up with an earring design or a pendant design that uses birthstone beads, that somehow allows the wearer to mix and match and change out the beads him or herself, I think this would be much more practical for someone like me. Sort of taking the charm bracelet concept and applying it to a birthstone pendant or a set of beaded earrings. And then each wearer can add, subtract, or arrange the birthstones in whatever configuration has the most significance to the wearer.
If I get around to finishing this design, I'll post about it so anyone who is interested will be notified.