For the past many months, I had been searching for a jewellery box.
My search began because of a present. For my 24th birthday in February, my parents gifted me a dainty, darling diamond ring. I wore it at all times during the day, and even slept wearing it a few nights.
But every time I took it off, I would have no choice but to abandon it to the cold and impersonal jeweller’s box it came in.
And so, for the past few months, I found myself strolling the online marketplaces, looking for the perfect box to safeguard my ring.
There was a glass box with a tiny clasp I liked, but its fragile transparency stopped me from getting it. Another was a velvet box with floral prints, but it seemed too rectangular for my round ring. I may have liked a wooden box, too, but was put off by the reviews. And thus was my hunt for the perfect jewellery box on until…
The other day I was cleaning some old and forgotten drawers with my mother. That’s when I first saw it. It was a box of the perfect everything—colour, shape, size, and even touch.
Oh but how my heart sank when I held it! The box was made in brass. It has tarnished cruelly over the years, turning a melancholic shade of blue and black.
What was there to do but to leave it in that drawer to tarnish some more? My new ring, I thought, deserved better. But the box seemed to be calling out to me.
An idea struck me—maybe I can make it shine again? I washed it with soap, but alas, the tarnish was stubborn. After all, it had taken years to form. I rubbed some toothpaste on it, as someone on the internet had suggested. Better, I thought. Then I scrubbed it with half a lemon, and even made a paste of baking soda and vinegar because why not?
The jewellery box, as you may see, doesn’t look as terrible. But the marks of age and neglect are engraved on it forever.
That day, I comforted myself with the thought that I did what I could to make it shine. I wiped it with some cotton, spread a piece of satin cloth for want of a proper cushion, and putting the lid back on, admired the parts that were tarnish-free.
But now I feel I’ve grown a few weeks wiser. I have come to accept the box for what it is and isn’t. I’ve stopped worrying that it will never shine like new.
In a way, I’m glad I found something that has known more years than myself and the ring, something that has gone through the harshness of life, something that has adapted to change instead of complaining and crumbling.
My jewellery box, still so imperfect and dull, has a whole surface beneath the one that meets the eye. Perhaps it is there to teach that beauty is not sought in shine alone. Perhaps it’s sought in places we don’t look, in imperfections and tarnish.