Growing up, the ocean was my talisman. My maternal grandfather is a retired Navyman, and my dad has been a SCUBA instructor since before I was born. (Shameless Seattle promotion: he owns a SCUBA shop, Bubbles Below, on the eastside.) My childhood summers were often spent on the beaches of Puget Sound, watching my dad walk into the water and, hours later, come out with beauties from the depths for me to touch and learn about. If I wasn’t there I was on one of the San Juan Islands, running from dock to dock and chatting with all of the fisherman my grandparents knew. Though I never learned to like most seafood, I did learn to love the water and everything that it represented to me.
Sea Urchin Spine Necklace by Star of the East: $27
When the octopus and anchor trends started up I was ecstatic: finally, a fashionable way for me to embrace some of my favorite memories! At the same time, the cheap metal jewelry and uninspired sailor outfits just didn’t do it for me. Though I kept looking for that perfect anchor necklace, I always came up short.
Finding Etsy, though, gave me a whole lot more to work with. The anchor trend was fading (though octos were still all the rage) and I suddenly had tons of unique options – most of which were in my price range – from designers who wanted to make jewelry with anchors and sailing-inspired outfits.
Captured Pearl Earings (gold) by Precious Meshes: $56
Instead of giving into a trend, I began to build an arsenal of interesting, artistic work, much of it from the Pacific Northwest and other coastal areas. I’m still building that arsenal, and more often than not ocean-inspired jewelry, clothing and housewares dominate my Etsy favorites page…
Hello Sailor Maillot (custom sized) by Miss Branche: $115
I don’t know that I could ever live, long-term, in a place that doesn’t have a large body of water nearby. The ocean – or the Sound, if I can’t get to the coast - is the one surefire way to calm my worried mind. I’ve grown up with it almost as if it’s a cousin to me – and I can’t imagine being without it.
ANCHOR (sterling silver) by Charms4You: $9
**EDIT:** Check out two more sail-inspired pieces – a vintage nautical dress and sailboat necklace, both from the seventies and in beautiful condition - at Debutante Clothing. It looks like Sailing Away wasn’t just on my mind…