One of our favorite parts of working in the jewelry industry is the front row seat we have to the incredible stories that many pieces of jewelry carry as they are passed from one generation to the next. In many cases, the collection and love of jewelry is handed from mother to daughter, in the case of Matney Neatherlin, it began even earlier than that.
Matney’s maternal grandmother and namesake started the sparkling legacy and love affair with jewelry in the 1920’s. Matney’s mother, Mary Faulkner, inherited numerous pieces of fine jewelry who in turn handed many of them down to Matney and her sister over the years.
On her 21st birthday, Matney received a set of ruby and diamond earrings along with a ruby and diamond pin that had originally been a broach signed by Cartier himself. Her mother had received these pieces from her mother on her 21st birthday and, not knowing the extreme value of a signed original piece, had the broach made into the earrings and pin. Had it remained intact, David said it would be almost impossible to put a value on it.
A passion for repurposing heirloom pieces, Matney approached David about making a “party ring” out of an earring her mother had left her. Using the large Mabe pearl, David created a one-of-a-kind gold and diamond party ring. A believer that heirlooms should be worn and enjoyed, not locked in safety deposit boxes, Matney wears her custom designed party ring whenever the occasion calls for it.
“My mother collected quite a bit herself,” said Matney. “She was a tiny woman but liked big pieces. I remember when I was young, she always wore two gold bracelets. When she passed, I wanted to wear them just like she did to remind me of her. I had one original bracelet but David made a replica of the one that was stolen. I wear them every day.”
Matney lost her father at an early age and Mary became a very strong matriarchal figure in the family. She entertained beautifully, making Christmas and Thanksgiving special times all about family. Having lost her own parents when she was young, family was hugely important to her.
“My father was a people person and our house was always filled with friends,” said Matney. “We loved and respected both of our parents, but we took our cues in life from my mother, she had incredible taste and style.”
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