Honoring Grandparents Through Custom Jewelry

Hair and makeup artist Heather Vellner reflects on her grandfather and the hand engraved vintage bracelet from Stacey Fay Designs that helped her tell her story.

vintage navy bracelet

Vintage Jewelry to Capture My Story

After clicking around on Stacey’s treasure trove of a website, I stumbled upon this sweetheart naval bracelet from the 40’s. This is exactly when my grandparents met and married. We had it hand engraved with their names and wedding date. Stacey kept the patina around the anchors and shined the rest up to honor its age yet restore its original beauty. It fits like it was made for me! 

First Generation Philadelphia Grandparents

vintage 1940's wedding photoMy Grandmom and Grandpop were first generation Americans, both of Italian decent. They met when my grandfather was in the Navy and the Philadelphia naval yard was a working naval base. He told me that he walked into a corner store in Philadelphia and saw her there with a friend. He knew he wanted to marry her immediately.  

At a chapel in the city they were married on September 23rd, 1948. 

She excelled at the arts, a seamstress for a living, while also painting, sculpting, drawing, you name it. 
vintage letter

Grandpop loved to write, and wrote many letters and poems for my grandmom as well as for his grandchildren and other loved ones. 

vintage navy hat

He wore many hats (all of which had a Navy emblem) he cooked and performed dentistry on the ships, worked for Yuengling and sold cars for Studebaker among other jobs later in life. They both had the job of raising four boys, all with very distinct personalities. Then helping to raise their seven grandkids as time went on. 

My Grandmom came from a family of five, Grandpop had twelve sisters and brothers. Needless to say, they were used to being surrounded by family and a healthy amount of chaos. 

Anytime in life when I felt my own chaos was a little too strong, I would turn to my Grandpop. He was always joking, singing funny songs and had some advice that could lighten the mood. He was known around the town of Broomall as “the guy with the tattoos and jokes”. He would tell everyone he met that they should join the army, no matter their age or gender. He would spout out one liners and jokes that you didn’t know were jokes until the punch line hit. He would weave in sayings like, “We don’t have a lot of money, but we have a lot of fun!” My grandmom would just laugh, she was used to his character. 

I came upon a time in my life when I would have reached out for my grandpop’s wisdom and humor, but after passing at age 103, I was left to face life with only his memories. 

A Hand Engraved Heirloom

hand engraving Philadelphia
Some retail therapy brought me to Stacey’s website. When I came across the bracelet I thought it was a sweet memory that I could have with me in plain sight. This piece is an every day reminder of the importance of family, to take one day at a time, and leave them laughing as you go.

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