A friend once told me that a person should always act on their generous impulses. While it may sound like the simplest of sayings, that phrase has stuck with me for the better part of ten years. It has also become a principle I use often when struck with a generous inclination of my own.
I’ve always felt that there’s something (or someone) bigger than us, guiding the thoughts we have when it comes to a desire to be generous. Whether it’s the idea to pay it forward in the drive-thru line, going out of your way to hold the door open for someone else, or putting forth the effort to catch up with a long-lost friend—it’s pushing us to be a light for someone else, and I think that’s a fire we all need to feed.
At the beginning of the year, I was sent a little heart-shaped turquoise necklace by Jennifer Bartel, the owner of Rawhide and Roses. I wore it for a couple of months, but one day I put it on and a generous impulse took hold. I knew in my heart that someone else needed it more than I did.
At this same time, the COVID-19 Pandemic was at its peak, so I thought that the necklace would be the perfect way to brighten the spirits of someone who needed it most. The more I reflected on the future of the necklace, the more I wanted it to be something that was continually worn by, and given to, women across the western industry. A sisterhood revolving around a traveling piece of turquoise.
I kicked things off via a post on Instagram, where all one had to do to “enter” was share the best part of their week—big or small. I would choose a random winner to send the necklace to, with the caveat that after they wore the necklace for a while, they were required to send it on to someone else. Never in a million years could I have imagined the excitement and response one little necklace could generate. More than 400 women commented on the post, and I received countless messages from women asking how they could “get on the list”.
“Think of it like ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’,
but with its own one size fits all, western spin.”
Calling it The Sisterhood of the Traveling Turquoise was a natural fit. But in order for it to be a true sisterhood, I quickly realized that one single necklace would never be able to reach enough women in this lifetime. So I made the choice to add two more necklaces. I also made the promise to add more necklaces to the collection as needed, in the future. There’s an important balance in having enough necklaces to go around, while also having a small enough number to where it still feels special to receive.
As soon as I decided to add additional necklaces, I knew exactly which other two to include—one from my dear friend Catie Kershner, and a piece from Mud Lowery, which like the first necklace, was gifted to me by Shannon Lowery. These two necklaces have also started their journeys out into the world, and I’m so excited to see where life takes them.
The guidelines for each necklace is the same, and relatively simple. Each necklace is worn with pride, and once it has served its purpose, it can be sent on to the next woman whose life it will touch. Each necklace also comes with a special notebook, so the giver can write a special message to the next woman about what the necklace meant to them, or why the next person is receiving it. This is important because its the only way of knowing who has received each specific necklace over the years.
As with all of these necklaces, once that person wears it and is ready to pass it on to someone new, the decision on where it goes is up to them. Whether they want to show gratitude to someone who inspires them, know of someone who needs a little luck on their side, someone who needs a bright spot in their life, a bride without her “something borrowed” or “something blue,” or they just want to sprinkle a random act of kindness out into the world—the choice is theirs.
The only hard rule for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Turquoise is that each package needs to leave in better condition than it arrived. If it needs a new bag to travel in, the necklace needs a new chain, or a new notebook is needed once the first one fills up, each woman is to take it upon herself to give it a little TLC so that it can continue the tradition of touching the hearts of western women for many years to come.
In case you’d like to see all the faces and places each necklace has seen over the years, make sure to follow #thesisterhoodofthetravelingturquoise on Instagram. If you’re one to receive the necklace at some point, don’t forget to post your own photo and use the hashtag, to add to the collection!
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