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Inspired by a Broken Heart

These puffed heart beads reminded me of hearts so swollen with feeling that they had to break free of their previous limits.
These puffed heart beads reminded me of hearts so swollen with feeling that they had to break free of their previous limits.

Have you ever had a broken heart? I have, a couple of times… I remember how my heart felt big and heavy with sorrow, like it was brimming with tears and despair. I felt as though my heart would break, not for being delicate and hollow- but for being so full of feeling that it could no longer hold it all in. Part of me worried that if my heart burst my world- and life- would end. It did- after a fashion. What I’ve learned, each time my heart has been broken, is that my heart can grow bigger. The “protective” shells that have cracked and fallen away restricted my growth; without them, I am able to open myself up to feel, experience and live more authentically. Relationships don’t always last, people don’t always stay… but I’ve never been alone- there’s always me.

My mom once told me a story about a broken vase- how it was a treasured family heirloom until one day it was carelessly broken and shattered upon the floor. Instead of cleaning it up and throwing it away, the family came together and practiced the art of kintsugi (golden joinery) or kintsukuroi (golden repair), mending the broken vase back together with a gold glue. Of course, in my mom’s story she was trying to use the vase to illustrate the dynamics of a broken relationship and how two people together could mend it to become something beautiful- not like it was before, but perhaps better for the previous damage.

Historically, the art of Kintsugi may have originated when shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a damaged tea bowl back to  for repairs in the late 15th century. When it was returned repaired with ugly metal staples, it may have prompted the owner to seek craftsmen who would find a more aesthetic means of repair. The solution of those creative craftsmen? An adhesive resin with gold dust! Over time, collectors became so enamored of the new art that some were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be repaired with the gold seams of kintsugi…

The puffed heart beads in this design (now on Etsy) reminded me of the story my mom once told me, and of the times my heart has been broken. Damage, pain and heartbreak are painful… but I do believe, sometimes, those parts of our history allow our most beautiful qualities shine through. Sometimes, if we’re willing to do the work (or get out of the way), we can discover that we’re better at the end of those experiences. We’re better and more beautiful for being broken.

I chose to pair the hearts with citrine for the qualities or powers historically attributed to the stone. Citrine is supposed to increase self-confidence, desire and creativity. It is also supposed to bring clarity to thoughts. Some believe it may help solve domestic problems. Heat-treated citrine has the added bonuses of being linked to helping people set proper emotional boundaries and maintaining them, dispelling heavy emotions (enabling one to perceive things in a more positive light), and helping one to release negative thought patterns- encouraging optimism!

While I haven’t decided whether or not I believe in the power of stones I do know, after my last broken heart, I bought a silver ring with citrine. Whenever I wore it I felt better about myself and the situation I was in. Was it because of the power of the stone? Was it a placebo effect? Or, was it the symbolism of wearing a beautiful ring- a gift I bought to remind myself that I am beautiful, lovable and worthy of pampering- that made the difference?

1 thought on “Inspired by a Broken Heart

  1. One of my broken heart designs was just included in a wonderful blog post about kintsukuroi and relationships! You can find it here:

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