My Inquiry question:

What is the story of the diamond necklace Yunmin’s mother owns?

  1. What is the story of the object? Why is it significant?

Quite recently, my mother pulled out a red velvet box out of her drawer and had me sit beside her. She opened the box and showed me a necklace with a diamond embedded in, hanging from a white gold chain. I didn’t know why she was showing me this, so I asked her where this came from. My mother told me it came from my great-grandmother. When my grandmother was getting married, my great-grandmother scraped all the money she had to buy a diamond ring to give my grandmother as a token of approval, a blessing, and a present to celebrate the marriage. When my mother was getting married, my grandmother had the ring melted and made into a pendant for a necklace. She added a few crystals and attached it to a chain. She gave the finished necklace to my mother. Again, as a token of approval, blessing, and a present for my mother’s marriage. This is a family emblem as a symbolic token from mother to daughter. I was told it’ll be mine when I’m married off someday, and I am to give it to my daughter when she gets married.

 

2. What type of source is this?

This is a primary source as it was present for all the events behind it and my great-grandmother was present at the time of purchase.

3. Who created it? When was it produced?

This is completely out of my reach to find out. It was at a South Korean jewellery shop in early 1970’s (or late 1960’s), being purchased by my great-grandmother. Before that, it would’ve been in the hands of a jewellery expert. I guess it would make the most sense to say a diamond miner would’ve had it at its earliest stage. I will never find out when that would’ve been.

4. Context: What other events were happening when the source was created? How might they have influenced this source?

At the time in South Korea, the country was generally very poor after all the political turmoil and was attempting recovery. My ancestors’ household too was not an exception. As I mentioned earlier our family was not very wealthy and it took my great-grandmother a great deal of hard work to find the money to purchase the piece of jewellery. This doesn’t physically influence the source, but I can infer that this effort put in to obtain it made it more valuable to my grandmother, having her treasure it so much to even pass down to her own daughter (my mother), eventually becoming a tradition.

5. Description: What do you notice that is important about this source? What is interesting, what can’t you explain?

The full diamond on the bottom of the pendant is the original diamond that was embedded in the ring, the core and most important part of the necklace (also, the most valuable) There are extra crystals that are a little different from it on the top part of the pendant, with a straighter pattern. I can’t explain what the necklace would’ve looked like before when it was a ring, as it has new additions. No photographic evidence, too. How did this become a tradition? Where did my great-grandmother get this idea? Did she have a similar artefact?

6. Inferences about Perspectives:

Inference 1: I can assume that my great-grandmother liked my grandfather quite a bit, a blessing and present like this would’ve been extremely hard to do.

Inference 2: Because my grandmother decided to melt it into a necklace and add modifications, I can assume that when this was a ring, it would’ve looked old-fashioned and not pretty in the standards that changed over time.

7. Inferences about Inquiry Question: What can you learn from examining this source? Does it help you answer your inquiry question? Does it confirm, extend, or contradict, what you know? Does it not tell you?

By looking closely, you can tell it was very well-kept and has no signs of scratches, rust, or excessive traces of oil. It also looks like it wasn’t worn very often (I’ve seen my mother wear it twice, but that was it.). This confirms the fact that it is family emblem as a symbolic token from mother to daughter rather than being a casual-wear necklace.

8. What further questions do you have?

“What would it be modified into when it is given to me? Will it be modified at all? Am I even going to have a daughter?”

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