'My Charmed Life': The Story Of A Love Life, Told Through Jewelry


'My Charmed Life': The Story Of A Love Life, Told Through Jewelry
We review the book "My Charmed Life" by Beth Bernstein.

We follow her on a journey of poignant and humorous moments, among which we can all catch glimpses of ourselves. We meet her high-school first love, whose "going-steady" ring turns her finger blue (a few years later, he does upgrade to a 3-carat diamond — that he gives to someone else), then the passionate — and alcoholic — Irishman who presents her with an authentic Claddagh ring, and then the actor who just "gets" her funky self so completely that he impulsively sets a small white diamond in a rubber bracelet for her — and may just be the most unavailable of all, secretly coming to terms with his love for another man. And then there's Paolo, her transatlantic, on-again, off-again romance. Just as the Milanese charmer consumes her heart, he showers her with gifts — numerous Murano glass vases, a vintage Pink gold Rolex — but somehow never the ring that she hopes will seal their future. 

Ultimately, this memoir is a story of self-discovery. The series of men who pass through Beth's life often disappoint her, but make her a stronger, more self-reliant human being, and the book traces her path to true independence. Early on, Beth confronts the old-fashioned idea that any significant jewelry piece should be a gift from a man. As a teenager, she looks lovingly at a sapphire-and-diamond pendant that her father explains will be the kind of piece she'll receive from a future husband. The unspoken message: Stick to silver until you're "upgraded" by a man to gold or platinum. But Beth will have none of that. When she turns 41, she decides it's time she had an "important" piece of her own, and, still single, she decides to buy it herself — a much more efficient option than finding a husband who also has good taste!


As a successful jewelry designer, Beth is confident in what she likes, knowledgeable about the item she seeks, and, perhaps most significant, believes she deserves this gift. The pleasure she derives from purchasing the piece is no less than if it came from a man.

Overall, it's an eye-opening, empowering experience. So although Beth hasn't given up on love, for now she can call off the maddening chase for that elusive band of gold. Though if one day, the right man shows up with a ring, she'll keep that finger bare, just in case...

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