Last month, we shared with you that J.K. Rowling would be putting up a unique piece of jewelry for a Sotheby’s auction this week. Ahead of the auction, J.K. Rowling has published an op-ed about “the healing powers of jewelry” in this month’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar UK.
In the op-ed, the bestselling author shares the story of three charm bracelets that have been of importance in her life.
The first, is a ”heavy silver chain with a heart-shaped clasp,” which was “crammed with clinking charms including a wishing-well charm, a fat Spanish donkey,” and, the author’s favorite, “a filigree egg that opened to reveal a tiny bird.” When she was five, she was playing with it, when one of her great-aunts said to her, “Ah, but no really nice woman likes jewellery.” This statement, Rowling says, influenced how she now views jewelry. The author says she had the bracelet for 20 years, until it was stolen to her in a burglary of her Manchester apartment. After all this time, though, she still hopes for the sight of a filigree egg in old jewelry shop windows.
The second bracelet the author shares is one given to her by her British editor and the head of Bloomsbury books, the day the final Harry Potter book was released. It is covered in gold and silver charms from the books, including a Golden Snitch, a silver Ford Anglia, a Pensieve, a stag Patronus, and a garnet of the Philosopher’s Stone, and the author names it as her second most treasured piece of jewelry (besides from her wedding ring).
Unfortunately, sometime during the eight hour marathon book signing of the seventh book, the Philosopher’s Stone broke, something Rowling saw as a sign: “The series was finished and it was time to move on,” she writes.
In 2004, after reading a Sunday Times article about the reality of children living in institutions in the Czech Republic, Rowling was prompted to start a charity to save these children. Called Lumos, the charity helps to put an end to institutionalization by “transforming how governments and communities think about looking after vulnerable children.”
Since 2005, Lumos has helped governments take more than 7,000 children out of institutions, preventing the deaths of “more than 200 extremely vulnerable children with disabilities who were not receiving the care they needed in those institutions.”
In 2008, Rowling published The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a short book of wizard fairy tales featured in the Harry Potter books, and all proceeds of which went to Lumos. The author is now preparing for another fundraising drive, and as part, she is auctioning off a unique piece of custom-made jewelry.
A symbol of beauty in a reality so dark, the third and final piece of jewelry Rowling shares, is one she designed herself. She sketched the ideas based on the one given to her by Bloomsbury, and then sent it to the Scottish jeweler Hamilton & Inches.
The bracelet can be seen above, including its eleven, handmade charms that are symbols in the Harry Potter books. The charms include a winged key, a tiny spell book and (for Harry) a bolt of lightning. “The most precious charm of the lot,” according to Rowling, “is a little jewelled butterfly, which is the logo of Lumos – a symbol of transformation and liberation, of the beauty that can emerge from dark confinement.”
The bracelet will be going up for auction at Sotheby’s on December 10, at their sale of “English literature, history, children’s books and illustrations,” and is expected to be sold for more than 20,000 pounds. We’ll update this when it has been sold, so stick with us for the latest.