'It's from my grandma.': How jewellery becomes singular

Petra Ahde-Deal, Heidi Paavilainen, Ilpo Koskinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Most objects in our lives are barely noticed and not much more than consumer goods. Some objects, however, become so important to people that they start to shape their understanding of their self. This paper looks at how some pieces of jewellery become parts of what we call the core self. The study collected stories about jewellery in Helsinki and Chicago between 2008 and 2010. The key process that transforms some pieces of jewellery to constituent parts of the self is family history and connections that some pieces create between generations of women. We close the paper by arguing that design researchers need to pay more attention to social processes that turn some objects into heirlooms, rather than focus on consumption only.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalDesign Journal
Issue number1
Early online date18 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • jewellery
  • possessions
  • product attachment
  • Durkheim
  • self
  • family heirlooms


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