Sunday, December 20, 2009

Token of Friendship, w/Strings Attached

“FRUGAL fatigue.” You have it? You know what it is, right? The condition – as defined by one of the commentators on CNBC's “Fast Money” – characterized by a weariness of being frugal and thus wanting to spend money. Of a great desire to pony up for something a bit more substantial than toothpaste and toilet paper. According to the “Fast Money” guy, many Americans are tired of T&T and crave SONY&DKNY&BMW&I-PHONE & the like. This being December, FF is probably taking a huge toll on lots of folk.

Yours Truly, on a strict money diet for many moons now, is not suffering from FF. But I would be remiss if I did not do my patriotic duty and lend a hand to my fellow Americans who are agitating to furiously and, no doubt, responsibly spend for the holidays. Over the next several days I will introduce a product (or brand) a day that I would buy for myself or someone else if I were spending (and could afford to, of course).

Let’s see, Gift No. 7, and the finale:

Late! No time to waste. Less than 30 minutes to peruse the eclectic, offbeat stock of Links of London, so thoughtfully arranged around the jewelry concern’s Park Avenue location, its second freestanding store in New York.

Straightaway, I set about my exploration of sterling silver and 18-karat gold cufflinks, pendants, money clips, necklaces, rings, charms and so forth. In search of that one piece that would speak to me.

Parched after venturing a ways, I had a glass of sparkling wine while I chatted to other guests and to the helpful and attentive staff, who talked up the stock with undisguised enthusiasm. Not a stiff upper lip amongst them. Armed with far more information about LoL than I would ever have occasion to use, I resumed the expedition.

At the center display case my gaze settled on a whole line of bracelets called friendship bracelets (pictured below and costing $180-$215, with some proceeds from sales going to the ONEXONE Children). But did I hear a faint voice in the corner of the case? Was it coming from the multi-colored band of threads that reminded me of the wires in those old-fangled bombs? And the wires in old-fangled car batteries? And the sort of strings childhood friends once upon a time utilized to craft bracelets for each other as expressions of their fealty – the jewelry version of the blood oath? The very same.

The counter staff person, an affable young chap, informed me that this was the Custom Friendship Bracelet (above, $295), or I would learn soon enough, the innards thereof. How fetching! And quaint! Only an erstwhile British law practitioner/fishmonger (and wife) who got started in the jewelry business with a gift of salmon-shaped cufflinks – hence the name, Links – to chefs to whom the couple supplied fish could fashion a bunch of strings willy nilly – et voila! – a friendship bracelet. The humor of it. So Monty Python. So Fawlty Towers. Gotta love those Brits. They could sell Americans toilet water as a cure for obesity and we’d buy it, I surmised.

Does one tie the strings together to close the – er – bracelet, I inquired rather without guile? All the while I am thinking that for 300 bucks those threads must be made from Egyptian cotton. Of course, I'd deduced that I could make one for 30 cents. Aware that I was quite serious and earnest, the staffer chuckled – “bless her clueless heart,” his expression seemed to say – and explained that from the threads one would, for instance, choose four colors and a desired width. Then all would be encased in sterling silver and would be fastened with a sterling clasp. Et voila!

I’d still wager that on this side of the pond Brits could make massive sales on toilet water.

Learn more about Links of London at and ONEXONE Children's Charity at

1 comment :

  1. This is perfect for our beneficiary children in the Philippines. It's a good souvenir for them because of its good meaning and sentimental value.


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