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Worth More than Just its Weight in Gold: Nameplate Jewellery and the Practice of Oppositional Respectability

by Marcel Rosa-Salas & Isabel Flower

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“Nameplate jewellery is a style of customisable adornment in which names or words are crafted from gold or other metals and worn as necklaces, earrings, rings, belt buckles, or bracelets. For nearly a century, this style of jewellery has manifested a genre of fashion accessories that, through its locus on naming, declare the identity of its wearer in public space. Documenting the Nameplate is a digital storytelling and photography book project that highlights nameplate jewellery and its myriad cultural lineages and meanings. Through the analysis of personal testimonies and photography, this research seeks to understand how people incorporate fashion objects into their life narratives and family histories. Building on literature related to fashion, identity, and stigma, this article focuses on analysing nameplate wearers’ understanding of the micro-poli-tical potential of this self-styling choice. We argue that nameplate jewellery items are sentimental objects that consumers can use to enact oppositional respectability.”

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