Wife’s story in­spires jewel to help fight de­pres­sion Di­a­monds of hope in hon­our of Holly

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - ANNA VLACH

A SIN­GLE teardrop is fall­ing into cupped hands pre­pared to catch it at any time.

De­signed to show how pre­cious life is, the Hope Will Catch the Tears pen­dant will al­ways hold a spe­cial place in jeweller James Thred­gold’s heart.

It was cre­ated in mem­ory of the Ade­laide busi­ness­man’s beloved late wife Holly – who lost her bat­tle with de­pres­sion two years ago, when she was 42 – and is rais­ing funds for be­yond­blue and aware­ness for those liv­ing with a men­tal health con­di­tion.

A de­voted mother and tal­ented florist, Holly hid her bat­tle with clin­i­cal de­pres­sion from all but those clos­est to her.

Di­ag­nosed at 21, Holly met James in 2003 when their pets brought them to­gether – her dog run­ning across the road to be­friend his. On their se­cond date, Holly shared her se­cret with James, telling him to “run away from me now”.

But he had no in­ten­tion of do­ing that. The cou­ple mar­ried four years later and were blessed with two beau­ti­ful chil­dren.

Just as James had been un­pre­pared for Holly’s pass­ing, the Hope Will Catch the Tears pen­dant caught him by sur­prise. He was at a Di­a­mond Guild Aus­tralia con­fer­ence a year ago when it an­nounced an ini­tia­tive, the Giv­ing Back Pro­gram.

The plan was to cre­ate a lim­it­ededi­tion piece, 100 of which were to be made in Aus­tralia and sold in the 15 guild mem­bers’ stores to raise aware­ness and funds for a na­tional char­ity of James’s choice.

“They said ‘We want to do it in hon­our of Holly’, and as you can imag­ine I was just sit­ting there in tears. I thought it was an amaz­ing thing,” he said.

“They asked me who I wanted the funds to go to and I chose be­yond­blue. When Holly passed away, we asked for do­na­tions to be­yond­blue, in lieu of flow­ers, be­cause they are an amaz­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion,

“Whether it’s two o’clock in the morn­ing or six o’clock at night, there is al­ways some­one there on the end of the phone to help and lis­ten.”

The Giv­ing Back Pro­gram started with a call-out to guild mem­bers for a de­sign, re­sult­ing in 12 sub­mis­sions. Cho­sen by a panel of five, which in­cluded James, the Hope Will Catch the Tears pen­dant was the vi­sion of Niki Jack­son from Syd­ney’s J. Far­ren-Price Jewellers. “Niki ab­so­lutely nailed the brief with the sup­port­ing hands catch­ing a tear and the rose gold as a sym­bol of hope and things to come in the fu­ture,” James said.

Crafted in 18ct white and rose gold with a pear-shaped di­a­mond, it sells for $4950, with $2000 from ev­ery sale do­nated to be­yond­blue. Three have al­ready been sold by James Thred­gold Jeweller since they were un­veiled a week ago.

James says a pro­mo­tional video, in which he tells Holly’s story, had more than 13,500 views in four days and he hopes the video and the pen­dant will en­cour­age an im­por­tant na­tional con­ver­sa­tion.

“For me, the quest is twofold. It’s to raise funds so there is a cure and to de­sen­si­tise the stigma around hav­ing a men­tal health con­di­tion,” he said.

“We need to nor­malise the con­ver­sa­tion around it so peo­ple don’t feel like they need to hide it.”

An am­bas­sador for the Break­through Men­tal Health Re­search Foun­da­tion, James urges any­one suf­fer­ing to seek as­sis­tance.

“Talk to some­one and seek the ap­pro­pri­ate help … there is a sym­pa­thetic ear out there who will ac­tu­ally un­der­stand,” he said.

“If you can’t get to some­where for help, jump on the phone and talk to be­yond­blue or the men­tal health emer­gency hot­line where there are doc­tors on the end of the phone who can sug­gest places to go.

“If you know some­one suf­fer­ing from a men­tal health con­di­tion give them un­wa­ver­ing 100 per cent sup­port as long as it takes.”

Asked what Holly might think about the pen­dant, James says he imag­ined she would be some­what em­bar­rassed.

“She was a very pri­vate per­son but she al­ways wanted to be an ad­vo­cate for de­pres­sion be­ing a suf­ferer so I think she would also be in­cred­i­bly proud,” he said.

Pic­ture: NAOMI JELLICOE

IM­POR­TANT MES­SAGE: Jeweller James Thred­gold with the lim­ited-edi­tion pen­dant cre­ated in sup­port of char­ity be­yond­blue. IN­SET: James and his late wife, Holly.

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