Photographed by Ethan James Green, Vogue, December 2020

Since the pandemic first began, I’ve been feeling pressured to wear more jewelry—thanks in part to my colleagues, who have pulled me out of many a cross-eyed Zoom stupor with their shiny, covetable baubles. I’ll have what they’re having, I thought to myself. A pair of weighty earrings makes the entire look seem intentional, even if you’re wearing a ratty hoodie or old sweater. But every time I hovered my mouse over the “buy now” button for whatever jewel du jour was in my shopping basket, the same vision of me talking through upcoming story ideas, sculptural earrings swinging to and fro like wrecking balls as I passionately gesticulated, appeared. And the version of myself I pictured felt like she was trying a little too hard, or belonged in a parallel universe, so I would click out of the screen and leave my lobes empty.

On Monday, however, my tune changed. The price of silver stock rose to its highest level in eight years, thanks to an army of online investors in the Reddit group Wall Street Bets—the same group responsible for causing chaos for a number of major hedge funds who had betted on the stock of companies like GameStop, AMC, and BlackBerry falling. By buying up stocks, the Redditors collectively drove up their prices, costing the investment institutions billions of dollars. Sure, this week’s attempt to bring up the prices of silver was not as much of a phenomenon as GameStop—some users went in with guns blazing, while others were skeptical that the #SilverSqueeze was a covert effort to take away from the successful GameStop mission.

That being said, the attempt did not entirely fail. On a personal level, I felt a new appreciation for silver as something surprisingly symbolic. I was reminded, for the first time since hearing the results of the Georgia runoff elections, that there’s power in grassroots movements. So rather than buying any stock—because full transparency, this investment game feels all too volatile for my risk-averse self—I instead bought myself a nice big pair of sculptural silver earrings. Parallel-universe self be damned: In my new silver jewelry, I found an unexpected reminder of the power of the individual.

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