This Lea Stein brooch was a gift from my friend Susan, one of the most stylish women I know. In the 80s, she designed and then hand sewed a line of dresses featured in Elle magazine that were a bated breath away from being picked up by Liberty, the renown London department store. She's given a few of these finely made frocks to friends - those with waspish waists and compact bust lines. I admired the brooch one day as it lay nestled among other goodies on a beautiful bureau in her bedroom and a year later she gave it to me for my birthday. I was overwhelmed; it's more than a gift, it's an artifact infused with "Susan-ness," and among my most cherished possessions. Sometimes a friend loves a piece so much more than you that it seems only natural that they have it. Look, I don't recommend passing on the antique diamond ring your granny gave you on her death bed, but gifting from your own fashion collection is the height of generosity. By the way, Lea Stein is a French artist and accessory maker born in the 1930s and best known for her compressed plastic jewelry. Her pieces are highly collectible and have a lovely future/past aura about them. You can pick them up 2nd hand for as little as £40.