This image features stock images of a group of stars in the Centaurus constellation, from Universe and Humanity (1910), and of a lump of coal.

Letters To What We Want is a series of letters composed by friends, responding to the question ‘What do you want? In 2021 and beyond?’. The format was left open, as was the choice to sign off anonymously or with a pseudonym.

In exchange, I sent them an artwork, which can be viewed at the end of the post.

Dec 12, 2020

Dear Grey Diamond
(Hexagonal, 0.44 carat, set in a Gold Ring with Two Smaller Diamonds)

Katie Carder Juniper Ring with Grey Hexagon Diamond,

All of the last eight months I have been thinking of you, since the day you announced yourself in my dreams by way of this jewellery shop I saw on the Instagram Explore Tab. 

While employed, I calculated how much I would have to set aside each month. Unemployed, I have pulled up your image to try and work myself up to open LinkedIn again. Impending hunger was not enough motivation.

Your brilliance, fire and heft, forged by both earth’s magic and jeweler’s flame, is everything I didn’t know I wanted before. But I need to tell you that it’s been too much, and I don’t think I can do this anymore.

I’ve always thought gemstones were among the best things to wear. Precious, so universally beautiful and so, like, exposing of human absurdity. Like, all we needed was to survive. But somewhere along the way, and early, we realized what we really wanted was to be adorned. And when stones entered the picture. Oh man, the lengths we went just to be P R E T T Y. We went to murder lengths!

The thing is, I know that exchanging money for you is beyond useless– it’s nothing but wasteful. Scarcity has been created and is as real as you and I, despite the best efforts of abundance mindset horseshit from the wells of Self Help Youtube. 

It just feels awkward, in a time when labs can replicate your chemistry, colour and iridescence in any size, to continue to pine for something just because it was squeezed into being in some cave for a billion years, then yanked out to maybe fund a repressive regime. I’m sorry, I’m being rude. It’s not your fault. You are perfect.

I was watching all of the fourth season of The Crown recently, and was freshly struck by how much jewellery these guys have. It’s their actual birthright, heaps of stones set in hulking wearable sculptures for elevating their squishy selves above everyone else. THE CROWN. D’UH. Is that what I want from you– to be better? To be worthy of the sparkle? To maybe camouflage my lowly social class at events? It’s either this or something else, right? No such thing as beauty for its own sake.

Is it because I need yet another arbitrary item to peg meaning to? Something to remind myself that… I am breakable? Ya, of course, sure. Every desire is a Death Thing. I’m not alone in feeling death around every corner right now. Incidentally, the old aunty next door died yesterday, the one who used to yell at the stray animals. She also used to wear pretty pastel floral tailored shirt suits, which she hung to dry on our shared fence. 

Anyway, I think right, I don’t even need a Death Thing. I won’t have children to pass you to. At best, some young person I care about in the future will have an accessory they never got to choose, but can’t sell off because they’ll feel bad. At worst, you’re just going to be a reminder of how awful I’ve always been with money. Imagine, “Wah, she really only left her laptop and phone with their dying batteries. And this ring.” 

All this is to say I will love you forever, but maybe not in real life. Please don’t get too upset by the plastic seed beads I wear. I love them too, cause I strung them together myself. Still, you know that I know they are not the same.

Yours Faithfully,


Image of Country Musik: Movements #18, given in exchange for this letter.
An edition of this work is available in the shop.