From Alexis Bittar, the “Miss Havisham” deconstructed deco crystal cuff bracelet ($295) features beautiful crystals set in a sleek design. We love the bracelet and we especially love the name of the it. Miss Havisham is a significant character in the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations (1861). She is a wealthy spinster who lives in her ruined mansion, Satis House, with her adopted daughter, Estella. Dickens describes her as looking like “the witch of the place.”
Although she has often been portrayed in film versions as very elderly, Dickens’s own notes indicate that she is only in her mid-fifties. However, it is also indicated that her long life away from the sunlight has in itself aged her, and she is said to look like a cross between a waxwork and a skeleton, with moving eyes.
As a child, Miss Havisham was spoiled by her father, a wealthy brewer, because her mother had died shortly after she was born. He married again in secret and fathered a son, Arthur, with the family cook. Miss Havisham’s relationship with her brother was far from harmonious.
As an adult, she inherited most of her father’s fortune and fell in love with a man named Compeyson, who had conspired with the jealous Arthur to swindle her of her riches. Her cousin Matthew Pocket warned her to be careful, but she was too much in love to listen. On the wedding day, while she was dressing, Miss Havisham received a letter from Compeyson and realized he had defrauded her and she had been left at the altar.
Humiliated and heartbroken, Miss Havisham suffered a mental breakdown and remained alone in her decaying mansion Satis House – never removing her wedding dress, wearing only one shoe, leaving the wedding breakfast and cake uneaten on the table, and allowing only a few people to see her. She even had the clocks in her mansion stopped at twenty minutes to nine: the exact time when she had received Compeyson’s letter.
In science, the condition of the “Miss Havisham effect” has been coined by scientists to describe a person who suffers a painful longing for lost love, which can become a physically addictive pleasure by activation of reward and pleasure centers in the brain, which have been identified to regulate addictive behavior – regions commonly known to be responsible for craving and drug, alcohol and gambling addiction.