Blood Milk Jewels
The Reflecting Pearl. Chapter I.
Blood Milk Jewels
The Reflecting Pearl. Chapter I.
One day, deep into the summer, a loved one and I stood at the shore line and allowed the waves to crash against our bare legs, again and again. I was wearing a thin dress knotted at my thighs and he had his jeans rolled up. We waded into the lip of the rough water, allowing our clothing to soak with salt and sea ~ perhaps you know the feeling, the impulse to just … go in … even if you were unprepared to….that pull the endless water has for some of us, especially those born near it …
The surprise was, the tide was teeming with shells. Each wave roiled with them, gifts slick with brine and darkened with the deep. We collected as much as we could fit in the small bowls of our palms, stacking them and fitting them together like delicate towers. The beach was freckled with them as well, entire constellations of shells and translucent crab skins spread out for the scavaging and we wandered along quietly, finding the ones that spoke most to us to bring home.
Interestingly, many of the scallop shells we found were black in color, signifying that they were ancient, perhaps thousands or even millions of years old, having achieved this color due to being buried in deep in sediment. They were perhaps dug up due to a violent storm out at sea or dredging. This shell, and its larger ‘sister’ were both life cast from this day out near the sea, and I believe, through the alchemy of the lost wax method and the properties of silver retaining memory, has ancient time of the sea imbued within it.
The talismanic qualities of the shell is rife with Hermit like properties - in our casual language, we speak of “going into our shell”, akin to how the Hermit goes into their dark cave to sit their silence with themselves, to chant the story of themselves within, gather the wisdom, apart from the world, to then rejoin the world as a light, to share what they have learned with others. This is the pearl of the shell of the ‘reflecting pearl’ the mirror as a ‘light’ - reflecting back the self to others - as a gift, a witnessing, an observation, a sharing of the self while also a seeing of the self as well - the pearl as knowledge.
Another talismanic property of this jewel is the mirror as protection. We live ‘seeing’ forward ( this is suggesting the privilege of those who can see in the traditional sense ) with limited periphery sight. There is an unseen world happening behind us at all times. The mirror, as metaphor and also as a true physical object, can assist in seeing behind you. In a magical sense, it can assist in deflecting unwanted energy, ill will, and other supernatural interferences. These qualities have been assigned to the mirror from nearly the beginning of its modern inception - when it began to be created in glass with metal backing, usually mercury and silver, it was used as both a decorative object and as a ward and blessing homes as early as pre- renaissance era times. It’s earlier inceptions go as far back as Egyptian and Greco-Roman times when highly polished metal were shaped into discs. We’ve been craving our reflections and the reflection of the ‘unseen’ world around us for as long as we’ve walked the earth - Aztecs used sacred polished obsidian to scry and divine - John Dee had one of the ancient obsidian discs he called a ‘Spirit Mirror’ in his collection.
Here, a small round mirror with a beveled edge is held securely in place by the tips of honey locust thorns collected in New Orleans, also with the same beloved, in February of 2020, on the cusp of the world changing. Theses sharp thorns grow out of the tree to protect it, and here they are embedded in its new shell home, growing from it eternally in silver, adding an extra layer of meaning re : protection. A marriage of the swamps and the sea.
Highly tactile and detailed, the scallop shell has retained all the texture of its original form. (Rub your fingers of the ‘ribs’ over the shell for grounding.) Designed to be worn with the mirror facing out to catch reflections and the light, or worn with the mirror facing inwards towards the body like a secret. Wear it long to be able to lift it up towards the face, or wear it short over the heart as talisman to deflect negative and unwanted energy.
While the mirror is *not* a traditional pearl, I wanted to include the writing for a pearl here as well:
Pearls have an ancient history of reverence as well as a long legacy of beauty. Pearls are formed when an external irritant, like a grain of sand, breaches the shell of an oyster or shelled mollusk. Once this irritant has gained entrance within the dark fleshy confines of the oyster, it goes to work protecting itself. If this irritant can’t be expelled, it begins to ‘bandage’ the grain, coating it with concentric rings of calcium carbonate, named ‘narce.’ Each layer that is built up forms the shape of the pearl, awash in a brilliant iridescence, a beauty born of a tiny trespass. Thusly, a pearl has at its center, the object of its creation, a foreign intruder.
I associate the pearl and its strange construction to so many things: the jellied caterpillar struggling within a chrysalis, its liquefied body form a new winged shape. An embedded star smoldering within the shell of our hearts. An ink dot, a pin prick, a moon in miniature. History, who has always loved and revered the pearl, writes that we once believed pearls were the result of lightning striking the shell and penetrating the inner skins of the oyster. A small beauty made in duress, a ‘stone’ of initiation. To possess a pearl means to own something that is hidden, sacred.
Lore has it that Cleopatra, to win a wager with Antony, dissolved a large, exquisite pearl in her drinking glass. She swallowed it in one sip. I wonder about her dreams that night.
Seen here in its larger size, this listing is for one pendant on our *new* oversized signature bar link chain in the length of your choosing. Both pendant and chain are sterling silver, hand oxidized to achieve our favorite shade of stormy gray and then highlighted to reveal the bright luminous silver beneath. For comfort, durability, and to match the impressive size of the claw, we have paired this impressive pendant with our new large scaled version of the sterling silver signature bar link chain, in the length of your choosing.
- 61mm or 2.4inches at its widest
- 64mm or 2.5inches from top to bottom, including jump ring
- Solid sterling silver
- 1.5inch fully functional, bevel edged mirror
- Shown on Jess and Miguel at 30"
- Last image shows this necklace ( left ) with its smaller counterpart ( right ) for scale
This jewel is handmade to order, just for you, with care and focus. Please allow approximately 5 - 6 weeks for creation before shipping.
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