One of the oldest of all Celtic goddesses is The Morrigan, which literally means "Great Queen." All of the Celtic tribes of Western Europe and the British Isles worshipped her in some form under different names. She presided over both warriors and women in childbirth, as she was the goddess of the eternal cycle of life and death. Her colors were red and black (red for the blood of warriors and women, black for the time of gestation and between lives). Her creatures were ravens and crows, always perceived by the ancient Celts as sacred messengers.
I've crafted these new one-of-a-kind earrings in tribute to her legend, in genuine Victorian-era British jet from the famed Whitby mines in Yorkshire. These were the very same mines that provided jet to the ancient Celts of that region. Since it is heavy and hard, unlike softer lignite jet, British jet was always cut in irregular patterns because it did not lend itself to regular faceting. These 3mm. and 5mm. beads date from about the 1870s to 1880s. I've combined them with irregular oval beads of the finest Baltic cherry amber, clear and unprocessed (not the dreadful murky stuff that is still being passed off as genuine cherry amber), and worked on beaded sterling silver pins, with sterling filigree beadcaps and faceted bead accents. Amber was highly prized by the ancient Celts as the fabled "Gold of the North." This rare cherry amber would have been worn only by a high-ranking Celtic lady.
The smaller jet beads are worked on sterling silver-filled pins with 2mm. sterling silver bead accents, to sterling silver Celtic interweave pendants, symbolizing the interconnectedness of all living things. They hang from extra long sterling silver French hooks and include rubber stoppers for security. They measure a total of 2 and 1/8", and 1 and 5/8" without the wires. There are a total of 16 hand-wrapped 3mm. jet beads on the rings.
I've shown an extreme close-up in the last scan so you can see the condition of the jet beads. The beads do show some nicks and wear, but they are, after all, approximately 130 to 140 years old and an organic mineral. I would assess them in fairly good shape for this age.
I have a matching Morrigan pendant in my Ruby Lane store. One of the scans shows the set together so you can see for comparison, but this item is for the earrings only. I offer a discount if you buy them together as a set. They also match my Morrigan Cherry Amber and British Jet coil wrap bracelet.
All metals are sterling silver, except the jewelry pins which are sterling silver-filled. The cherry amber and jet are genuine. The British jet beads are all genuine jet from the Whitby mines in Yorkshire, that came from antique Victorian mourning necklaces I bought at estate sales. All of them dated from about the 1870s and 1880s. I was fortunate to have purchased quite a few of these genuine jet necklaces before the era of Internet estate sales. My jet beads are in remarkably good shape despite their age, because Whitby jet is so durable. (And for the many fans of the Gothic, Whitby was where Bram Stoker's original Count Dracula landed in England when he arrived from Transylvania........)
Feel like a Celtic lady of ancient Britain wearing these, my Lady. I love crafting Celtic-inspired jewelry with this jet, as the Celts of the ancient British Isles would have gotten their jet from the same mines in Yorkshire (then known as Brigantia).
The haunting image of the Morrigan is by Amber Delaine of The Fairywood, done in her traditional colors of red, black and silver-white. You can find her store in my Favorite Links section. Many thanks to Lady Amber for her permission to use her beautiful interpretation of the Morrigan.
NOTE: all my original designs and text are sole property of Strega2 Jewelry and protected under Title 17 of the copyright laws. Any copying, adaptation or infringement will result in legal action.
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Original handcrafted artisan jewelry adapted from historical styles.
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