In the mists of ancient Britain, the legendary Queen Mabh led the Faerie tribe (now considered by historians to have actually existed) to the island. She is mentioned in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" as "the faeries' midwife" who brings enchanted dreams to mortals.
This one-of-a-kind necklace is inspired by a passage in Marion Zimmer Bradley's hugely popular novel "The Mists of Avalon." Morgan LeFay (Morgaine in the novel) is prepared for her initiation by a priestess of the Faerie people, (more about this lost people below) who would have revered the memory of Queen Mabh. The priestess wears a magnificent necklace of amber, antique bone and gold that impresses Morgaine with its age and beauty.
I've tried to imagine what that priceless necklace would have looked like, and this is my own interpretation. The materials are the same, precious genuine amber from the Baltic, known to ancient and Medieval societies as the fabled "Gold of the North." They believed that amber was the solidified radiance and warmth of the Sun itself, and that it contained significant healing properties, a belief retained by many Eastern European people to this day. The bone is carved buffalo bone from the Philippines, that I've antiqued myself. (For those designers who want to do this, simply soak the white bone beads in a strong solution of black tea overnight and wash them off with mild soap. That's all there is to it.)
The center bone focal bead is gorgeous, a 20mm. round that is intricately and beautifully carved. It is flanked by sterling vermeil beadcaps and 4mm. vermeil beads. The other bone beads are carved and smooth. The amber beads are pure, unprocessed nuggets of the finest clear Baltic amber. All amber is the solidified resin of prehistoric trees that flourished some 60 million years ago. The vast forests of these pine trees that produced most of the world's amber are now submerged beneath the Baltic and North seas.
The necklace is strung on the finest braided steel flexible beading cable. It is crimped 4 times for maximum security and closes with a vermeil toggle clasp. I can replace this with a lobster clasp if you wish, but toggles are very secure closings. It measures a total of 24 inches long. This necklace looks quite impressive with any outfit, but it is especially well showcased by a white or cream-color blouse.
Inspire a legend of your own wearing this magnificent necklace, my Lady! This is a true artisan piece, using only sterling vermeil and gold-filled metals, genuine Baltic amber and authentic bone. The amber is vintage (I would estimate at least 70 years old, very likely older) which you can see by the webbing of fine lines throughout the beads. Only genuine amber develops this fine tracery of lines as the beads age, which is visible in the closeup scans.
The retail price of this necklace in a good museum or historical reproduction jewelry catalog would be about $500.
The legends of the beloved Faerie or Sidhe (pronounced 'shee') of ancient Ireland and Britain are firmly based in historical reality. As the 'Tuatha de Danann' or people of the Goddess Danu in Ireland, and as the Faerie tribes of Britain, they were the original inhabitants of the islands before the Celts arrived from the European continent during the Bronze Age. Considerably smaller in stature and darker in coloring than the Celts, and less skilled at war (they did not possess iron tools and feared the power of iron), they depended on their elusiveness for survival. They lived in burrows dug into the hillsides, giving rise to the legends of the Little Dark People, the Faerie people who could disappear at will, the people of the Hollow Hills. They live on in the people of the British Isles to this very day. The Faeroe Islands off northern Scotland are very likely named for them. They were a matrilineal people, and legend says that their greatest of queens - Mabh - led them from Europe to Britain (which was then a peninsula still connected to the continent), thousands of years ago.
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Original handcrafted artisan jewelry adapted from historical styles.
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