If possible, I always prefer to use this brilliant, almost royal blue lapis colour, and that is exactly what this substantial Bi disc, (often referred to as a doughnut) is. The lapis disc is 2.5” across and .8mm deep. The Bi disc is a shape the Chinese love to use because it is a symbol of both long life and harmony, and the one using this Bi disc, receives these benefits. One side of the disc,( carved from a large piece of lapis), is a more perfect blue, but both sides are quite wonderful. Lapis has tiny flecks of pyrite (gold) throughout the stone, although barely noticeable. Increasingly expensive lapis is sold by the weight or carat and the better the colour, the dearer the stones.
The disc is attached by tiny 4mm lapis beads and handmade, etched Fair trade silver beads (4 mm) made by the Karen hill tribes in Thailand. The silver the tribes use is approximately 98% pure silver. I have also used their silver on the toggle clasp (so easy to use and secure), which has grooving and a silver wire wrapped around the grooves, and the large grooved silver melon beads (22.7mm). I use the Karen hill tribe silver frequently in my necklaces because each bead is made like a piece of sculpture, handcrafted with imagination and expertise. Their silver is more expensive than most, but I have always felt they are worth the extra cost and it helps to support these talented artisans. Attached to the clasp is my own silver copyright label.
Large, vintage carved, grooved lapis melon beads, 22.6 mm and large, vivid blue lapis beads, 20.4 mm complement the antique,(circa 1890-1915) Chinese enamel on silver beads 25.8mm, decorated with a phoenix flying across the beads. These are highlighted by cylinders of brushed silver plated zarmac (an alloy of zinc, aluminium and copper, stable and allergy free).
And finally I have used traditionally knotted silk/polyester cord, using the Chinese flat and button knots. It’s width is 4.4mm and depth is .8mm. This not only makes the necklace light and comfortable to wear, but it tends to set the design off. It is also inspired by the ancient court jewellery. The cord I use can be carefully washed by taking a drop of washing up liquid on a rag, gently dabbing the knotted cord; then repeat the process with a clean damp rag; take a dry cloth to dab it dry and allow to dry in the sun. This is an easy process and only necessary if soiled by make-up or wear.
The necklace comes in it’s own silk brocade draw-string bag, colour coordinated with the necklace and made by a Shanghai tailor. In this case, the brocade will be a royal blue Chinese design. All my necklaces include a label describing the details of the necklace’s elements.
The necklace is 45 cm long (18”), with a 5 cm (2”) pendant drop
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