This is a conversation piece as well as a statement necklace.
This stunning piece of vintage, natural moss green nephrite jade, at 1 1/4 inches across and just over 1 inch wide, was used as a Chinese archer's thumb guard. At least that was the original intention. Whether this thumb guard was actually used in this way is doubtful.
Archery was used in ancient China for warfare as well as hunting. But as the Qing dynasty declined in the late 1800's and China was confronted by modernized Western powers, archery became obsolete, except for the gentlemanly sport of archery. For the Chinese scholar/gentleman, rather than mastering this sport , he could wear the archer's thumb guard to imply his prowess and gentlemanly status. It then evolved into a fashionable status symbol for the wealthy and cultured.
The jade slides onto two strands of cultured baroque freshwater pearls, of which the average pearl size is 11.5 mm. The pearls have been dyed; one strand is a moss green, the other a soft terracotta colour.
Dyed pearls, which most pearls are, come about through a number of techniques. The one I know, through someone who has a pearl farm in China, is one in which the pearls are placed for a month or more in a container with a liquid saturated with a powder dye. Electroids gently move the pearls about so that they are evenly coloured. Although people say the colour can fade, I have been working (and wearing) dyed pearls for many years. As long as you don't spray perfume or hairspray onto the pearls, the colour remains. None of my pearls have faded.
Karen hill tribe Fair Trade silver is nearly 98% pure silver. I mostly choose to use their silver because each piece is like a miniature bit of sculpture, individually crafted and created. I know that artisans in Northern Thailand produce this unique silversmithing in small villages, involving whole families in the process. Their work is fairly paid, and as a result, their beads are much more expensive. But a family is supported and wonderful beads and jewellery are produced in high quality silver.
For that reason, I have used a silver toggle clasp made by the Karen hill tribes of Thailand, in which they have twisted this heavy piece of silver. Toggle clasps are easy to use and secure. My silver name label is attached at the clasp.
The necklace is 20 inches long.
The necklace comes, like all my necklaces, with it's own silk brocaded pouch bag, made by the Shanghai tailor
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Unique, stunningly chic gemstone necklaces, known as wearable art
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