Material Study: handmade chain necklace
This fascinating necklace started with the bone bead. It got me thinking about how we as humans use and value different materials--and why.
Bone is especially interesting, as it must be one of the first things humans manipulated for use, after wood I suppose. From essential tools to ritual adornments, we still use bone in many ways! This example is of the latter category, a beautifully finished part of a Masai wedding necklace. Likely a cow's rib bone, it is so satiny you won't stop touching it. A lot of time and hand finishing went into making it. Next to it are more conventionally-precious pieces of fine silver. The pod is hollow and organically bumpy, and sports a mysterious blue patina.
Coral is highly prized by many cultures, this piece of sponge coral is I think rather old. Found in a tiny handmade box at a flea market in France, its vivid color is impeccable. Next to this piece of treasure is a stack of sequins made in Africa from some sort of vinyl. It's the color that makes them special, that made someone go to the trouble to cut them out of a big sheet. I'm so interested in this and wonder how they would have been reacted to in earlier times. They don't have the magic of coming from nature but they are very durable and so rich in color, I'm sure they would have been admired.
Finishing the piece are little jots of sparkle from flat bronzy crystals, tempered by charming reconstituted glass beads made in Mali. A little faceted cube of pyrite (Fool's Gold) makes the point--precious is in the eye of the beholder.
Harmoniously asymmetrical on a chain handmade from Argentium silver of 93.5% purity, as opposed to 92.5% in sterling silver. It has been patinated but will not tarnish. I always include a polishing cloth, but a wash with warm water and gentle soap will clean it.
30 inches long; no clasp.
Shipping within the US via Priority Mail; international shipping via USPS International First-Class Package service.