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Pearl Mythology; Aphrodite & South Sea Pearls

Sunrise in Darwin

The beginnings of a sticky hot day in Darwin led me to thinking I should like to find a cool place in which to sit.
Before I found such a place, it was necessary to have my morning coffee. A friend's brother is a very talented barista in Darwin and he treated me to this beautiful coffee.
How clever is that?!

An Enticing Book in a Cool Library

Caffeine fix sorted, I found my way to the Northern Territories library situated in the beautiful Parliament building.

Entry into the building requires one to be scanned and x-rayed. After clearing the checkpoint, I made my way into the library and found a magnificent book in which to absorb myself.

"Pearls; Ornament and Obsession"
By Kristin Joyce and Shelli Addison and introduction by Sumiko Mikimoto.

No title could entice me more!

The first chapters in this book touch on legends and myths of pearls.

Today, our knowledge and understanding of nature is scientifically explainable and we do not need to create stories to explain how things are formed. (Although perhaps this sentence will be debatable hundreds of years from now) Thousands of years BC, such information was not available, so legends and myths evolved as a means of explanation.

Pearls were one of the first known and highly prized gems.

They were seen as 'supernaturally powerful and conferred great vitality to their owners.'

Middle Eastern civilizations believed pearls and pearl shells had the ability to restore youth.

Ancient Romans believed pearls could promote marital bliss.

Tibetan Monks were said to have a 'seduction pearl.' Any woman caught in its rays was said to become ravenous for love!

Yet, how they came to be inside an oyster was a mystery.

One myth was that the oyster captured a moonbeam with a droplet of water and transformed it into a pearl.

The most romantic of the myths, was told by the Greeks.

Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty, was born from the foam of the ocean. As she emerged, droplets of water fell from her body into the sea and formed radiant pearls.

An Idea Forming!

Such an evocative myth started my mind bouncing around ideas, as to how I capture this story in a piece of jewellery.

I can spend hours lost in my head visualising drawings and designs.
An occasional complaint from my children was "Mum are you listening to me or are you in Lynaire land??"

To display as full a picture as I could of this myth, the piece of jewellery needed to be a bracelet or necklace.

The aspects I wanted to portray were, the ocean foam, pearls and Aphrodite.
Ocean foam is made of swirls and bubbles in a continual non-repeating pattern.
I decided to recreate this wonderful formation from gold wire.

I loved making the sections of gold wire. Controlled random of over and under layering of scrolls, circles, and tear drop shapes.
A few Akoya seed pearls are scattered in the rose gold scrolls, but the main water droplets are my ever favourite, South Sea Pearls.

Idea Transformed to Jewellery

The photos below are taken in two different light boxes.

The first gives a truer representation of the colour of the pearls and gold. The second light box lights from underneath and gives a clearer outline of the piece of jewellery.

(A better quality camera and lens are on my work shopping list, but for now this must do)

Versatility

My initial plan for this piece of jewellery was to be a bracelet, but upon completion, I held it up against my neck and realised it would also make a stunning necklace.

I wished for the owner of this piece to have the flexibility of wearing it as a bracelet or necklace, so I added a detachable chain length made up of gold scrolls and wire bars.
The final aspect to the design is Aphrodite - who is of course, whoever the wearer may be!


 

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