Tag Archives: jewelry

Pearls: Symbols of Wisdom

The pearl, highly valued as an object of beauty for many centuries, has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable. The symbol of wisdom acquired through experience.

noun: pearl

  1.  
    a hard, lustrous spherical mass, typically white or bluish-gray, formed within the shell of a pearl oyster or other bivalve mollusk and highly prized as a gem.
  2.  
    a precious thing; the finest example of something.
    “the nation’s media were assembled to hear his pearls of wisdom

black-pearl copy

Unlike gemstones which are mined from the earth and then must be cut and polished to bring out their beauty, pearls are grown by live oysters, below the surface of the sea, and born complete.

A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object becomes lodged in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. The oyster responds by secreting a smooth, hard, crystalline substance (nacre) around the irritant in order to protect itself. Encasing the irritant with this silky, crystalline coating until a luminously elegant and lustrous gem, called a pearl, is formed.

How something so miraculous emerges, out of an oyster’s way of protecting itself, is one of nature’s loveliest surprises and explains how the pearl has come to symbolize wisdom acquired through experience.

While the most valuable pearls are perfectly round and smooth, many other interesting shapes also form and are known as Baroque pearls.

Baroque pearls, especially during the Renaissance times, have been valued for their sculptural inspiration. One example of this is the Canning Jewel, from the 16th century, which uses a large Baroque pearl as the body of a mermaid-esque figure.

the-canning-jewel

“The Canning Jewel is a sculptural pendant of the late Renaissance period, ascribed by some jewelry historians to Benvenuto Cellini, a celebrated sculptor, goldsmith, author and soldier of the Italian Renaissance. Around this period from the 15th to 17th centuries, baroque pearls in large quantities had reached the European markets, from the traditional pearl producing countries like the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Gulf of Mannar, and also from the newly discovered pearl banks of the New World, in Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, but there was no demand for such pearls because of their irregular shapes, which would not fit into any type of existing jewelry at that time. Pearl dealers had large numbers of such irregular-shaped pearls in their stocks, not knowing what to do with their accumulated stocks. It was then that the enterprising jewelry craftsmen of the Renaissance period, came up with the idea, of incorporating these baroque pearls, together with other colored gemstones,  in various fancy shaped pendants; shapes that bore fruit in the fertile imagination of the craftsmen taking into consideration the unique shape of each baroque pearl. The result was a host of different pendants with a multitude of shapes such as animal and bird figures, bunches of flowers and fruits, monsters, dragons, mermaids and other mythical figures; the shape of the pendants being determined by the shape of the baroque pearls that were incorporated in them.” -http://www.internetstones.com/the-canning-jewel-india-viscount-earl.html

Today, Baroque pearls are a more affordable option than traditional, spherical pearls. And preferred by some for the way their irregular shapes inspire our imagination. But whatever your preference, from the spherical to the baroque, we’re sure you’ll enjoy our varied collection at Seven Sisters Gallery.

Elizabeth Ngo: Antique Button Jewelry

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Elizabeth Ngo creates jewelry from historical works of art. Perhaps you yourself own one of these tiny historical pieces, thrown into a jar or the back of a drawer. You might have one or two tucked under your sofa cushion. The button. The simple fastener that fastens material and memories and generations. How many of us remember hours of entertainment sifting through button collections? Enjoying the feel of running our fingers through a pile spilled onto the floor. Marveling at the variety and detail. Turning to our siblings to say, “look at this one!” So often, as I stand with a customer, picking up this piece and that of the Ngo collection, I hear a story tied to memories of our mothers, our grandmothers, our younger selves.

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The simple button carries a sort of sacred quality that transports us to another time. Elizabeth Ngo retains that quality by creating with great respect and attention to detail. With a profound reverence for the historical significance of each piece, she maintains the integrity of the button by leaving the shank in tack. Setting the buttons in finely worked and beautifully detailed sterling silver to create wonderfully balanced rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Adding details of Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones and the finest findings.

“I work mostly with the Victorian Glass, picturesque French Metals, carved pearls and hand painted enamel buttons from this period. They are all very unique works of art that speak about their time period. Preserving these buttons into unique pieces of jewelry is my way of putting the buttons back on the women.”

These elegant works of art reflect the era of the 1800’s in Europe. Whimsical characters, fleur de lis imagery, knights and battles, created with amazing enameling and intricate carving. Victorian glass, pearls and shells, ornate rhinestones and iridescent glass, all reflecting a time when art and history and handwork were highly revered. ring

The history of buttons goes back at least as far as the Satsumas, highly collectible ceramic buttons from Japan. Named for a historic ceramics center on the southernmost island of Japan, Satsumas were first made in the 17th century by Korean potters. These buttons were often painted in extraordinary detail, depicting miniature scenes from Japanese life and the natural world.

The brass picture buttons, which you’ll find in the Elizabeth Ngo collection, come from the Victorian era and are also highly collectible. Delightful pieces, stamped with charming images inspired by everything from operas to children’s books. Other picture buttons took their cues from nature (flora and fauna), the sciences (stars and moons), or mythology (cupids and fairies). 22-13-02

22-13-35Black glass buttons from the Victorian era came next. Initially, black buttons were made out of jet, a fossilized coal found near Whitby, England. But because of the high cost of jet, black glass was soon used as a replacement.

Some black glass buttons were molded to create reliefs of plants and animals, and detailed pictorials. Some of the buttons have reliefs of fabrics patterns; others have a stunning silver or iridescent luster. You might also find some that have been painted or enameled.

Explore our cases and join in discovering the stories behind these historical pieces. Once your inner sleuth is awoken, you might check out some of these great online resources to further your adventure:

Hammond Turner & Sons online collection: http://www.hammond-turner.com/

Keep Homestead online collection: http://keephomesteadmuseum.org/button.htm

The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. They have an online button collection that you can view at: http://bit.ly/1rXwmIB

Field Guide to Antique Buttons and Vintage Glass http://www.grandmothersbuttons.com/Images/Interior/resources/gran_fieldguide_web2011.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stackable Rings

Throughout history the principal use of gemstones has been for healing and spiritual rituals. While gems were rare and beautiful, the reason they were so valued was due to the power they imparted to their wearers through contact with the body. Many people today still choose stones based in that ancient intuition.

Our new collection, of Marija stackable rings of sterling silver and semiprecious stones, affords you the versatility to create the right combination for your particular daily intentions. To name a few, our selection includes: Citrine, to create optimism and increase self-confidence and the achievement of personal goals; Peridot, to heal hurt feelings and mend damaged relationships; Pearls, to promote sincerity, truth and loyalty and to help calm and focus attention.

stackedrings5 borderAffordable and versatile, stackable rings are a great jewelry essential, fitting together to create a variety of options. Mix and match stones of varied colors, textures and intensities to create the perfect combination for your mood and dress.

The stackable ring allows you to wear a simple wide band pearl one day, turn up the energy another day by adding a gemstone or two, or simply combine them on a beautiful, long chain to wear as a necklace.

ring with border

Perhaps you would like to unite a medley of your children’s birthstones, or create the perfect anniversary ring duet of his and her birthstones.

And with June just around the corner, you might want to consider the stackable ring as a timeless alternative to the more typical class ring. Gift your graduating daughter a combination of her birthstone and your own, as a way to symbolize your loving presence in her life as she sets off on her journey. Our line of Marija stackable rings will last generation after generation so that she may one day pass on this meaningful symbol of the lasting love of family, to her own children.

Visit us, or give us a call, at (805)772-9955 or come into our store at Seven Sisters Gallery, 601 Embarcadero # 8, Morro Bay, CA so that we can help you choose the perfect start of this wonderfully collectable accessory. 

Isha Elafi Nomadic Knotwork

“Each person has their own color scheme and stones which harmonize with their spirit…when a person picks the perfect necklace for their feeling, and coloring, the necklace changes from an inanimate piece of jewelry…It actually comes alive, and the wearer becomes radiant! ” –Isha Elafi

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Artisan, Isha Elafi, elevates the ancient art of micro-macramé to a new level. The influence of the various tribal cultures that she has visited throughout Asia and South America is easy to see. Each piece, impeccably stitched, expresses the passion and skill of a person who has spent her life trusting her intuition, perfecting her gifts and following her bliss.

A spiritual nomad, with a deep love of travel and diverse cultures, Isha began creating micro-macramé in 1978 as a means to honor her passion.

Citrine and Blue Topaz

Creating necklaces, bracelets and earrings to sell in markets from Peru to India, Isha was able to combine travel and work, and all the while encounter cultures that inspired her designs, and materials to incorporate into her art. Isha named her distinctive jewelry Nomadic Knotwork. Combining intricate patterns of hand dyed durable nylon threads, beautiful semiprecious stones and silver, and an intuitive awareness of color, pattern and texture inspired by nature and native cultures, her gifts coalesce to form incredible pieces of wearable art.

You can see more of Isha’s work at SevenSistersGalleryCa.com
or in our store in Morro Bay, California.

Seven Sisters Gallery, Holiday Haven

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all…

But it can also be very stressful. Expectations are high and so is the pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. At Seven Sisters Gallery we hope to put the wonderful back into this time of year, by offering an uplifting and reasonable way to fill the stockings.

From Christmas ornaments, to stocking stuffers, to that extraordinary piece of artisan jewelry, we are here to help you find the right gift for everyone on your list within a budget that doesn’t create stress. And to make it that much easier, we’re offering 10% off of all non-sale, non-consignment purchases from this Saturday, December 1 through the following Saturday, December 8. Plus many items marked down from 20%-60%. Come on in to Seven Sisters Gallery, to enjoy our festive windows and Christmas music, while you browse our unique collection of art, jewelry and gifts. We look forward to seeing you.

joy

Angel of Joy Ornament

From a Tiny Seed…

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Seven Sisters Gallery is proud to carry the work of one of the Central Coasts finest creators of wearable art. Award winning Artisan, Susan Terese, creates off loom seed-bead weaving’s of necklaces and earrings. Susan has a passion for beading, which shows through her work and her generosity toward everyone associated with the art, including fellow beaders, lampwork artists, and all who love and wear her pieces.

Not only is bead weaving her passion, but she is also passionate about the beads themselves. All beads. From the tiny seed beads that form the framework of her pieces, to the incredible focal beads which define each creation.

I asked Susan to say a bit about that love and a bit about her process. In her own words…

“There’s glass, crystal, stone, bone, shell, horn, and many more different kinds of beads. Pretty much if it has a hole it can be used as a bead. While almost all beads are wonderful I do have a favorite. It’s none other than the lowly seed bead. These tiny guys are amazing and so fun to weave with. Seed beads are glass, and range in size, and have many different finishes: transparent, opaque, matte, luster, AB, and silver, copper, color and bronze lined.Can you imagine how they are produced? It boggles my mind. Mostly they come from Czechoslovakia (where they have been making them for 500 years or so) or since World War II, Japan. They are perfect for off loom weaving, which is what I do.

I am also very fond of American artisan lampwork beads. These are incredible one-of-kind glass beads made on a mandrel with a torch. That which starts as a thin glass rod is melted and formed into a beautiful bead. The imagination and skill of these artists is awesome. I enjoy supporting their efforts and buying their beads to use as focal pieces in my necklaces.

So this is my process. I start with a focal bead and let it speak to me. I start going through my stash to see what accent beads and seed beads I have that will compliment the focal. I think about the style of the focal…elegant, whimsical, earthy, geometric, vintage, retro, etc. Then I decide which weaving techniques to use. Then I usually go to the bead shop and spend money! And that’s the start.

Thblue1en it takes time to pick up those tiny seed beads with a needle and weave. Yup, it takes a long time. But that time is peaceful and meditative. It’s very fun to see the finished result. Most often it isn’t what I expected as the work evolves and takes on a life of its own. In a nutshell, seed beads make my world go round!”

Susan will be our guest artist February 13, 2015 during the Morro Bay Art Walk, at Seven Sisters Gallery on the Embarcadero. Come see her collection, talk with her about her work, and learn the many ways to wear her beaded Lariats. We’ll also have refreshments. Seven Sisters Gallery, 601 Embarcadero #8, in Morro Bay.

We look forward to seeing you. And we’d love to hear from you at our new Facebook page. Leave us a message, or just check in now and then to find out what’s new in about our store.

Art and the Gifts of Ancient Wisdom

“The boundless profusion of animal symbolism in the religion and art of all times does not merely emphasize the importance of the symbol; it shows how vital it is for men to integrate into their lives the symbol’s psychic content— instinct.”   -Jung, Carl Gustav, Man and His Symbols. Random House, Inc.

Weaving together her love of natural materials, and a fascination with spiritual and mythological art, Zealandia Design’s artisan, Jenny Byrne, has created a unique line of silver, gold fill, and fossilized ivory jewelry rich in archetypal symbolism.

Even the materials Jenny chooses seem infused with the gifts of ancient wisdom to be carried forward to our modern psyches. Jenny combines the natural elements of silver, gold fill, fossilized walrus tusk, ancient mammoth ivory, semi-precious stones, ammonites, mother of pearl, and paua, into jewelry as unique as a fingerprint. Incorporating ancient fossilized ivories with colors ranging from creamy white to a rich black, depending on the minerals it was in contact with and the length of time it was in the ground. Fossilized walrus tusk, which has lain beneath the soil for 500 to 3,000 years, is obtained legally from Eskimo families who excavate it from village sites on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. With intention, Jenny selects the fossilized ivory, vibrant shells, and semi-precious stones, appropriate for each piece of her handcrafted jewelry.

“The richness of hues developed by the fossilization of ancient ivory makes each piece of our ivory jewelry unique. The idea of using ivory as old as the petroglyphs, and cultures that inspire me, is very exciting as I like my designs to tell stories that honor the wisdom ancient people developed to explain and understand the forces surrounding them. I see early expressions of writing, art and ritual as having an innate power, and incorporate this into my designs as silent incantations or mantra.”   -Jenny Byrne, Zealandia Designs

Beyond the materials is the design. A design informed by Jenny Byrne’s love and respect for the stories and mythology of our ancestors and a deep understanding of the enduring power of archetypal symbolism. Images familiar to all of us, via our dreams and stories and our time in the natural world.

Wearing Zealandia Designs, you can know that you have brought more than a beautiful and timeless piece of jewelry into your life; you have brought the gifts of ancient wisdom.

Zealandia's Dragonfly Rising Pin/Pendant

Please feel free to leave a comment by hitting “leave a reply” at the top of the page. Let us know which symbols, from the natural world, you find personally significant and would like to welcome into your life; or any other thoughts you’d like to share.