Pretty, powder pink rose quartz is THE gemstone when it comes to love, so I thought this would be a good time to feature it, with Valentine’s Day around the corner.
Rose quartz is (obviously) part of the quartz family (which also includes, among others, amethyst, opal, and citrine) and comes in colors ranging from very pale, translucent pink to dark rose. Some have rutile needles which gives the stone an asterism effect, and you can find transparent stones as well, but they are much more rare, and so pale in color that you can hardly tell they’re pink. (more…)
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought a post about heart shaped jewelry would be in order.
The Heart – An Ancient Symbol
The heart as a symbol was used as far back as 10,000 BC, although scientists are not exactly sure what it symbolized at that time. In more recent civilizations, it was long believed that thoughts, reasoning and the soul were housed in the heart, and in ancient Egypt, the heart was not only the center of life, but morality and character as well, and your heart was judged to determined your future in the afterlife. The Egyptian Book of the Dead illustrates how after death, a person’s heart is taken to the judgment area and put on a scale opposite the feather of Maat. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the person was all set to enjoy whatever came after, but if it was heavy with sin, the heart would be eaten by the demon Ammit and the person would cease to exist. (so dramatic!)
But why is the heart symbol shaped the way it is? It doesn’t look anything like an actual human heart. And why do we associate that shape with love?
There are many (possible) explanations: Some say it’s because it resembles several different female body parts (use your own imagination here); some claim it is because of a vision Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque had in the 1600s (although that one doesn’t really hold up, because there are stained glass windows with heart symbols that way predates that – maybe she was just commenting on the decor!); it has also been suggested that it’s the heart in the Book of the Dead that inspired it (although I personally think that looks more like an urn or sometimes an actual anatomical heart, but…).
Then there is the theory of the Silphium plant. The seeds from this now extinct variety of wild fennel are shaped just like the heart symbol we use today, and they were widely used as a natural contraceptive. The plant grew in Cyrene (an ancient Greek colony where Libya is today), and was a great source of income for the area. It was extensively commercially traded and the seed pods were even depicted on their coins. It also had a slew of other health benefits (Pliny the Elder wrote that it could be used as an antidote for poison, re-grow hair, cure leprosy, sore throats, etc.), and unfortunately, demand was larger than supply, and it was picked to extinction.
And why it’s associated with love – well, we all know what the heart feels like when you’re in love (or going through a breakup). No mystery there.
Time for the visual part of the post – my selection of some favorite heart charms and pendants:
Collage by Charms Guide
1. Sterling silver filigree heart charm by Rembrandt
3. 10k rose gold charm with set with a red stone (they label it garnet, then say it’s labradorite in the text. Red labradorite has been much debated and a source of both great controversy and lawsuits in the professional gem world. I just wanted to mention that so you can make an informed decision about the piece. Regardless of the quality of the stone, I like it, and I think it’s pretty, so I included it). From Sundance.
I have always loved pretty much everything I see in the Sundance catalog (and have been the lucky recipient of many a birthday and Christmas present from there). I just got the latest one in the mail and was extra delighted to see that there are more charm necklaces and bracelets than I have seen from them in one catalog before. There is definitely a trend going on right now with personalized jewelry in general, and charm necklaces in particular, and there are some of those in this catalog as well.
For those who haven’t heard of them before (oh, are you in for a treat!), Sundance is a jewelry, clothing and home decor company in Utah, founded by Robert Redford (yes, the actor) in 1969. What started as a small local store has grown into a major mail order company (but they still have three stores: one in Utah, one in California and one in Colorado). The first catalog was sent out in 1989 to a small group of people – today the company publishes 35 catalogs/year and they are sent out to millions of customers. And the Sundance Group now also includes the film festival, TV channel, a resort, Sundance Cinemas, and the Sundance Institute.
What I really like about their products (aside from how beautiful they are in their rustic, slightly rough and bohemian way) is that most are handmade by (amazing) artisans. And you can read their bios on the Sundance website, so you get to know a little bit about the person who made your piece of jewelry.
Anyway, here are some of the gorgeous charm necklaces and bracelets from the latest catalog that are definitely going on my wish list (which you can set up right on their site and then share with potential gift-givers. )