Jewelry is one of the earliest forms of human adornment. It remains essentially a tribal art that all of us take part in. The earliest of humans chose to wear symbolic amulets, talismans and charms to commemorate, to protect and as a form of self-expression.
As a child, I collected shells and beads that I would string together to wear around my neck, wrists and ankles. I climbed trees, combed beaches, and observed wild creatures for hours imagining myself to be part of a native tribe that believed there were spirits in the rocks and trees. The gems and jewels that I found in nature among the vines, leaves, feathers, rocks, fossils and shells were totems for me that I bestowed with secret powers and symbolism.
Years ago in Florence, I came upon an exhibit of charms and amulets from the personal collection of Lorenzo de’Medici. In the 15th century, Lorenzo acquired jewels from traders and merchants that passed through Florence on their return from the Silk Road and the Orient. I was fascinated by the origins of the intaglios, carvings and gems, and the mysteries and meanings contained in these pocket-sized wearable treasures. The contemplation of these exotic jewels led me to design and create my first amulet out of gold and rock crystal.
My relationship to my own personal jewelry is eclectic and tribal in its own way. My daily choices are usually reflective of where I am and what I’m doing, thinking about or working on. Yet I am never without my rock crystal amulet whether on its leather cord or on one of my gold chains. The rock crystal amulet is one of the first jewels that I ever created and has become my most iconic piece. The one I usually wear is about 30 years old. My amulets embody and represent the history of our human relationship to jewelry. The transparent yet luminous quality of the rock crystal is chameleon-like becoming essentially an extension of its owner. Over the years, I have created new amulets with each new theme that I have delved in to. There is the vine amulet created for the Diana, goddess of the hunt; there are crystal amulets embraced by royal blue moonstone starfish fit for mermaids; amulets alight with bees, flowers and dragonflies; and cosmic amulets that track the phases of the moon. I am endlessly fascinated to see how others choose, wear, and make these amulets their very own.