Saturday, August 15, 2009

Faery Wing · Leather & Sterling Silver Necklace

When most people think of faeries, they think of wings: lovely little sprites or enchanting maidens with insect wings unfolding delicately from their backs. It might be surprising for some to learn that before Shakespeare's time, wings were not a common, defining trait for faeries and in fact it is very rare to find reference to them in traditional European myth, legend, and balladry. The faery folk of old could be beautiful or bizarre-looking, and encounters with them were perhaps more feared than they were desired, but they were always respected as being embodiments of something sacred and numinous.

Today the wings of faeries are regarded as literal, but perhaps they were not meant to be so. During the same time period when wings became to be a newly popular attribute of fey creatures, interest was being renewed in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. The word for butterfly in ancient Greek was psyche which also happened to be the word for 'soul.' Psyche was also the name of a mythical girl who became the lover of the God Eros. In classical artwork Eros was shown with feathered wings and Psyche was often represented with the wings of her namesake as a visual cue to her identity. Perhaps those who originally associated the fey with butterfly wings were really intending to use metaphorical clues to show the sacred nature of Faery as well as its proclivity for transformation.

This necklace is a lovely reminder that not everything valuable in the world is to be taken literally and not all knowledge lies on the surface.

The letters stamped across the hand-carved and painted leather pendant read "Wings are but a symbol of the soul." From delicate chains hang briolettes of labradorite and moonstone with inner flashes of blue, freshwater pearls, glittering swarovski crystals, and semi-precious stones to compliment the colors in the faery wing.

measurements • the overall length of the necklace is approximately 17 inches and closes with a lobster clasp; the faery wing pendant is about 2.5 inches long by about 1.75 inches wide at its greatest points and dangles 1.5 inches from the main portion of the necklace
materials • hand-carved & painted leather faery wing; sterling silver chain & wire; freshwater pearls; labradorite & moonstone briolettes; swarovski crystals; coral; semi-precious stones; glass beads

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