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Midnight Saquaro Necklace

Midnight Saquaro Necklace   This necklace includes:
*Handmade glass beads by Karen Ovington
*Natural, undyed Afghani lapis lazuli
*Coral, old Czech snake beads
*Sterling beads and findings
*Tiny Arizona and Chinese turquoise
*Seed beads
*Love beads
*Signed, dated

Length:  23.5" - 28.5" (60 cm - 72 cm)
Saguaro:  1 1/2" x 1 1/8" (4 cm x 3 cm)
Drop:  4.5" (11 cm)
Weight:  4.5 oz (126 gm)

Photo: Melinda Holden

  Item #425                       SOLD
Karen's vibrant beads worked beautifully with the lapis and coral. You may be interested to learn more about the art of the handmade glass bead. Cindy Jenkins' Beads of Glass (below) describes the art and profiles the top artists today, including Karen. Lark's excellent 1000 Glass Beads provides an excellent overview of the glass beads being made since the resurgence of the art in the 1990s. This little task I set myself of finding interesting books you might enjoy related to the topic at hand is sometimes rather bittersweet. Amazon listed The Glass Bead Game right after these other two. It reminds me I must replace my Hesse collection!

In this necklace, the ruffled strand is Comanche stitch, also known as brick stitch, done in 15/0 (i.e., small) Japanese opaques. In this type of beading, the beads are stacked on top of each other, one at a time, with the beads overlapping the ones below, just as in a brick wall. Perhaps you can understand that it takes a bit of time to make.

The bead in the drop looked like a saguaro to me. The saguaro is the quintessential image of cactus and is emblematic of the southwest. Saguaros are huge, beautiful, multi-branched beings which sport large, white bat-pollinated flowers. Incredibly slow growing plants (usually less than one inch per year), they can nonetheless attain substantial height, the tallest being about 45'. They don't even begin to develop their handsome arms for 60-75 years. Because of extensive habitat loss, their extremely slow rate of growth and low reproductive success, many argue they should be added to the endangered species list. Fortunately they are protected in Arizona. If I still had my library, I would summarize the story Gary Nahban tells about the Papago (now known as Tohono O'odham) rain rituals associated with saguaro blossom wine. Better to read his marvelous little book yourself (see below)!

The light blue glass beads at the sides of the necklace are old Czech glass, they were traded into Africa where these were collected. They are called snake beads because they fit together rather like snake vertebrae which themselves have been used as beads (see a contemporary example in Robert Liu's beautiful Collectable Beads).

The Book of Stones emphasizes that lapis lazuli is one of the best known stones for use in past-life exploration. It is said to activate the psychic centers at the third eye.

There are many strands woven into this story and into the necklace. I do hope you will buy this piece and add your own stories to it by wearing it and enjoying it.

LOVE BEADS: This piece includes "love beads," beads given to me after the fire by friends and strangers. The necklace carries the energy of their loving concern.

One-of-a-kind, subject to prior sale

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All designs © Mary Hicklin 2001-2007