*Vintage Art Nouveau glass cabochon
*Tundra sapphire beads, pearls
*Sterling setting and findings
*Necklace is signed, numbered, dated

Length: 19" - 23" (48 cm - 59 cm) Shown on model at shortest length
Centerpiece: 1.25" x 2" (3 cm x 5 cm)
Weight: 1.6 oz (44 gm)

Item #564 - Sold

Mockingbird Necklace

Mockingbird Necklace
Mockingbird Necklace Detail
Mockingbird Necklace Back
Mockingbird Necklace on model
Mockingbird Necklace
Hover to zoom, Click to expand

This fascinating glass cabochon is intricately detailed, and the bird is silvered. It looks rather like our northern mockingbird, common throughout the United States and Mexico and often reviled because of its tendency to sing loudly and joyously at the moon (no matter that it is 2AM), to imitate car alarms, cell phone rings, squeaky wheels and other annoying sounds, and to dive bomb anything in its territory including house cats and humans, often yanking out its victim's hair in the process. This large, handsome grey on grey songbird with black and white detailing of the family Mimidae draws bird watchers from all over the world because of its amazing repertoire which can include as many as 200 or more acoustically distinct sounds. The family name comes from mimus meaning 'mimic' or 'imitator.' According to Fisher and Clarke, sonographic analysis often cannot detect differences between the original sound and the bird's rendition.

To continue the ornithological theme, I put our California quail on the back. In contrast to the opera singer on the front, the quail is a quiet little bird. Most often seen on the ground in chaparral, a covey can be quite large, up to 200 birds. It's always a treat to run across these shy pretty birds with their cute flapper hats. Their soft, sweet "where are you?" call (per Fisher and Clarke) alerts you to their presence (Peterson transliterates the call as qua-quer'go or Chi-ca'go so perhaps our San Diego birds speak a slightly different dialect!). Incidentally, 'covey' is the proper collective noun from venery (hunting) to designate a group of quail or partridges. If you love words, see An Exaltation of Larks (below) for a fantastic collection of these terms.

I questioned my sanity when I decided to set a glass cabochon in silver with sapphires and pearls. Glass cabochons have always been used in "costume jewelry," often very attractive, but set in base metal and mass produced to keep the design inexpensive. Miriam Haskell's extraordinary body of work illustrates that humble glass, lovingly set in hand-made designs with excellent workmanship, can be beautiful, glamorous, and now highly collectible. Although "glamorous" is not a term anyone would use to describe my work ("the glamorous wart hog tusk necklace..." just won't fly), I hope you find it attractive, even beautiful, and always unique and interesting.

The genius of the bird's uplifted head on this prettily carved cab is what called out to me. It appears to be listening intently which is central to the mockingbird's keynote: finding your sacred song (soul purpose) according to Ted Andrews. The posture recalls the third condition of San Juan de la Cruz' solitary bird, "The conditions of a solitary bird are five: The first, that it flies to the highest point; the second, that it does not suffer for company, not even its own kind; the third, that it aims its beak to the skies; the fourth, that it does not have a definite color; the fifth, that it sings very softly." (Counsels of Light and Love; also quoted in Tales of Power). My teacher described the metaphor of aiming its beak to the skies as relying upon Spirit for nourishment. I hope you will enjoy pondering the lessons of this solitary bird.