a goddess pendant & designing spiritual jewelry


As you probably know by now, I love designing after certain themes or concepts. One that I hold dearly is the talisvrouw series that led me to explore a feminine spirituality in bead, necklace and pendant design.

My interest in pagan and folk religion taught me how meaningful jewelry can be and how popular and widespread talismans and amulets are, whatever religion or age. Jewelry that goes beyond aesthetics and fashion and becomes magical: it protects and gives strength to the wearer (if you believe in it, that is!).

Of course the believing is optional. Aesthetic appreciation wil do just fine! 😉 I just wanted to explore the concept of spiritual jewelry with things that were meaningful to me.

The elements I wanted to use were clear from the beginning:

A fine chain made from the tiniest gemstone beads and handmade silver beads from Thailand and Bali. I start out with a set of colors/stones and a certain fluid rhythm in which the links are arranged. Just a cluster of colors & shapes.

A chain is a symbol in itself, made up of individual links. It’s being part of a greater entity, of having roots that go way back, way deep. It reminds me of a dream my favorite author and storyteller C.P. Estés had, in which she stood on the shoulders of a very old woman -she apologized and wanted to get off her and told her it should be the other way around because she was strong, but the older woman replied that it was perfect the way it was, because she was standing on the shoulders of her ancestor, and that line went all the way back to the center of the earth. Or something like that. I forgot where I’ve read it, but love the image.

-I choose the gems mostly for their color and form, not particularly for their symbolic properties. I’m not so sure what to think of that, although I am crazy about certain stones and less crazy about others. Some of my favorites you can find here. The Balinese and Hill Tribe Thai beads are handmade and especially the Thai beads are incredibly detailed for their very small size (1mm diameter!). They just seemed perfect for this project.

The neolithic spiral designs were my inspiration for the glass beads that would become amulets (I also use the spiral in my logo). The spiral stands for evolution, the way it expands from the center but if you travel the other way around it could mean a journey to the self, getting to the point (literally), unraveling the truth -whatever that may be. A psychological healing process can be described as peeling layers of an onion -you seem to be confronted with the same *shit* over and over, but each time you get a little closer to the core of the issue. And it does get a bit easier each time, a little less layer to peel off.
The spiral is also a Great Goddess symbol of the neolithic (check out the tombstone at Newgrange, Ireland) and finally, it’s a great design to translate on a lampworked glass bead.

The first necklace was still beaded instead of linked. Then with the Dryads (right) I made the chains a lot longer and attached the spiral bead pendant to it so you could wear it long or double. I loved the beads but wasn’t entirely happy with the pendants, so the idea of creating a seperate pendant with integrated goldsmithing and lampworking techniques grew on me, and that’s how the goddess pendant came to life.
A black-and-white reproduction of Minoan pottery showing the descent of the goddess became my model, and this summer the pendant became fact. I wanted to create a human figure, even as stylized as she is with a flower as her face and a curved, organic bead as her body because these “little people”, dolls, saints, house gods, teddy bears are rich in symbolism as well.
They are the little helpers we can trust with our deepest secrets and fears and they tend to talk to us in dreams.

She’s the first, but you can bet there are more to follow…

work in progress & results:

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