Mary Tom, an award-winning jeweler, creates unusual pieces with a flair for design and meticulous workmanship.
This spectacular necklace is a fine example of her artistic imagination and expert technique.
The splendid butterfly pendant and each flower are tufa cast, although they are so well-finished, that hardly a grain shows up.
In tufa casting, the sandy, compressed volcanic material is sawn horizontally in half, and the desired design is carved – very carefully – into the bottom half.
Then, molten silver is poured into the mold, a bit like making a waffle, and the excess poured off, while the silver cools and hardens.
Finally, the rough piece is pried from the tufa – which may be used once more, or not, since it is so crumbly – and the artist has to file, chisel, and refine the piece.
The butterfly pendant has been stamped through, making tiny open-work circles that are decorative, and also symbolize water drops.
Its surface has been textured, stamped along the edges of the lacy scalloped wings, and hammered, by hand.
The delicately formed antennae of the butterfly are integral.
The four pretty flowers are similarly fabricated, with a raised and polished silver circle in the center, for contrast.
Handmade links alternate between flattened rectangles and chiseled, rope-like circles. The hook and eye clasp is also hand made silver.
Adorning the beautifully textured and shaped butterfly is a handsome, reversed teardrop of natural azurite – a stone that incorporates both lapis and malachite.
The head of the butterfly is a small dome of natural Sleeping Beauty turquoise, while two larges stones, of the same intense sky-blue, sit on the wings.
Two small teardrops of salmon-hued, natural coral also decorate the wings, adding a lovely, contrasting hue.
Butterflies help to propagate plants and crops, so are signs of very good luck, good health, and prosperity.
The choice of blue stones and warm coral integrates the symbols for water and sky and the reddish tones of the Navajo land.
Impeccable workmanship, a gorgeous design, and fine natural stones combine to create a magnificent necklace.
But it is more than a stunning look; the symbols depict harmony and balance in Nature, which lead to happiness and peace.
Extraordinary in all ways, this necklace will look fabulous on sweaters, knits, shirts, and all manner of clothing.
Wear it often, and enjoy the admiring gasps.