This earthy handmade bracelet, inspired by Eowyn of LOTR, brings together lovely betel seeds, silver metal beads, labradorite, fancy jasper, and a palmette leaf charm. The seeds are shiny wedge-shaped organic beads with rich brown tones that have a beautifully warm quality. There are two sets of five betels that edge a central design with a large (12mm) earth-toned fancy jasper round in the middle, bordered by two ornate metal beads and two labradorite rounds (10mm). The gemstones have small silver-plated scallop bead caps. The large jasper bead has faint suggestions of blue in it.
The metal beads are silver-plated copper and were handmade in India. Face on, they have an octagonal shape, with a stepped profile on four of the sides and an ornamental beaded cluster (double sided) that suggests a floral shape. To me, the design of these beads calls to mind armor and suggests a shield with a stylistic flower boss on it.
The labradorite beads are a slighty greenish grey color with some black inclusions. Typically inclusions for this gemstone are black magnetite or ilmenite, although I am uncertain what exactly the inclusions are here. In these beads there are a few tiny areas of "labradorescence," which is a blue sheen caused by a parallel structure of crystals and apparent only when light hits the stone at a particular angle. The sheen is very subtle, but when you catch sight of a little glimmer of this blue light, it's quite magical.
The bracelet strand is finished off on either side with a single repeat of the ornate metal beads and a smaller round (6mm) of earth-toned fancy jasper. At one end is added a dangle of green fancy jasper and a fine silver-plated TierraCast palmette leaf charm (made in the U.S.A.).
The 49-strand Satin Silver beading wire is secured with sterling crimps, which are hidden under silver-plated covers, and wire guards. The silver tone toggle clasp has a spiral decoration that is a fitting accompaniment to the metal beads. Lengthwise, the bracelet measures around 7 1/2 inches. Please see my photos for a picture showing side-by-side measurement with a ruler.
The result of all these materials is what I think of as a shield-maiden's bracelet, and is my humble tribute to one of my favorite characters in "Lord of the Rings," the Lady of Rohan, Eowyn. It's a lovely, comfortable wrist adornment, and carefully made.
Here's some information about the gemstones:
A type of feldspar, labradorite first became known to Europeans in the 18th century via Moravian missionaries who were working among the Inuit in Labrador, Canada. The missionaries named it after the region. Today the stone is found in various places around the world, but the connection to Labrador remains.
There are various native legends about this gemstone. In some, the stone originated in the aurora borealis; in others, the aurora borealis was imprisoned in the stones off the Labrador coast and a mighty ancestor set free most (but not all) of the aurora's light. A variation of the latter has the stars, rather than the aurora, trapped in the stones. Supposedly meteorites often have some labradorite in them.
Labradorite is considered a stone of strength and perserverance in times of adversity, conflict, and upheaval. It's a good luck stone, and supposedly calms anxiety and depression, clears thinking, and nurtures self-confidence. It is also a gemstone of inspiration, and reputedly strengthens intuition and the ability to perceive the proper timing of things. In addition, it is believed to protect one's aura.
Jasper in general is seen as a positive and nurturing gemstone with the ability to lift the spirits and protect the wearer from various forms of negativity. Fancy jasper is considered a stress-reliever and an aid to relaxation, peaceful feeling, and clear focus. Supposedly it is a powerful stone for self-grounding in order to problem solve.