Blue, Green, and Brown Beaded Gemstone Pendant Necklace
In Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, the character Donatello, who has fallen from grace not long before, tells a story of an ancestor who lost forever, through sin and guilt, the companionship of a certain water nymph. No sooner has he finished the story than he finds what he interprets as proof that he has suffered a similar alienation from the natural world. This passage from Hawthorne's novel is so poignant, so heartbreaking, that it inspired this necklace design.
The aquamarine, white topaz, and black-gold amazonite are reminiscent of the fountain, while the tan and brown tones of the sheepskin jasper and the deep greens of the moss agate suggest the pebbles and moss near the water. The teardrop shapes of the aquamarine pendant and the smaller drops to either side recall not only the water but also the sorrow and tears of Donatello as well as his ancestor and the nymph. The small mystic-topaz drops, with their iridescent coating, also allude to the nymph's habit of appearing in droplets of rain lit up by sun and rainbow. The tiny garnet beads above these topaz drops represent the blood that was the result and sign of the ancestor's sin.
This story might seem like morbid inspiration for a piece of jewelry, but this part of the novel, like so much of Hawthorne's writing, deals with how we face up to the consequences of our moral failings. Later in the book, we see how Donatello works out his atonement for the wrong he has committed, and it's clear that his suffering has been to a redemptive end.
This necklace design pays homage to the beauty of Hawthorne's prose in writing about matters so difficult but so true to human experience. And it's an excellent visual and tactile reminder that sadness, guilt, and regret are points on a journey, not the end.
- length: 18 1/8 inches
- pendant dimensions: 1 1/4 x 7/8 inches
- clasp dimensions: 14x13mm
- sterling-silver clasp and findings