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jade newThis is a lovely hand-carved pendant of natural Nephrite Jade from New Zealand. Maori designs carved in jade are steeped in religious and spiritual belief. They tell stories of ancestors long lost, depict spirits from the heavens, earth, and underworld, show historical lineage and paint images of the natural world that surround and surrounded them. They are no doubt beautiful, but they’re more than a form of art. For Maori they create a strong connection with their ancestors and the natural world they live in. It was believed by Maori that as a carving was worn against the skin it absorbed some of that person's essence. As carvings were passed down through the family they absorbed essence from each family member, creating a direct ancestral connection through the necklace itself. This is one reason why Maori design is so special, it is more than just an art form.

This special piece measures approx. 70 mm long (approx.. 2 3/4") x approx. 35 mm. (just shy of 1 1/2") at its widest point. Thickness is approx. 3 mm. Hole at top for hanging is approx. 2 1/2 mm. wide.

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meteoriteA bunch of excitement about a 'heaven-sent' bead recently!  Archeologists have found a 5,000-year-old iron bead in a grave in Gerzeh, near Cairo, Egypt. And they've learned it was made from a meteorite!

Beyond the 'cool beads' element of this story, the bead also represents the earliest known use of iron in Egypt. Further, it is a manifestation of how important the sky and 'heavens' were to Egyptians. As the co-author of the new study says, "Something that falls from the sky is going to be considered as a gift from the gods."

Other iron artifacts previously found were associated with high-status graves like that of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.  This new bead from Gerzeh was examined with optical imaging, as well as with an  electron scanning microscope and a CT scanner. The nickel-rich areas in a virtual model are colored blue, and prove its  meteoritic origin.

This same pattern, the authors noted, has been found in Native American iron beads from the Hopewell burial mounds in Illinois from 400 BC, and similar weathering crops up in two Chinese blades from 1000 BC.

The researchers hinted that meteoric iron may have played an important role in Egyptian culture. Studies of the language reveal that about 2,000 years after the bead was beaten into shape, a term known as "iron from the sky" came into use.

"Reasons for the creation of this new word at this particular point in time are unknown,” the researchers say, “but it is possibly a literal description resulting from the observance of a major event by the Egyptian population."

The authors pointed out that the tomb of Tutankhamen -- King Tut -- held several nickel-rich items that could potentially be of meteoric origin: A dagger blade, 16 miniature blades and a miniature head rest. These haven't yet been analyzed to verify the theory, but there is no doubt, now, about the bead. For the whole story, go to:,0,7396522.story

In keeping wth all the excitement, Shannon is planning a new creation -- a meteorite necklace from some small, beautiful meteorites we got at the Tucson gem show. Let us know if you're interested and we'll keep you posted when it's complete!

If you enjoyed this post, you'd likely also be interested in the post Rocks to Gems, a Metaphor of Transformation.




0 # Ellen W. Gonchar 2013-06-11 03:05
This was an awesome blog Shelia! WoW on the history of the bead.......and I would love to see Shannon's necklace when she is done!!
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