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jade hookSAVE 20% WITH SAVE20 COUPON for this and anything else in the shop. This is a lovely hand-carved pendant of natural Nephrite Jade from New Zealand. The hei matu, or fish hook, has endured since pre-colonial times (prior to the 18th century) and symbolizes abundance, and a respect for sea. The design represents the special relationship Maori people have with fishing (historically they lived from fisheries and depended on the sea for food gathering) and Tangaroa, god of the sea. Designs range from the ultra-realistic through to more conceptual styles, and wearing one is said to bring good fortune when traveling across oceans.

This beautiful piece measures approx. 45 mm long (approx.. 1 3/4") x approx. 23 mm. (just shy of 1") at its widest point. Thickness is approx. 3 mm. Hole at top for hanging is approx. 3 mm. wide.

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This year, the famous (& infamous) Mardi Gras celebration of New Orleans takes place on Tuesday, February 9. I'm a Cajun, so naturally this is one of my favorite excuses to party. We've done a couple of previous posts on this bead-intense event (The Beads of Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras Beads), but since we're headed into another year's festivities, I thought I'd expand on these by sharing some of the most cool Mardi Gras beads and creations I've found on Etsy and elsewhere.

mardi gras 1Here's a "Mardi Gras Necklace" by epicetera of Las Cruces, New Mexico -- incorporating amethyst nuggets and oblong beads, bali beads and silver rounds -- all in classic Mardi Gras colors.

Next up, a lovely bracelet called Leafy Greens that evokes the spirit of Mardi Gras -- by Keirsten, found on Art Jewelry Elements. The artist says she paired this one with rhyolite, prehnite, Czech glass, dragon's blood jasper, Indonesian glass, and green opal. 

mardi gras 2She explained her distinctive knotting technique, where she puts one strand through the bead, and the other one around the bead, ties a half hitch at the end, and then a regular overhand knot with both strands, and then on to the next bead, alternating which strand goes in/around the bead. It makes for an interesting jumbly, nubbly, irregular pattern. I can't say why exactly it evokes the Mardi Gras spirit for me, except that it's colorful, pagan and festive -- and that's really what the season is all about. There's also the celebration of 'Fat Tuesday' and abundance, and I think this wonderful creation 'says that' too!

mardi gras 4Finally, another favorite from Cindy King of cskingjewelry on Etsy -- a piece she calls a "Long necklace of bright colors -- a Carnivale, carnival, Mardi Gras, circus clown, jester, or just plain happy necklace". I couldn't agree more. She has incorporated copper, vintage lithographed tin, handmade copper beads, handmade fabric covered copper beads, African trade beads, Indonesian recycled glass beads, an antique padre bead, silk ribbon, brass, and glass beads for incredible effect. I WANT it, or at least I want this talent!

I hope these lovelies inspire you and get you in the Mardi Gras mood!

Until Next Time,

Sheila

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