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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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rubiesThere's a delightful poem from the Gregorian calendar for July's birthstone, the ruby: 

The glowing ruby shall adorn,

Those who in July are born;

Then they'll be exempt and free From love's doubts and anxiety.

The meaning indicated here is not unlike modern-day associations with the ruby, which is said to inspire self-confidence, a zest for life, and spiritual courage. 

A transparent to opaque precious gemstone, the ruby is found in a variety of red shades.  The name ruby comes from the Latin word ruber, for red.  Rubies are found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Tanzania, Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajkistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Australia, Norway, Greenland, and the United States.  It is amazing that the rough stones appear dull and greasy, but once polished, they can be as brilliant as diamonds.

I've always loved rubies, as my grandmother was named Ruby, and we often wore stones in memory of her.  I think of it as a very romantic stone -- its color is so deep and clear and beautiful. I don't remember the exact biblical quote, but paraphrased, it's something like 'the worth of a virtuous woman is far above rubies'.  Clearly this is a gemstone that has been valued throughout the ages, as it is today.  My favorite rendition is clear, polished rubies set in gold, as in this example from 'Tootightlywound' on -- but rubies can look equally beautiful paired with silver and other complimentary stones and metals. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, you might be interested in the blog post on January's birthstone, the garnet. 


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