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Jewelry: The myth and the magic

We're so pleased to welcome back guest blogger Jane Danley Cruz to talk about the inspirational power of jewelry. I find this to be a common theme as I talk to people about the jewelry that they make in support of a particular fandom. A lot of us derive a sense of self-confidence from the fandoms that we follow or the heroes that we seek. Wearing any piece of jewelry that helps you feel braver or more confident is a great thing, and we hope that everyone makes and wears what they need to always feel strong and beautiful. ~kk
dragons book cover

As I was working on my book, Dragons, Crystals and Chainmaille about medieval-inspired jewelry, I was reminded of the mystic facets of medieval life.  It was a time of uncertainty and mystery about many of the things we take for granted today. Few people were in control of their own destiny and famine, disease, or warring factions could wipe out entire communities in short order. With so much unknown, people often looked to nature, lore, and legend for answers that would give them comfort and protection. Since art frequently mimics life, I was intrigued by the symbolism and meaning of gemstones used in the jewelry of the era.

Listed below are a few traditionally held beliefs about the healing power of gemstones and their ability to protect the wearer. I ask you to think about what life was like that would require these types of protection.

  • Amethyst wards off drunkenness and protects the wearer from poisoning.  It prevents hailstorms and keeps away locusts.
  • Garnet prevents fever and dropsy and gives and keeps good health. Garnet makes the wearer agreeable, powerful, and victorious. If worn around the neck, garnet wards off plague and thunder. 
  • Emerald cures eye diseases and when ground up and ingested (heaven forbid!) it can be used to treat dysentery, epilepsy, fevers, and venomous bites. Emerald is also believed to provide immortality, to pacify enemies, and to win the favor of rulers. 
  • Diamonds can ward off madness and danger and give the wearer courage.
  • Sapphire has the power to prevent despair and fire and make the person wearing it virtuous, devout, and wise.
  • Rubies offer protection from poison, infections, evil spirits, and lightening.
  • Topaz protects one from bad dreams and makes the wearer cheerful.
  • Gemstone blog photo A

     

    I wonder, what legends have you heard about the power of gemstones?

    And here’s where I tell you a true and personal story…

    Gemstone blog photo B

    When I was 39, several co-workers gave me a lovely moonstone necklace and ring set as a gift. I’ve always loved moonstone, and as I tried it on for the first time, one of them – let’s call her Mary – announced “Moonstone is a fertility crystal, so wear it with caution.”  Oh my, how we laughed. 

    Ten months later, I gave birth to my one and only child, Sophia!

    As a general rule, we don’t give our bosses topaz to make them more cheerful, expect our diamonds to prevent us from going mad, or wear rubies on the golf course to ward off lightening. However, the one thing that has remained the same is that we still look to jewelry for comfort, validation, and reassurance.
    Gemstone blog photo C
    This necklace was a favorite going-to-church pin worn by my great-grandmother Louisa in the early 1900s. Although she died before I was born, my mother adored her and always talked about her strength and sense of humor. Sometimes I wear this necklace when I’m feeling anxious or unsure of myself. And sometimes, I wear it because it’s just the right shade of blue.
    Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?  Perhaps a necklace that was a gift from someone special? Or a charm that says “courage” or “strength” acquired during a difficult time in your life? It’s no secret that jewelry has “magical” powers to make us feel loved, protected, and comforted. Is it sentimentality or fact?
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