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Jyn Erso's Kyber Crystal pendant: A Jewelry Mystery

How to find your own “force” in jewelry making
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When the feature film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released to theaters this past winter, I joined millions of others in taking part of this holiday entertainment. Now, I am a casual Star Wars fan at best – certainly I’ve seen all of the films and enjoyed most. I am capable of distinguishing between an AT-AT and an X-Wing fighter and have been known to sing the “Yub-Jub” (Ewoks) song in a bar after a few drinks. But I am NOT a Star Wars “person,” by any stretch of the imagination.

I enjoyed Rogue One, but there was a detail (related to jewelry!!) that we need to talk about. In a poignant moment, our heroine Jyn Erso, during a flashback scene to her childhood, receives a gift of a crystal pendant from her mother, Lyra. It is touching, a truly lovely moment. BUT. 

Here’s the thing that bugged me. Other than one oblique reference from Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior who befriends Jyn at another key moment, there was no semblance of explanation about the crystal necklace during the rest of the film. Nothing. What was up with the crystal? Was it rare? Valuable? Did it give Jyn a secret power or help her tap into The Force? It's a mystery! 

When we decided here at the office that we should create a project of a similar crystal necklace for fans of the film, I was excited to try. But I had so little information to go on about the original that I was stumped with how to proceed. So I did what I do: when in doubt, go to the library!

(Note: any Star Wars-related errors in this post are mine, so please be kind if I got any of this wrong!!)

After reading both of the books pictured here, I learned more about kyber crystals than I ever wanted to know. From the Visual Guide, I picked up great information about where the crystals are mined, what scientists study them and why, how the Stormtroopers gather them, and so much more, but that's not really relevant to jewelry! It was the novel that really helped me understand the significance of the kyber crystal pendant to Jyn. 

visual guide

Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, an encyclopedic reference to the events surrounding the film written by Pablo Hidalgo, published in December 2016 by DK Children’s Books, ISBN 978-1465452634. Cover image courtesy of www.dk.com

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, Galen Erso was a young scientist studying energy enrichment and enhancement of kyber crystals, a naturally-occurring substance mined throughout the galaxy.

Although Galen’s research was purely scientific in nature, evil members of the Galactic Empire had an alternate, secret plan to weaponize his research. When Galen realized this, he fled with his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn. The pendant was a small fragment of crystal that was a remnant of Galen Erso’s research. Lyra brought the stone when the family fled from Coruscant as a good luck charm.

Jyn’s overarching story is one of an orphan who must confront her past and make a choice in the battle between good and evil. I see her necklace as nothing especially magical, but more as the symbol that represents her past, a past that she does not fully understand but clings to nonetheless. 

novel
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a novel of the film written by Alexander Freed, published in December 2016 by Del Ray, an imprint of Random House Publishing, ISBN 978-0399178450. Cover image courtesy of www.RandomHouse.com

In the novel, her necklace is described as a “jagged, cloudy crystal…etched with writing on one side” (p. 12). It hangs from a “fraying string.”  It seems that all Jyn really knows about the crystals is they power light sabers (p. 67), and that the pendant is important enough that she has kept it hidden for 15 years.

There are bittersweet moments in the book where Jyn touches the crystal and has flashes of memory to her mother. On p. 217, she holds the crystal while she is making a decision whether or not to join the Resistance, and then she “drops” it. I couldn’t tell if the writer meant that she literally dropped it, as if to the floor, or just drops it back into place around her neck. Either way, the necklace is not mentioned again, so I interpret this symbolically, as it seems to represent her letting go of the past and moving on as a member of the Resistance, come what may (I’ll avoid spoilers here!) 

I think it’s a shame that the significance of the crystal was not fully explored in the film. The photo of it in the Visual Guide shows that her crystal has writing on the side. What did it say? What did it mean? Maybe we’ll find out in a future film, or maybe you readers with more information or theories will send us comments on Facebook. I hope so, because it will continue to haunt me for some time!

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If you'd like to make your own version of Jyn's necklace, be it for cosplay or just for your own special reason, we've pulled together a few projects to help.

Check out this project by Becky Nunn that uses Crystal Clay around the top of a crystal; you can customize the bail with charms, patterns, or colors to create special meaning. 

Bead&Button editor Julia Gerlach has a great post in Bead Buzz, sharing with us a few other basic methods of wrapping a quartz crystal that even a beginner can master. Be sure to check it out. 

There is a phrase used by Chirrut in the novel, echoed in Jyn’s memories of her mother (first reference on p. 67): 
“The strongest stars have hearts of kyber.”

I think that is a wonderful sentiment to adhere to when you create your own version of a crystal pendant, whether you follow one of our designs or come up with something of your own invention. 

Find a stone that speaks to you, wear it close to your heart, and find your own “force” in your jewelry making.

FIND MORE: pendants , crystals

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