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£375.00

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  • How often has one seen a seal like this, lying on a rocky beach, relaxing in the sun and looking as though he was smiling with pleasure? This wonderful seal was carved out of tagua nut, a nut from the rainforest of South America. The seeds that are grown in pods, called cabezas, are from the tagua nut palm tree. It is known as vegetable ivory because it resembles ivory when it is polished and carved. Chinese craftsmen, not able to carve ivory anymore, have turned to this ecological ivory.

  • There are so many details that make this seal seem lively and real: his carved flippers, posed like a portly man about to smoke a cigar; his slice of mouth that can never have enough fish; his nose, alert to sniff those fish; his typical whiskers; and those glistening, expressive eyes (which are actually inlaid horn) are relaxed, content and yet, rather smug. He is 5 cm long, 2.5 cm high and 26 mm thick.

  • He lies on a vintage, carved, natural nephrite jade sword slide. In a tan tonality, the jade has been carved with a dragon on its surface. That is a nod to the Emperor, his power and playfulness. But the dragon is also an emblem of the universal source of energy, known as “chi”. It is 5 cm long, just over 3 cm high and 21.7 mm deep. Whether this was ever used as a sword slide or not, it would have been intended for the blade of a sword to slide through and separate the blade from the handle. But often these are just collected items.

  • All the sterling silver beads vary in size from 6 mm down to 4 mm. But the larger silver bead (16 mm), is made by the Karen hill tribes in Thailand, which is handmade, 98% pure silver, and made like mini sculpture. It is in the shape of a lotus pod, a symbol of purity.

  • Supporting the slide is a natural turquoise disc bead (18 mm). And below the turquoise is a brushed silver horizontal bead (12 mm).

  • All the elements hang on a handmade taupe coloured silk/polyester chain, which, on one of the rings hangs my silver name label.

  • The necklace comes, like all my necklaces, with its own colour co-ordinated silk brocaded pouch bag, made by a Shanghai tailor.

  • Length 46 cm.