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  • The antique carnelian buckle (4 cm wide by 2.5 cm and 30 mm deep) is an element now impossible to find. I have never been clear as to how, as a buckle, it worked, but I have always been told that this was a Chinese buckle. Sadly, this is the last of its kind. The opaque carnelian is a warm, rusty red colour with some striations. How old it is remains unclear, but it has clear signs of age and wear.

  • Sitting, on top of the carnelian buckle is a carved mammoth ivory stallion, inlaid with horn eyes. He has been very well carved, with his mane and his tail swishing forwards, his legs bent realistically as he reclines, and his head turned to the side, with ears pricked up to listen for anything untoward. He is 18 mm wide, 18 mm high and 15.6 mm in depth. He is also a signed piece.

  • The horse is seventh in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. The horse symbolizes enthusiasm, energy, integrity and independence.

  • I do feel, however, that it is also imperative to explain that mammoth ivory comes from the long extinct mammoth elephant. This is not an endangered species because it has been extinct, like the dinosaurs, for a very long time, and is therefore not illegal. Enormous mammoth tusks have been unearthed in Siberia. And now, the artisans who once carved elephant ivory, have turned to mammoth ivory instead.

  • Supporting the carnelian buckle is a vintage, 18K gold on silver on hardened resin bead (14.5 mm), made using the traditional techniques learned from the ancient past.

  • The pendant hangs on 4 mm carnelian beads which hang on a necklace made up of the following:

  • At the centre and half way along the necklace, there are four antique, 18K gold, etched beads (12.5 mm), made in Afghanistan.

  • The Afghani have been crafting gold for centuries. When Alexander the Great came to Afghanistan, his people brought many skills, one of which was working in gold. Like the Romans, centuries later, a yellow, 18K gold was used. But one of the techniques was to take sheet gold and work it onto hardened resin and then decorate it accordingly. For me, this handiwork and yellow gold colour gives the necklace warmth and character and complements the gems.

  • After the gold beads, there are two, antique, carved, open work barrels of calcified, nephrite jade (14 mm).

  • Four natural rusty red jasper cylinders (11.9 mm) alternate with vintage, faceted cylinders of rock crystal (12.8 mm). The crystals are full of inclusions and wear. They are not damaged, but give character to the necklace.

  • Lastly, there are two, antique nephrite beads in a creamy colour. These are carved in the shape of lotus flowers (16 mm), the emblem of purity.

  • I have then knotted the black silk/polyester cord with the traditional Chinese “flat knot” as well as the “button knot”. This is not only a classical Chinese technique, but it lightens the necklace and makes it quite comfortable to wear. It also sets off the design.

  • A 14K gold vermeil toggle clasp has been used because toggle clasps are easy to use and secure. My silver name label is attached at the clasp.

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

  • Length 44 cm with a 6 cm pendant drop.