The baltic and blue ambers came from various sources over the last 30 years including my great aunt, many grandmothers, women artisans in Lithiuania and Poland who shape the beads they make and send me the powder and chips from the process to make utilize in my perfumes and incense. Some of the amber came from my father-in-law, and is from Columbia and south america, while I made good friendships with some of the miners of blue amber in Sumatra and Indonesia and was able to obtain some beautiful pieces. Other strands were vintage and antique pieces which were broken or in need of repair. It was a delight to take beads from thousands of fragmented pieces I collected and was gifted over my lifetime and to make them into a whole collection.
Amber has a history like no other "stone." Full of 40 million years of perfectly preserved life, amber has long represented our connection and ties to our ancestors, grief and birth rituals, love of the forest both past and present, and the attraction we have to the golden medicines of the trees. Incense and amber are primal, primary loves of humans, and we have long celebrated these resinous tree gifts as substances that change the way we process our emotions and grief. Many people feel protected by amber, healed by it's soul soothing presence, and it is not uncommon for women to pass amber pieces down until they crumble in that sunlight of future generations of grandchildren. Amber represents the cycle of alchemy as death and grief pass on into new births, restoration, and healing of old losses through new ways, new scents, and comforting old presence. Amber, like poplar or frankincense is a comfort to the heart worn thin by grief. On the borders between life and death it glows with it's own fortunes. Filled with a sunlight from the past that we all share and hold in our souls as ancestral.
When I was creating the amber necklaces I divided them into collections as they were made, and themes began to emerge. There is a black and gold "Bee" collection which is full of protective mourning pieces shot through with jet and ghostly tabs of amber full of plants and insects. There is another collection which is all "Beach Glass and Amber"; shades of the ocean and sky and softly washed green and blues to give the feel of walking on the beach and finding these little amber beads which adorn the strands. Between each amber bead is a knot and in this knot of linen or silk, scented and strengthened with beeswax, is a prayer for peace, calm, beauty, wholeness, strength, love, and healing.
Some necklaces have large tabs that were all cut from the same stones. The traditional amber workers like to use every bit of the stone that they can and they cut these "Cleopatra style necklaces" as traditional homage to italian and lithuanian and many other heritages. These necklaces all but disappeared off the US market in spring of 2022, and have become a rare commodity. In fact, we saw a doubling of amber prices over the summer of 2022 and an immediate scarcity of beads and authentic jewelry as war cycles, and etsy regulations crushed many artisans out of the market.
I tried to create a balance over the entire collection of 100 necklaces. Some are delicate and small but feature very good tabs of amber with stellar natural texture, glow or inclusions. This was to create access to more folks, since larger necklaces are expensive. Many necklaces contain rare blue amber beads which actually glow a mystical blue-green in daylight, and an electric mint green in UV light. All amber is fragile and brittle once unearthed and should not be exposed to too much sunlight or big changes in temperature.
All necklaces are made with semi-precious stones, vintage and antique french and czech glass, gold and silver plated clasps, copper artisan clasps, artisinally made waxed irish linen or silk, and my life-time collection of beads given to me by my family and community of exclusively women and tw0-spirit folks! When I thought about this it felt so special....all the second hand beads from grandmothers and aunties....all the lovely sisters passing me special strands of stone medicine....it is all here. Traditions we all carry, still very much alive.