Jet & Silver Necklace with Roman Glass Dog Bead
- I have recently come across a number of pendants that have enchanted me. This antique red glass dog, which also resembles a squirrel, is one of them.
- It was sold to me as ancient Roman glass, but I suspect it may be much later. However, in researching Roman dogs, I have found the shape of this dog is in keeping with ancient Roman dogs in ivory and in terracotta. The glass itself is consistent with ancient, excavated Djenne glass, found in Mali, Africa, which were indeed Roman glass beads. Djenne was an important trade route during the 12th-18th centuries and the Djenne people treasured beads, including found Roman pieces, and buried their beads in clay pots. Djenne is now an archeological site where artifacts are still coming out.
- Whatever the origin and date of this glass dog amulet, it is indeed charming. With his tail curling over the back of him, his ears perked up and his paws tucked under as he scampers off, the dog amulet is quite lively. He is 4 cm long, 2 cm high, and 10 mm deep. I have placed him at the side of the necklace as if he was making his way upwards.
- An amulet is an object, usually small, intended to bring good luck or protection to its owner. It is often believed to hold magical properties that can guard against bad luck or illness.
- For the ancient culture of Rome and Greece, the dog was the most favourite animal. Loved for its fidelity, it was also praised by Plato for its courage and gentleness. Dogs were also valued for being watch-dogs and often fed from the master’s table.
- The necklace itself is comprised of six-sided carved jet cylinders (2 cm long x 14.7 mm deep). Jet is a type of lignite, a precursor to coal, and is a gemstone. Jet is not a mineral but is a mineraloid. It has an organic origin, coming from decaying wood under extreme pressure.
- These jet beads are interspersed with handmade, hammered sterling silver barrels ( 12.8 mm x 12.4 mm), and discs (15.7 mm x 9 mm), all created by the Karen hill tribes of Thailand.
- Karen hill tribe Fair Trade silver is nearly 98% pure silver. I mostly choose to use their silver because each piece is like a miniature bit of sculpture, individually crafted and created. I know that artisans in Northern Thailand produce this unique silversmithing in small villages, involving whole families in the process. Their work is fairly paid, and as a result, their beads are much more expensive. But a family is supported and wonderful beads and jewellery are produced in high quality silver.
- There are also 6 mm sterling silver beads in between.
- A handmade sterling silver 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 46 cm (18").