A Plague On Both Your Houses - Starling Reliquary + Necklace
This piece is called 'A Plague on Both Your Houses,' a line taken from Romeo and Juliet, spoken by Mercutio before he dies from his mortal wound. Here in the United States, the European Starling is a devastating invasive species.
The title is a reference to the fact that this invasive species was introduced to America by one fanatic man, who's aim was to gather all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's writings and introduce them to North America. What a disastrous effect that introduction has had hundreds of years later, and it's all thanks to one guy: Eugene Scheiffelin. A decade later the Lacey Act was passed, prohibiting the import of invasive animals, but it was too late.
Starlings continue to cause millions of dollars in damaged crops each year, and are a serious threat to native bird populations. For this reason, they are one of the very few birds one can legally collect in the US.
This necklace has been completely hand-fabricated from sterling silver using traditional metalsmithing techniques. The starling mount has been professionally preserved by a taxidermist, and I have given him new eyes of fine-silver, and black enamel.
The wings have been illustrated by fusing fine silver wires to form the shapes of the feathers, and then hand-stamped to echo the spotted pattern of the Starling. Below, a flashy Ammolite in the shape of a house displays every fiery color found in the landscape behind. Entire pendant measures 5 inches across, 2.5 inches tall.
The back features silver scrollwork, and has been hallmarked with my signature, the year, and .925 to indicate metal purity. Hangs on a 16 inch double rope chain.
The reliquary base has been handmade from wood, leather, clay, and brass and features and original landscape painting framed by a hand-sculpted serpent.
Entire piece measures approximately 15 inches tall, by 8 inches wide, 5-6 inches deep.
The back is signed and dated and comes ready to hang.
As with all handmade and one-of-a-kind jewelry, utmost care should be taken to keep jewelry clean and dry. Never wear your pieces while bathing, swimming, or washing dishes to avoid having them submerged in water. Bones and stones are porous and susceptible to become weak when they get wet. Metals can tarnish and lose their patinas more quickly if they get wet or washed with chemicals frequently. Also, please remove your pieces before any strenuous activities as they are fragile and parts could be knocked loose or fall out. Treat your jewelry like the unique piece of art that it is and it will remain in good condition for ages.
To clean, use a clean damp cloth to wipe the surfaces free from dirt r dust. To shine, carefully use a polishing cloth or a piece of felt to hand buff the surface using care not to tug the feathers. Never use a silver dip or bath on this work or you will destroy the patina.
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