Word Challenge: Symbolic Carved Rune Stone and Peridot Pendant

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Are you ready to hear the story of how I kicked off my Word Challenge?

First of all, I am loosely basing the idea for this word challenge off of something I did in college. The concept is pretty simple: I gave my partner a stack of blank pieces of paper and asked him to write down a word on each one. I put them into a jar and for each day that I need a little extra inspiration, I choose one of these magical pieces of paper. Then I make a piece of jewelry that is inspired by that word. Like I said, simple, right?

The first word I pulled out of the jar was symbol. In retrospect, that was pretty perfect for someone who makes symbolic jewelry!

I thought for a bit about how I wanted to interpret this. Do I make an object that represents something else? Maybe something that's emotionally symbolic, like a wedding ring? Or do I make something featuring a symbol? Since I love foreign languages and I'd recently been intrigued by Viking runes, I chose the latter.

At first I thought I might make the character itself out of some silver wire. Thing is, the last two pieces I worked on were graphic and made of silver wire. I've been a metalsmith for a long time and I've got way more tricks than that in my bag, so I kept thinking of things I could do that would be different. I did a little googling on runes and finally decided to make an actual rune stone.

When looking at the runes themselves, I was especially drawn to the shapes used in the "love" and "creation" runes because they are very similar. In fact, the love rune exists within the creation rune and I really liked the idea that creation cannot exist without love. How's that for something symbolic? Proto-languages = so cool! 

    Symbolic Jewelry - Carved stone pendants with the Viking runes for Love and Creation, made for the Tinker Word Challenge

I have a small stash of stones I brought home from Lake Michigan years ago that would be perfect for what I had in mind. Carving the runes was faster than I thought I would be and fun, too! So I thought, maybe that was too easy... what could I do to take this one step further? What if I added a faceted stone or two? I'd been wanting to experiment with setting stones inside of stones anyway.

I seemed to remember peridot being linked to love somehow and various "meanings" of the stone do associate it with love, truth, faithfulness, prosperity, and loyalty. Wearing peridot is said to help relieve stress in relationships and protect the wearer from evil. Well, that all sounds good to me! And, like any jeweler, I just happened to have some old stones on hand... So the "love" rune got two stones, representing two lovers and the "creation" rune got three stones which represent the family.

Even though these pieces don't look like anything I've made before, they do share a lot of the same elements - the geometric shape of the symbols, of course, but also the abstract concepts. I love creating pieces where just a few lines represent a greater idea and tell a story.

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