Sunday, June 20, 2010

The most beautiful neckpiece, maybe ever

c.1900, Papua New Guinea

Uncut stones in
natural fibre (grass?) setting, woven and wax-hardened

During the JMGA Perth 2010 conference, at Gallery East, Fremantle, I met a beautiful lady wearing this beautiful piece. I could not stop looking and admiring it, there was something about it that completely captivated me. The contrast between the rough, natural stones and the soft, dark weaving; semi-transparent and opaque, the way light played on the piece, and the way it looked a perfect fit for the wearer who appeared luminous herself – something that particularly interests me in the aesthetics and culture of wearable jewellery.

The lucky owner was happy to engage in conversation and kindly let me take a photo. She, a well-travelled owner of a boutique specialising in Asian imports, told me that she found this necklace in Papua New Guinea, and estimated it over a hundred years old. The substance used to harden the woven setting must therefore be very durable, to last and be able to hold the heavy stones. The design is also timeless as this (to me, at least) could be a contemporary neck piece as well as an ancient, ancient work of art.

I realise I should have taken a peek at the attachment system also, it would have been interesting to see how and with what materials the "catch" had been resolved.


  1. Oh my, this is such a beautiful post
    and the most luminous image.
    What a wonderful
    out of the ordinary observation,
    or not, as I too
    often admire peoples jewelry
    and am always lead into the
    most interesting tales of peoples lives.

    Your blog is really lovely too by the way.

  2. Hello Eddy!

    And thank you. Yes it's so true that the pieces we wear carry amazing and interesting stories. And sometimes, when it looks like the piece and the wearer were made for each other, it's perfect happiness for the observer.

    Your blog is great too, just had a peek of the Elwood General Store one; hope your cold gets better soon : )