There is a beautiful incident, recorded in the Bible, during a supper that Jesus attended six days before Passover, which would have been right before His crucifixion and death. This is a story about the love and deep devotion of a woman's heart. Mary of Bethany was the sister of Martha and Lazarus whom, you may remember, Jesus had raised from the dead. At a dinner given in Jesus' honor, Mary, overcome with emotion, broke open a very expensive alabaster jar of perfume and poured it over Jesus' feet. With tears pouring from her eyes and the fragrance of the perfume filling the house, she wiped His feet with her hair.
Some of those present were indignant and rebuked Mary harshly. The money, they said, was worth a year's wages and could have been given to the poor. Mary's act was somewhat scandalous as the perfume was very costly, worth a year's wages. It was a servant's humble work to attend to guest's feet and respectable women did not unbind their hair in public.
Jesus' response was quick, "Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you but you will not always have me". Jesus knew that they did not truly care about the poor at all; their intentions were not good. He also knew that He was to die in the next few days and would, physically, no longer be with them. Perfume and oils were commonly used to anoint the dead at burial but not in the case of criminals. Jesus was to die a criminal's death and Mary unwittingly anticipated this. Also, Mary knew something that we often seem to forget: she was anointing the feet of the King. She didn't care what anyone thought or said. Her love and devotion for Christ was pure and the object of her affections was more than worthy.
As I worked on this piece, this beautiful vintage perfume vial reminded me of Mary's alabaster jar. It's not made of alabaster but iridescent shell and aged brass. The tiny stopper still has it's original cork and moves up and down on a small, brass chain. I connected it to the necklace with a vintage religious medal featuring a chalice that represents the last supper.
I used a very old, lavender crystal rosary for one of the chains. The crystal beads have been used for countless prayers, I'm sure, and purple is the color of royalty. The brass chain and connectors are patina-ed with age. I used several shades of faceted moonstone in the links and a faceted moonstone onion briolette for the drop. I didn't realize this but moonstone is known as "lovers' stone" which makes it a perfect choice for this piece. I added one, fat, faceted amethyst bead. Amethyst was included as one of the precious stones in the breastplate of the High Priest of the Jews and also in the foundation of the New Jerusalem (Revelation). The small, cream-colored cross is carved buri seed. The freshwater pearls echo the shape and luster of the perfume vial. The gemstone and pearl links are all wrapped with sterling wire.
I finished the necklace with a very small, luminous seed beads and a vintage clasp.
I have to say, this is one of my favorite creations. The crystal, moonstone, pearl and shell make it absolutely glow and give it just the right subtle sparkle.