18 February 2009

Why Gemstone Rosaries?

I have been making Rosaries for a while. Many years. and I have made them of probably every material imaginable. But gemstones have always spoken to me and I have always had a hard time pinning down why. It was always just something that meant something to me on a visceral level so I did it. I always thought it was just that gemstones are lovely and accepted that.

Recently, I had a small revelation. One of m suppliers is in Jerusalem and I asked them if they would do me a favor. I had them send me a jar of dirt form the road, a bottle of water from the Jordan and a bottle of Olive Oil. All three had been blessed at the Church of the Nativity. Maybe as close as I will ever come to that wonderful place. I took some of each of these elements and put them in small vials to give as gifts. And I mean very small. Maybe a tenth of an ounce each but very nice. Perhaps for hanging from a mirror.

My oldest daughter has recently become periodically interested in making some jewelry for herself. She knows to ask which stones she can use. One morning, she had a new bracelet. A Unakite oblong stone. Not one of my favorites but that is simply my taste. On that bracelet was one of the small vials of earth. My reaction was surprising to me. I asked her if she knew what it was and she didn’t. it was just dirt. “No,” I said, “this is part of a Holy place. It is not JUST dirt.”

My own intensity surprised me and I realized something in a flash. THIS is the source of my passion for stones. In my yard, I have stones from special places. When my father died, I traveled to Texas, to his childhood home and still his home when he died. His great grandparents had begun living there as part of the land grants and had been inhabited by his family since. I brought home four stones that day. two for him, from the creek in the pastures and two for his mother from the ruins of the foundation of the home in which he lived as a child. The home she made.

One of my father’s stones is now the base of a wired and beaded Bonsai tree I made and decorates my front yard. My grandmother’s stones are simply resting on my porch. I pass them every day, along with stones taken from the property my father in law owned in Georgia when he died and the stones from my husband’s grandmother’s home place in Kentucky, brought back to us by his uncles after she was buried there with their own hands.

Stones are just rocks. Or are they? Like the Holy Earth of Jerusalem or the stones from the homes of my families, I feel like stones hold essence. Enter any church. You FEEL the prescience in the stones of the walls. Old churches in Europe have paths worn in them from countless feet that have trod the aisles. Even if the stone is nothing but a rock, the symbology they are given in their use imbues power and the veneration over time grants spirituality.

So, when I make a Rosary from the materials of the Earth, stones and metals, whether fine, high end crystal clear gems, or simple Lava Rocks or pieces of rock picked up from a particular area, I always feel like they mean something. They carry the essence of the Earth with them and through time, the prayers said upon them make them venerated articles and, in a way, those many repeated prayers are stored in those stones. Never to be told but to be spiritually whispered to anyone who later holds them.

These little beads of faith are simple. Some ore rough, cloudy and low quality. Others are clear, fine and perfect. But each one carries an essence that it brings from the Earth and the love, spirit and holiness of those who use them in their devotions.

Stone are not just rocks. They have meaning. They impart the heart of the earth and the treasure of the beauty of God in all phases. Obviously quality makes a difference but I have seen treasured Rosaries made with seriously flawed stones. Perhaps, even though less expensive, those are the best of them. They may lose a chip, they may not reflect a perfect light, but they reflect the love and care of those who use them. The flaws reflect he flaws in us all.

Over the years, chips and worn spots are not losses to these stones but signs of devotion.


Izzy's Precious Creations said...

I too believe that gems call out to you. If one particular gems holds your interest there is a reason why. For example, if selenite calls out to you to create with it; research the internet the properties it possesses and you will be amazed the reason it wants you.

Kat's Kreations said...

Amazing! You don't have to be Catholic to understand the writings in this post...You have struck on a poetic quality of stones, their uses and meaning to those who wear them today and those who will treasure them tomorrow...Thank you so much for taking the time to put all that into words and out here for us all to ponder upon...Your thoughts have given us all a little more insight to the things we take for granted every day. Thanks again for allowing us to share your insight! My life is brighter as a result!

Kicking Bear said...

Awesome .... and the rocks shall cry out !!

Dani said...

Very well done, Karon. Just beautiful.

Joella said...

Very well written! On a less spiritual plane, my hubby is always bring rocks and stones from from places. We live in Southern WI and there is a LOT of limestone here - not the same as rocks and stones. We've brought countless bags/boxes of small rocks and large stone home from MI and he uses them in our train layout for added interest. They always recieve a lot of comment from local folks who know those stones/rocks didn't "grow" in this area.