925 sterling silver or brass with silver ear hooks
1"w x 2"h / 2.54cm x 5.08cm
Handmade in limited quantities
Inspired by diamond pattern found from ancient times to the Art Deco movement
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A simple diamond shaped pattern may not seem unusual. It is so familiar we instantly recognize it. We take it for granted.
The first time I was struck by this pattern at the Radio City Music Hall, the first stop on a much anticipated trip to NYC as a teenager with my family. I was born in NYC as part of my parents’ immigrant story. Having grown up in a small farming town in Illinois, I was ready to take in NYC and all of its excitement. I was mesmerized by the RCM, sleek and streamlined. Machine-like and electric. Modern. The tour guide showed us the circular seating which prevented people from facing each other, keeping the lobby quiet. She pointed out the diamond shaped pattern in the carpet and said at the time it was believed the pattern would make people feel a little sleepy, which calmed them from a hectic commute on the subway and prepared them to settle down for a show. The idea of a pattern making a person sleepy was revolutionary to my 15 year old mind.
Since then I notice this pattern everywhere. Prints on fabric, borders in tiles. The facade of the Doge’s Palace in St. Marks Square, the roof of the cathedral in Salzburg Austria. The columns of Fatepur Sikri.
In my mind it will forever be associated with Art Deco, but clearly the pattern has been in existence for a lot longer. But how long? Where did it come from? Who was the first to create it? I tried in vain to find the origin, the story and gave up actually feeling a little sadness and failure.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the PBS documentary Civilizations. It opens with the idea of the Cognitive Revolution, when humans began to create to serve something other than necessity or survival. Unlike other animals who also make tools and have language, we have culture. We have art.
In Blombos cave on the cape coast of South Africa, they found a piece of red ochre 75000 years old with a pattern etched into it. I found the answer. What was the origin of the diamond pattern?
It was the origin.