Mourning Jewel

After a query I am posting this piece about mourning jewelry I had made after Darryl's death. The band is my wedding ring.
Jet was popularized as a material for mourning jewelry by Queen Victoria, who wore the stone both in mourning for King William IV, her predecessor, and for her husband Albert. Jet was lightweight and easy to carve so it became a useful material for making the large brooches and necklace designs that were popular during the period.
My grief since the death of my soul mate, Darryl, may not be as conspicuous or as wide reaching as Queen Victoria’s but I feel empathy for her and understand why she wanted all the clocks to stop and for the world to notice that her loved one had gone.
Marion Marshall, goldsmith and silversmith designer, designed pieces of mourning jewellry for me. A pinch of Darryl’s ashes have been incorporated in to a tiny urn within this pendant which I now wear close to my heart every day. The gold band is my wedding ring and the necklace is made from hematite.
When I commissioned Marion Marshall to make mourning jewellry for me we set on an amazing pathway together. From the moment Marion and I met I knew that she was the right artisan for me and that she understood and felt empathy for my situation. Darryl’s long battle with bowel cancer and his death in January 2007, had devastated me and I needed comfort stones to act as a kind of rosary. All who know me know that I am not bound by religious dogma, know that I have stepped outside the square and place my faith in the universe of which I am a fragment. I am, essentially, a human who believes in the mystery of life.
My relationship with ravens began at LaTrobe Secondary College seventeen years ago. Perhaps they knew that the subsequent seventeen years would be filled with turmoil and came to support me.
At LaTrobe Secondary College. where I worked as an English teacher, I was aware that there was a colony of crows, or Ravens as they are sometimes called. These glorious black creatures soar down to the gum trees, watching, waiting for leftovers. Some folk believe that they are menacing but I have always been fascinated by them and always stop to acknowledge their presence.
At one stage I had my students observing them and using their observations as a prompt for writing. One Year 10 student undertook extensive research and found out about their prevalence in literature. He demonstrated that literature testifies that we were not the first to have looked to the heavens to watch the splendid Raven.
Many consider the Raven to be evil and sinister in character and there are numerous superstitions concerning them. Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ describes the black bird as being grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, ominous, a tempter, evil, lonely, ancient and demon-like. However there are numerous instances where the Crow acted as a messenger and a guide. Ravens led the Boeotians to a place where they founded a new city; guided Alexander to the shrine of Jupiter Ammon in Egypt and later foretold his death;guided people from the island of Thera when they emigrated to Libya; a golden raven guided the Emperor Jimmu of Japan, in the 7th century A.D, as he marched to war; were, according to Aelian, a messenger of King Marres of Eygpt.
In ‘The Bible’ there are a number of references to the raven. In Luke 12V 22-24 it says Then Jesus said to his disciples “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about you body, what you will wear. Life is more important than food, and the body more important than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.” ‘In Genesis viii. 6-7 we hear that after forty days “Noah…sent out the raven which went forth and did not return until the waters dried up above the earth….”
The beautiful Raven guides my writing. It has become my totem, a symbol to express who I am and how I want to live. I like to believe that like the Raven I am a guide, a messenger, who leads others to find their unique voice.
I believe that the Raven carries the messages of my heart out into cyber space. Her blackness represents the notion of beginning, just as the symbols of the maternal night and primeval darkness represent beginning. For me the Raven represents creative power and spiritual strength.
When I sat by Darryl’s bedside at the Epworth hospital here in Melbourne, after he had been first operated on for bowel cancer, I noted the black crow that came to sit on the spire outside our window. 
A solitary figure, the crow reminded me to look for strength from within, that out of darkness comes light and fresh beginning. Her iridescence spoke of magic and awakening.
From that day on the crows and ravens kept appearing in our lives and the mysticism surrounding their presence grew. During latter years I looked for them when we were going to the hospital, hoping that they would bring me courage. And they rarely failed me. One day, I drove the car to the hospital doorway to pick up Darryl and I could hear them in the tree nearby. Darryl pointed to them and told me my friends had arrived to watch over us.
When Marion untook her research she learned that the raven could be found at the top of the highest peak, and remained when other birds have gone for winter. We both felt that this captured my personal marathon, the determination to be there until the final moment. She also discovered that ravens form life long partnerships a quality which is captured in the pendant.
The urn, as a round-bodied vessel of containment is a symbol of the feminine. The urn with a lid a good luck emblem and symbol in Chinese Buddhism of supreme intelligence that triumphs over birth and death.
Symbolizes the sun and the round of birth and rebirth since its petals open at dawn and close at sunset. As it emerges unsullied from the swamp it is considered highly symbolic in the East.
When in direct contact with the skin jet was believed to become part of a person’s body and soul and to safeguard the wearer.
Teardrops and so very much more.
Hematite can be called a ‘stone for the mind’. It helps one to sort out things in ones mind and can be used for mental attunement, memory enhnacement, original thinking and technical knowledge. It assists one in mathematical pursuits and in the development of both mannual and mental dexterity.
Although this stone enhances mental capability it provides for a calming atmosphere concurrently, and, in addition, encourages on to ‘reach for the sun’. It helps one realize that the only limitations which exist are those self limiting concepts within the mind.
It is also capable of helping the body to remain cool or of dispelling heat at the physical level: one could use it on the forehead to draw heat from a fever.
Hematite facilitates balancing of the ying and yang energies, utilizing, in addition, the magnetic qualities of the energy to balance the meridians within the body and provide a stable equilibrium between the ethereal nervous system and the physical nervous system.
Hematite assists in the focusing of energy and emotions for balance between the body, mind and spirit. It also assists in the dissolution of negativity, transforming the negativity in the dissolved state, to the purity of the universal light of love. It can be used to stimulate the desire for and facilitate the attainment of peace, self control and inner happiness. It is also conducive to enabling one to enter into a loving relationship. It has been said to attract ‘kind love’.
Hematite helps one to attain a ‘soft’ meditative state, providing for smooth grounding and bringing tranquility and emotional clarity.
from Love is in the Earth by Melody.



I love it! The pendant is beautiful and what a precious way to remember your Darryl.

I\'m incredibly moved by the beauty and depth of emotion surrounding this amazing (living) mourning necklace. The power of the raven and the other components of the earth, your wedding band, and the urn containing the ashes create an exquisite piece that travels close to your heart. Thank you, thank you, for sharing it with us. Hugs, Amy

Heather,l love what you have written,l have just read that magpies belong to the crow and raven family.l think the necklace is lovely,and the way it has been created and what it contains,symolises your everlasting love for Darryl.Heather keep it close to your heart.My kids bought me a necklace,it has a hologram of Franks face on it,you can only see it when the sun shines on it,l love it.just like you love the necklace you have,l keep it close.

An exquisite piece of jewelry, created with love. I wish you good health and happy memories of Darryl as you wear it close to your heart.

What a loving way to remember your husband and keep him close to your heart. Hugs Jane

Absolutely beautiful!!


I really value the detailed explanation about every facet of the jewelry - it makes it all so much more special. I love that you\'ve incorporated your ring into this truly beautiful piece and that there are some of his ashes in there as well. It just knocks me out. How lovely to have him with you always.
Hugs, Gail

Haven\'t had the chance to read this all, but I will. Very beautiful, informative and interesting! I can understand why she wanted the clocks to stop! Sue

Just read it all! Just beautiful.

Wow! Beautiful, and you\'ve put so much thinking into this piece that it makes it really amazing!