Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gypsy Craft

I've always had a fascination with gypsies, as I imagine a lot of others have. 

For Halloween one year, when I was a little girl, I dressed as a gypsy (with the help of my mom, of course) --that is, when I wasn't a pirate or a beatnik.  And I always wanted to live in one of those cool caravans, which are apparently now becoming popular for vacations.


So you can kind of tell, perhaps, that I am attracted to exotic sorts of things.

Yesterday, my mother (yep, same one) gave me some odds and ends of jewelry to either sell or incorporate into my own jewelry creations. The most interesting one was this necklace.

Then she told me a story about it that I had no memory of. She and my father traveled to the Provence region of France, probably in the 1980s (I forgot to ask). They rented a car and were leisurely going from town to town in that beautiful area.

Now there are many gypsies (or Tsiganes, as they are also known) that live in and around that part of southern France. They are travelers and make their living in various rather ways, that I will not go into here (but if you've ever gone to western Europe, you've probably read warnings about them).

My parents encountered some gypsies having an informal market, of sorts, so they stopped to see what was being sold. To make a not-too-long story even less long, my mom bought the necklace shown above.

The most interesting thing about it (besides the story, of course) is how it was crafted. It is quite primitive, which gives it a raw sort of  beauty.

The links were handmade, as were the jump rings. The chain and barrel appeared to be commercially made.  Lots of solder, most likely lead, was used, which would make it impossible to be sold in California.

The large piece of faceted purple glass
 is reminiscent of the color of wine.

This is such a dramatic piece, which I will eventually sell in my Etsy shop (with a warning about the solder). But for now, I will keep it and admire the exoticism of it and how it came to be in my family.


WolvesAtTheDoor said...

Wow, you can see the history of the necklace in its twists and imperfections just like an people wear their history on their faces! And that gypsy wagon is a dream :) Hope you are really well!

Laurie said...

That is a fun story. For that year I lived in Germany, I remember being quite surprised when the gypsies camped and passed through the little town I was living in! It seemed like such a blast from the past that they still lived that traveling lifestyle!