I painted this enamel and 14K gold turtle jewelry pendant in 2004. I’d spent many years in the sea, exploring the vast ocean waters. When I started creating OOAK jewelry pieces, I knew a turtle jewelry piece was in order.
In my own world, turtles are simply one of the most beloved of all sea creatures. I can just happen upon one, whether at sea or land, and I smile upon them.
Little did I know until I did a little research on the shelled snappers that they’ve been around forever, perhaps since the day of the dinosaurs. I was also fascinated to learn that turtles have some pretty wide and varied significance for different cultures.
For instance, Hawaiian natives believe that turtles are signs of good luck and wisdom. Similarly, the Japanese view turtles as a good sign for long life and prosperity. The Chinese believe that turtles carry the world on their back and that it represents patience and fertility. In other Eastern cultures, the outer shell of the turtle symbolizes heaven and the underside represents Earth. They believe the turtle is magical and unites heaven and Earth. Greco-Roman myths say that turtles symbolize the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, who represents procreation, passion, beauty, and love.
Obviously, these aquatic reptiles are good omens in many cultures. Unfortunately, nearly every species of sea turtles are endangered today.
Like many of us on Earth, I stand by feeling helpless that so many of our natural treasures are becoming more and more at risk of extinction. There are only two things I can do. In my own way, I paint a portrait of a life that still is. That should always be. I try to capture their vitality and meaning to the world with gentle strokes of my paintbrush.
Turtles are critical to our land and oceans. They’re a vital and precious part of our Circle of Life. In conveying why I paint the various sea creatures I so love, I mean to bring awareness to their fragility. I hope to move others to act and to understand that we can all play a part in helping to continue their part in our Circle of Life. This is why I commemorate so much of my cloisonné jewelry work by dedicating custom jewelry pieces to these precious animals.
I hoped to bring this painted turtle to life as I applied paint to this OOAK pendant. My vision was to capture a stillness of her gliding in the tranquil blue ocean waters. In her natural habitat — the place she’s meant to live forever as she produces offspring to continue her Circle of Life.
Each animal life represents one of its kind. Each has significance, beauty, and meaning. Capturing the likeness of these animals in an OOAK custom jewelry piece or enamel pendant is something I happen to be pretty good at.
Custom Cloisonne, Necklaces / Pendants, Ocean