The fairy tale theme for this week’s Self-Representing Artists in Jewelry Design blog challenge in the story of Beauty and the Beast. As with every fairy tale, there is more than one version of this story. However, there are some common themes and symbols across the various versions. For my jewelry design inspiration I’m working from the versions that do not have singing tea kettles and dancing furniture. I prefer my fairy tales more on the dark side.
One common symbol across every version of the Beauty and the Beast story is a rose, or rose bushes. The Beast has a rose garden, and he’s fairly protective of his prize flowers. Apparently, that’s a characteristic he shares with many horticulturists, especially those who grow flowers competitively. Or anyone who has invested a significant amount of time, money, and energy in cultivating their perfect flower bed.
If there’s one lesson in this fairy tale, it’s: you can eat a man’s food, drink his wine, enjoy the hospitality of his guest room, but whatever else you do, don’t pick his flowers. That’s how Belle, or whatever Beauty’s name is in your version of the fairy tale, ends up a “guest” of the Beast. And I use the term guest loosely because the young woman was not actually free to leave.
Much like the story of Rumplestiltskin for last week’s design challenge, it wasn’t the young woman who committed the faux pas that landed her in captivity. It was her father who picked the rose without permission. Apparently children serving time for the sins or crimes of their parents was “a thing” at some point in history.
So, where was I? Right, roses and a jewelry design. I had a bag of these “dark purple” acrylic rose beads in my stash. That’s how they’re labeled: dark purple. Actually, they’re pinkish-purple, or purplish-pink. Let’s just call them fuchsia, shall we? They seemed well suited to this challenge.
There are seven roses wire-wrapped to round silver-plated links in the necklace. The center rose, dangling from a slightly larger round loop, is accented with faceted glass rondelles. There’s a single clear glass teardrop bead attached to the focal rose with a very tidy briolette wrap (if I do say so myself). The length of the necklace is completed with silver-plated chain and a lobster clasp, with another faceted glass bead accent. The coordinating earrings have antiqued silver-finish filigree heart beads dangling from the roses.
After some time passes, the Beast allows Belle to leave for a visit to her family, provided she return to him in exactly one week. He gave her a magic ring that would allow her to return instantly to him when she turned it three times. When her return was delayed (the reasons for which vary among the versions of the tale) she arrives to find the Beast near death among his prized roses. Tears ensue. Seems she had a bad case of Stockholm syndrome and thought herself in love with him.
I won’t spoil the ending for you. It depends on which version of the story you read or see anyway. But how many symbols or themes from my synopsis of the fairy tale can you spot in my jewelry design?
The final fairy tale theme for this month’s jewelry design challenges is Rapunzel: a girl with super long hair locked in a tower (through no fault of her own, of course). I hope you’ll stop by next week to see what kind of jewelry I can make from that story and its symbols.
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