I had set myself a goal to blog about Trade Beads every Wednesday and have found myself falling off the wagon. So I’m jumping back on with this beauty of a necklace. It’s the Rain/Spawn/Salmon Necklace with matching Earrings that I made for a NW Washington gallery show that determined the focus should be RAIN. Strange you think? Well, rain is very prevalent in the Northwest as you probably know and it is very important. Not only does it provide the beautiful lush green coastal jungle Rain Forest, but it is life giving to the bountiful fish.
In Northwest North America the Salmon is one of the most important fish foods for humans and many animals. Rain is absolutely essential to the life cycle of the Salmon. Full flowing rivers and streams are so important to the life of the Salmon and rain and snow melt is what makes them so. If we have too dry of a fall season with not enough rain then there’s not enough water in the rivers and the fish can’t go up and therefore the fish can’t spawn. Salmon spawn, lay their eggs and fertilize them in the gravel beds of rivers and streams. The opposite will happen in the spring if there is not enough water for the “smolts” (baby salmon) to get to the sea. The small Salmon just pool around and wait for the rains and hope they don’t starve to death. Their nutritional needs outgrow what the stream can supply so the babies need to get to the sea to eat and grow. Returning Salmon often gather at the mouths of streams and wait for the water flow level to rise, such as after a rain storm, before heading upstream. The higher flows and deeper water enable the fish to pass obstacles, such as logs across the stream or beaver dams that would otherwise be impassable.
This necklace, Rain/Spawn/Salmon, is strung with gorgeous hunks of Labradorite that have beautiful labradorescence, or “schiller” qualities that create deep refractions of blues and greens, not unlike those seen on Salmon skin underwater. The Labradorite beads have been slightly faceted to enhance that refraction. Also strung up are large Peacock Freshwater Pearls.
These pearls are natural Freshwater Pearls that have been dyed these colors. Freshwater Pearls are not these colors naturally, but they’re very pretty! And the clear crystal glass disks and beads are those famous faceted Venetian “Russians” from the 1800’s. The hand carved Sterling Silver Jumping Salmon are by Owen Walker, designed in the NW native Salish tradition.