I´ve been fascinated by sea urchins for some time now and leading on from my 2018, award winning SEA URCHIN COLLECTION, I wanted to do something a bit different. I was walking at kilometer 90 on the straights of Gibraltar and found some sea urchins on the beach that still had the insides intact. I thought the skeletal structures of the mouths were amazing so designed a necklace from one. Then I found out that these were called Aristotle´s Lanterns as they are a similar shape. Below is the story of Aristotle´s Lanterns.
Aristotle is best known for his work in philosophy. However, he also studied, experimented, and wrote many textbooks about the natural sciences. One of these books was called Historia Animalium or The History of Animals. Aristotle described the mouth parts of a sea urchin in this book. Below is the translated text.
"In reality the mouth-apparatus of the urchin is continuous from one end to the other, but to outward appearance it is not so, but looks like a horn lantern with the panes of horn left out."
As other scientists later studied and wrote about the urchin, the term Aristotle's lantern was used. This holds true thousands of years later.
Why a horn lantern? As it turns out, these lanterns were not shaped like a horn. Instead, they used thin pieces of horn on each of the lantern's sides. The pieces, also called panes, were thin enough to allow the light from the lantern to shine through, but protected the candle from being blown out by such things as wind. Horn lanterns have been made for many centuries and in many shapes. During Aristotle's life, horn lanterns had five sides. This made for a good comparison when writing about the sea urchin.
I love this piece, its unusual, structural and beautiful all at the same time! Nature at its best!
The above pictures show the piece with a 30 inch long sterling silver chain and gold plated teeth. Tell me what you think, would you wear it?! I do and get many compliments from interested people, as to what it is! I love explaining and most people end up being as fascinated as me!
I was showing at International Jewellery London recently and this was another jewellery designer´s (Yasmin Everley) favorite piece from the show! Below is her instagram story showing the piece!
And below is the first picture I took after finding the stuctures on the beach, from my balcony overlooking the straights of Gibraltar!