A Turn of Turtles


Whales travel in pods, fish collect in schools, quail gather in a covey. But a grouping of turtles is known as a turn, and that's where this story starts. It took me almost two years to design this brooch, with its shell of 100-year-old mother of pearl, emerald eyes, and diamond-pebbled skin all set in handmade platinum. I had been visiting a client & friend in Connecticut, and in walking up to her front door, noticed that all of her planters had turtle sculptures in them. I inquired as to why and she informed me that turtles signify good luck and that she had been collecting turtle objects for years.

But, as it turns out, there's more to turtles than luck. The turtle, it seems, is one of those creatures that carries a lot of symbolism around on its back. To some cultures it represents longevity. To others, the shell of the turtle represents the heavens, the body - the earth, and the undershell - the cosmos. To still other cultures, the turtle represents strength and stability. But to my friend in Connecticut, her turn of turtles brought good fortune to her home and all who lived there. She had given me carte blanche to design a piece for her. As I ruminated on this it occurred to me: the only thing wrong with her turn of turtles was that there wasn't one to accompany her all the time. So I made one to fill the need - a little luck and strength for her to wear as she moved (as we all do) through the cosmos. As I delivered it to her, I wished her a long, strong, and very blessed life.


Tatum Design