There are some out there who will know the name "Archangel, " - the lucky few. Archangel was an - exquisite - jewelry house that no longer exists today.
They have been referred to as the edgier, darker Chrome Hearts - combining religion and the gothic/biker aesthetic in a way that leaves the Chrome Hearts brand a seemingly shallow copycat. I LOVE the Chrome Hearts brand. I've been a Chrome Hearts collector since the earliest of days - when the fledgling brand was still very much underground. But I have to say, where Chrome Hearts does silver - Archangel did SILVER.
Point being - the description you see here will be rendered unnecessary for those who already know what they are looking at. For those, however, who are unfamiliar with the brand - take a little journey with me into a relic of the past : a relic of a time where quality was paramount. Where the end goal was a work of art, cost, shortcuts, profit, and expenditure of time aside.
Born Christian, I had a falling away from religion that last many decades. You know that saying, everyone turns to God when they need something? Recently diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer, facing odds that let's just say weren't so great - I underwent a life and death operation - 16 hours. As ridiculous as this might seem to say, I was almost - disappointed - to wake up.
As my doc had told me that should I pull through, I would immediately have to cease smoking and drinking. Simply put, my throat was so ravaged - a shot or a cigarette would be enough to push me over the edge. 79 years old today, I started smoking at 6, drinking at 13. All of a sudden, I had to just - stop. I had young boys at the time, but the beast of addiction is its desire to be the "end all be all" in your life.One day, shortly after the operation - I was on one of my long walks (trying to resist the cravings) when I found God. I remember being stooped down in the thick Ohio midsummer wet heat - mosquitos clumped in my trache tube - clawing at my throat for breath, when I just - gave in.
In that moment, I knew I would try. For the next 2 years, it was my best friend (my wife of 30 years) who reminded me - this isn't about staying sober for yourself, it's about staying sober for your kids. The piece you see here? It was a reminder of sorts. Memento mori - the inevitability of death.
While it might seem grim, it was - exactly - what I needed. You see, dying at the time seemed easy. Yes, death is certain - but when you have 4 young boys running around, needing a father - you don't get to just punch out. I actually functionally prayed with this piece. It is - after all - structured in the - exact - same way a traditional rosary is.
To myself, this piece helped me keep my eye on the ball.. Work now, suffer now, and you will have your rest later. I never imagined I would part with this piece. It was one of those things that I'd told myself I would take to the grave. That said - at 79 years old, it just doesn't get the time in the light that it so deserves.
For years now, it has sat in the confines of a jewelry drawer in a plush felt bag. Only recently, I've begun to feel a certain sadness at its lack of use.Something so - finitely - rare (not only can you not find Archangel anymore, but when we bought the piece - it was one of 7). Too heavy these days around my increasingly frail neck, I knew (hard as it may be) it was time to send this piece off to its next phase of life. Of to someone who perhaps needs the piece in the way that I once did. Truth be told, my first take was to pass it off to one of my children. Something so personal - I couldn't imagine sending off to a stranger. And, adding to that - do they - need - the piece. Need - the reminder - as I once did?
After discussing with my wife and children, we jointly decided that this is a piece that (in a way) chooses its owner. Somewhere out there is destined to wear this highly unique work of HEAVY solid sterling art.I can only hope that whoever the next owner is - they realize in full all that this piece is. It is - so - much more than a fashion statement.. I've seen a few "skull rosaries" in my time - but NEVER of anything remotely near the MASSIVE scale seen here. This is a HEAVY chain, weighing in at 105 GRAMS! Additionally, this is not simply a grim depiction of the rosary - this is purposeful. (Latin for'remember that you [have to] die') is an artistic or symbolic trope acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death. The concept has its roots in the philosophers of classical antiquity and Christianity, and appeared in funerary art and architecture from the medieval period onwards. The most common motif is a skull, often accompanied by one or more bones. Often this alone is enough to evoke the trope, but other motifs such as a coffin, hourglass and wilting flowers signify the impermanence of human life.
Often these function within a work whose main subject is something else, such as a portrait, but the vanitas is an artistic genre where the theme of death is the main subject. The Danse Macabre and Death Personifed with a scythe as the Grim Reaper are even more direct evocations of the trope.
This is - BEYOND A DOUBT - the HEAVIEST sterling silver piece I've ever owned. And this is after 79 long years, with 40 plus spent as an avid collector. To feel that tug at the nap of your neck??? To put it simply, you will never forget that this piece is there - that weight around the neck not uncomfortable - not too much - but in a way quite calming.I always loved that weighty feeling - that aura of confidence and security I felt wash over me whenever I walked out the door with this piece hanging around my neck. The piece is (of course) solid sterling silver. Every SINGLE element on this "chain" if you want to call it that - is dense, through and through CHUNKY highly reflective, bright sterling silver. None of it - none of the links, the cross, the medallion - is hollow..
The chain is INCREDIBLY long, measuring in at an astounding overall 20 inches.. From nape of neck to the bottom of the cross. There is a 6 inch "drop" from the bottom of the chain down to the trailing cross and final beads - meaning the chain itself is 14 inches - with the drop, 20 inches. Because the chain is so unbelievably long, there is no closure! To put on, simply slide over your head.This is a memento mori homage - and as such, Archangel has incorporated that theme in a - stunning - never before seen manner.. The links on this chain (arranged - exactly - to mimic that of a rosary) are all skulls. Not - just - skulls, but rather THE most complex, highly detailed, intricate skulls of sterling silver I've owned (and SEEN for that matter).
The skull links on this piece are not some vague representation of the real thing. They are not "comical" or "cartoon-like" in any way - instead, they are STRIKINGLY anatomical.I mean, they truly read as individual statues of sterling silver, honed and perfectly constructed by a masterful silversmith. These skulls, again, are SOLID sterling. Chunky little eerily lifelike representations of death.
My question was, how in the WORLD was Archangel amble to get THIS level of detail and definition using the unforgiving medium of sterling silver? Well, I brought this piece in to a jeweler friend, and after looking at it for just a few seconds - he remarked ahhh. " For those not familiar, the "lost wax method" is an extremely time consuming process that involved created a SINGLE use mold, and pouring molten metal into that mold. Because each mold is "single serving, and because the process is so time consuming - the art form is nearly extinct in the world of today's jewelry industry.The skulls are HIGH polish, HIGHLY reflective in their beautiful cool tone icy sterling hue - yet, take notice of the eye sockets on each and every skull. The DEEP indentations of the eye sockets were done intentionally. To encourage the process of oxidization.
The silver darkens within the eye sockets to a tarnished black - giving the skulls a sense of depth, character, and a VERY confronting gaze. Each skull link measures about 7mm in length - top of head to bottom of jaw.
The medallion on this piece is an INCH in diameter, and about a 0.75 inches THICK. Just a MASSIVE hunk of solid sterling silver..
It is "brushed" in nature - giving the piece an all the more rugged, gothic, raw aesthetic. Two medallion occurs just above the "drop" of the rosary - and acts as the centerpiece (like you would find on a traditional rosary). It is DUAL SIDED, which allows you to choose your style each given day. On one side, a BEAUTIFULLY crafted raised solid silver skull - with oxidized eye sockets. Above the skull, on a beautifully textured, brushed silver border - the phrase "INRI, " - "King of the Jews, " you see?While many will think this piece to be "sacrilege" it is anything but. Memento mori is a deeply Christian concept, that indeed has its place in the faith. Along the bottom, "2002: Sterling, " in stunning, intricately formed gothic font. On the other side, a BOLD, strong, sharply defined - simplistic Christian cross. Again RAISED in 3-Dimensional nature from the pendant.
Again, the cross is along a brushed, textured silver background. There is SO much character throughout this piece. Even in the medallion itself, contrast is used to elevate the sterling to another level. Along the border, the phrase In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, " or "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.When out and about in public, I often wore the skull of memento mori facing out.. When in church - where the less informed might take my piece to be offensive or insulting - I would wear the cross facing out. Sometimes not so much - but to the outrage of certain unawares. The cross on this piece has to be the most ornate, beautifully formed, complex depiction I've seen on a jewelry item. It is LARGE and THICK, measuring in at 1.5 in length! To say the cross is THICK is grossly understating.. I mean this is one - HEFTY - ensemble of sterling silver.
Worth noting, if you are someone who prefers more delicate, lightweight ensembles - you may want to pass this one up. The cross on this piece is done in an ornate, "gothic" aesthetic - with aspects and elements of fleur-de-lis throughout. To myself, the cross (and the whole piece for that matter) looks reminiscent of something that would have been found in a blacksmiths shop in medieval times.. Perhaps adoring the neck of a noble knight. The cross is 3-dimensional (dual sided) and boasts a WIDE array of varying depth and textures of silver.HIGH polish and HIGHLY reflective, there are also receding elements of the cross which allow for a wonderful oxidization of the sterling to occur. In line with the rest of the piece. The cross (I must say) looks like Chrome Hearts - if Chrome Hearts had far more time, and far more ingenuity. NOTE: At the top of this chain, you will find the archangel logo insignia (pair of angels wings done in solid sterling in the form of a charm) as well as the brand name itself (in free floating, solid sterling plaque).
Overall, this is NOT a piece that you are going to find elsewhere. It strikes me as somewhat fitting that the maker of this chain (Archangel) went under - though enjoying a HIGHLY esteemed clientele for many years... It seems to say, nobody - is free from the ultimate hold of demise. This is - obviously - a highly sentimental piece. My hope is that wherever this piece goes off to, the new owner will give the piece the time in the light it so deserves, as well as the continued admiration and care the piece received from that of myself through all of the years.In a way, I'll have cheated death itself! I will get back to you promptly. Overall Chain Length (nape of neck to bottom of cross) 22 inches. Skull Links: 7 mm in length. Cross: 1.5 inches in length.
This item is in the category "Jewelry & Watches\Fine Jewelry\Necklaces & Pendants". The seller is "uniqueluxurygoods" and is located in this country: US. This item can be shipped to United States, Denmark, Switzerland, Chile, China, Republic of Croatia, Indonesia, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Australia, Austria, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Poland, Macau, Czech Republic, Norway, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Romania, Mexico, Ireland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Japan, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Thailand, Bahrain, United Kingdom, Hungary, Sweden, Colombia, Spain, Estonia, Belgium, Kuwait, Finland, Luxembourg, South Korea, France, Germany, Latvia, Italy, Singapore, South Africa.