Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Gifts

I decided to do something different for the girls in my life this year and all summer I collected Otoliths (Ear Bones) from the yellow eye snapper which were caught on my boat. Sometimes I passed them on to my guests and sometimes they made it into my collection for the summer, with the plan to have some jewelry made for my sister, my niece and my grand niece.

So now that Christmas is over and the secret is out, I can show you how they turned out!

The Otolith or earbone is particularly large in most bottom fish or reef fish as opposed to swimming species such as the salmon or tuna. They have long been collected as good luck charms and were very popular as jewelry among Native Americans.

I had a local jeweler who makes custom jewelry order in the ear ring stock, then drill a small hole and mount them on the ear ring stock. They are quite striking and certainly unique.

All packaged up in a nice jewelry box they are very nice and made a very unique gift and something that very few people will have or for even know what they are.

All of the ear rings I made this year were from Otoliths from the yellow eye snapper. These are also called Red Snapper in Alaska, very similar to a grouper from Florida although bright orange in color. They are also a VERY tasty meal and a prized catch in Alaska! The largest caught on my boat this year weighed over 11 pounds and there were a couple a little bigger brought in by other boats.

In many cultures these are called "Lucky Stones'., on one side an angled groove forms an "L" or "J" and are said to represent "Love & Joy". They have been found at ancient Indian archaeological sites and were used in commerce and worn for decoration and worn as good luck charms to prevent sickness. Ancients considered them valuable in treating certain diseases.

According to history, Otoliths were known as far back as at least to the time of Aristotle. For centuries Lucky Stones have been used as protective Amulets to ward off evil, made into jewelry and traded into far away lands.

Scientists value the Otolith, because they contain growth rings and can very accurately determine the age of a fish and it's growing cycle.


Capt Jim

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