Peter Stone knows how important the celestial bodies are: the sun, moon, and stars loom large in our imaginations, our hearts, and in our jewelry. If you feel the influence of the stars and moon, too, you won’t want to miss our beautiful sterling silver sun, moon, and stars jewelry… or the continuation of our quest to understand the stars…
Orion & Co.
From the beginning of time, observers noted the groupings of stars in the sky and sought to classify them. The ancient Babylonians were perhaps the first to name these groupings, although the first written descriptions of them didn’t occur until after the Greeks appropriated the Babylonian concepts and published Phaenomena, by the Greek poet Aratus, in about 270 B.C.
Through a convoluted history of passed-along knowledge and translation, those same constellations are still recognized today, albeit by different names. There are a total of 88 official constellations, according to the International Astronomical Union, and the most well-known of them, including the twelve that make up the “Zodiac” of modern astrology, are all part of the original constellations identified some 3,000 years ago.
The IAU may have officially named the constellations, but that doesn’t mean that everyone agrees. The Big Dipper, for instance, is one of the most recognized constellations in the sky. In truth, it is not a constellation in and of itself, but is part of Ursa Major, or “The Great Bear,” one of the historical Greek patterns we still recognize today. In other cultures, however, the confluence of stars that we know so well has been interpreted in countless different ways.
In Britain, it is called The Plough. In Southern France, The Saucepan. Some Native Americans claim it is a stretcher on which to carry the sick, while other Native American tribes see the bowl as a Bear, and the stars in the handle as hunters stalking the bear. To the Egyptians in ancient times, it was the thigh of a Bull. The Chinese saw a Chariot, and Hindu legend calls it the Wise Men. The ancient Mayans gazed upward and saw a mythological parrot they named Seven Macaw. Because constellations are merely a structure of our human imagination, stretched wide on a framework of stars, the possibilities are endless.
The constellations have served multiple purposes for humanity throughout history. They served (and still do!) as guides to desert travelers and sailors. They signaled the cycle of sowing and harvesting. They inspire legends, stories and poetry, becoming religious and spiritual icons, prodding culture and civilization into growth and expansion. They prompt us to ask of ourselves, “Who are we, why are we, where are we within this endless cosmos?” They taunt us to forge ahead technologically, so that we can someday explore their realm.
Credited with these amazing feats, it may seem odd to think of them serving in such a mundane capacity as… an eye test?
It’s true, though. The center star in the “handle” of the Big Dipper is actually twin stars (One bright and one faint), so closely bound that they appear as a single star… unless you have perfect eyesight. The Persians of the 13th century routinely used this star as a test of eyesight, and a century later, the faint star was referenced in an Arabic text as “Al Sadak,” meaning the test, or the riddle.
Shakespeare, Astrology, NASA, Star Wars … The lure of the stars has infused every part of our lives and culture, and with excellent reason. No GPS system has ever been so beautiful. No calendar, more inspiring. No canvas has ever been more accepting of our paint. And no possibility has ever been quite so inviting.
And with the Peter Stone sterling silver Sun, Moon, and Stars jewelry, no Star has ever been quite so… yours