I made this piece especially for me. The medals are sterling silver, depicting St. Joan on horseback and the Lorraine Cross with thistles. The beads are 6mm hematite with 4mm gunmetal accent beads on stainless steel eye pins with a platinum-plated lobster clasp.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WEAR:
St. Joan's hometown of Domrémy is located in the Lorraine region, hence the Lorraine Cross and the thistle, the official flower of the region. "The Cross of Lorraine (French: Croix de Lorraine) is originally a heraldic cross. The two-barred cross consists of a vertical line crossed by two smaller horizontal bars. In the ancient version, both bars were of the same length. In 20th century use it is "graded" with the upper bar being the shorter. The Lorraine name has come to signify several cross variations, including the patriarchal cross with its bars near the top. . . . The Lorraine cross was carried to the Crusades by the original Knights Templar, granted to them for their use by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. . . . The Cross of Lorraine is part of the heraldic arms of Lorraine in eastern France. . . . During World War II, Capitaine de corvette Thierry d'Argenlieu suggested the Cross of Lorraine as the symbol of the Free French Forces led by Charles de Gaulle as an answer to the Nazi swastika. The Cross was displayed on the flags of Free French warships, and the fuselages of Free French aircraft. The medal of the Order of Liberation bears the Cross of Lorraine. . . . French Jesuit missionaries and settlers to the New World carried the Cross of Lorraine c. 1750-1810. The symbol was said to have helped the missionaries to convert the native peoples they encountered, because the two armed cross resembled existing local imagery." (Wikipedia)
"Hematite is a mineral, colored black to steel or silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, or red. It is mined as the main ore of iron. . . . While the forms of hematite vary, they all have a rust-red streak. Hematite is harder than pure iron, but much more brittle. . . . Huge deposits of hematite are found in banded iron formations. Gray hematite is typically found in places where there has been standing water or mineral hot springs, such as those in Yellowstone National Park in the United States. The mineral can precipitate out of water and collect in layers at the bottom of a lake, spring, or other standing water. Hematite can also occur without water, however, usually as the result of volcanic activity. . . . The name hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood αἷμα haima because hematite can be red, as in rouge, a powdered form of hematite. The color of hematite lends it well in use as a pigment. The English name of the stone is derived from Middle French: Hématite Pierre, which was imported from Latin: Lapis Hæmatites, which originated from Ancient Greek: αἱματίτης λίθος (haimatitēs lithos, “blood-red stone”). . . . Hematite's popularity in jewelry was at its highest in Europe during the Victorian era, and has since seen a strong resurgence in North America, especially in the western United States." (Wikipedia)