Medusa, Symbol of Protection & Feminist Icon
There are varying origin stories for Medusa, but the ancient poet, Ovid, tells us that she was once a beautiful mortal woman and a priestess of Athena. In the sacred temple of Athena, Medusa was raped, and the enraged goddess transformed Medusa into a Gorgon - a monster with snakes for hair.
Medusa would never be touched by a man again, for she could turn them to stone with only her gaze. But men are terrified by women who wield power, so it was not long before Perseus sought out Medusa to chop off her head, which was then used as a weapon.
Feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson said that “Medusa has since haunted Western imagination, materializing whenever male authority feels threatened by female agency.” And so she does. Women who speak out against injustice are very often mockingly compared to Medusa. On the surface, it is disrespectful and belittling. Her femininity is used to undermine her and diminish the value of her words. But there is a deeper meaning in the comparison, and that is Medusa's decapitation, which says that women speaking must be silenced - by whatever means necessary.
But women have always heard Medusa’s voice. She has served as a symbol of protection (known as a Gorgoneion) in Greek culture for millennia and, more recently, as a universal symbol of power and feminine rage.
This piece features a delicate line drawing of Medusa with seven emeralds strewn through her hair, engraved in 18k gold vermeil. Solid 14k gold or sterling silver.
- 7 ethically-sourced 1mm emeralds
- 1 inch diameter
- 18 inch solid rolo chain
18k Gold Vermeil
Solid 925 sterling silver plated with a 3 micron thick layer of 18 karat gold. Five times thicker than industry standard gold plating and composed entirely of precious metals.
Each Common Era piece is handcrafted by master artisans in a Responsible Jewelry Council-certified atelier. The brand uses silver that is at least 90% recycled, and 100% recycled solid gold. All gems are conflict-free and natural - and they do not use human-made gemstones. Common Era donates 3% of their annual profits to the AWI (The Animal Welfare Institute) which focuses on reducing animal suffering caused by humans. AWI programs include rescuing pets from violence and abuse, ending the hunting of endangered species, and ending cosmetic animal testing.
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