Ferroniere

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A History of the Ferroniere is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

A History of the Ferroniere

Excerpt from the dissertation "A Detailed History of Jewelry and Lapidary: How Cultural and Philosophical Mores Influenced Our Adornments" by the High Lady Auvyra Vonnalaiel, Second Daughter of House Vonnalaiel of Illistim, Master Jeweler.

Chapter 10: Ferronieres

Origins

With the exception of the Aelotoi and the Half-Krolvin, all Elanith's races have developed, at times independently, a version of a forehead-centered gem suspended from a chain, generically termed a ferroniere. Due to their other-planar enslavement, it is obvious why the aelotoi did not develop this jewelry. Half-Krolvin present a trickier situation, but one theory is that enslavement and isolation kept them from being exposed to what some believe to be the root cause for this jewelry style: the forehead gem.

Rare and elusive, forehead gems possess unusual properties that allow them to adhere without benefit of chains to the wearer's forehead. True forehead gems number in the scant hundreds and surface only rarely in society. There are documented sightings of forehead gems1 thousands of years back, and some cultures attribute them supernatural powers and qualities. The mystique, therefore, yielded a desire. The desire yielded a product: ferronieres.

Generally speaking, any gem on a chain2 designed to be held at the center forehead is a ferroniere, and the term's origins are lost to antiquity. Despite onerous research, no one has ever discovered exactly when the word "ferroniere" appeared, nor where the term itself originated. From the forehead gem-inspired ferroniere, however, we have some racially and culturally specific versions which we can delineate.

Whether inspired by the mystical forehead gems or by fashion, the myriad examples of chained forehead jewelry are fascinating. Many people, regardless of culture or race, will choose a ferroniere fashioned to their own choosing rather than be limited to the specific variations described below. Thus, a human is equally, if not more likely, to wear a ferroniere rather than a seer-stone, for example.

Racial and Cultural Variations3

Seer-Stone

In the Kannalan Empire, wandering bands of gypsies and other fortunetellers adapted the mystique of the forehead gem by chaining an oval-cut gem they called a seer-stone, meant to represent their "third eye of inner vision." The seer-stones were alleged to enhance precognition, but no verifiable powers have been recorded. Ladies in the Empire adopted the seers' jewelry which influenced any number of others, and the seer-stone has gone in and out of vogue with the humans ever since. Any oval-cut gem suspended length-wise upon a chain as if to form a third eye would be considered a human empire-styled seer-stone.

Geldaralad

High Lady Kysandriana Vonnalaiel is credited with the creation of the first elven ferroniere. Illistim nobility, she came in contact 4 with a traveling troupe of gypsies and thus with the seer-stone. Upon returning to Ta'Illistim, the lady commissioned her jeweler to make one. Her jeweler, one Zishryth Aielel, hailed from the courts of Ta'Nalfein where he crafted extraordinary jewelry for nobility5. A master jeweler the likes of which are rarely seen, he presented her with a gift worthy of a queen, a rose-cut cerulean glimaerstone incised with a vaalin-filled star at its heart. The glimaerstone was suspended from a twisted vaalin chain inset with minute flecks of complementing violet feystone. He named it a geld-aradlaiel, literally meaning "seer-stone" but it was quickly shortened to geldaralad, "stone of truth." Kysandriana's geldaralad outshone all other jewelry at a solstice masque that year, and soon, all the ladies of the nations were clamoring for one. To be a true geldaralad, and not the generic ferroniere, the chain must be twisted vaalin, but beyond that minor limitation, variety abounds. Of course, fashion often takes precedence over tradition, so many elven women will prefer a ferroniere with their metal of preference.

Ferrigem

Burghal gnomes residing in the Elven Nations saw the geldaralad sweep like wildfire across the cities, and, being ever fond of gems, they tried to create their own version, termed the ferrigem. While obviously a conflation of "ferrioniere" and "gem," it is uncertain why the gnomes blended ferroniere instead of geldaralad. Original ferrigems were crafted from pilfered bits and pieces, so the metal links rarely matched, and the gems were always slivers and shards, creating a piecemeal chain and gem concoction. Most ferrigem chains had at least one or two gears or gadgets interwoven into the links for no apparent cause other than they were discarded bits of metal that could be used. Thus, per Burghal gnome tradition, inexplicable as it may be, a ferrigem must have mismatched metal links and at least one tiny metal gear or gadget somewhere in the chain or used as the gem setting. While the pieces of ferrigems rarely need to be stolen any more, it is tradition to at least make the ferrigem look as randomly piecemeal as its ancestor, and Burghal men take pride in presenting their loved one with a true ferrigem even to this day.

Aemikvai

Giantmen, most likely influenced by the seer-stone due to the ties of the Kannalan Empire, have the aemikvai, and males and females alike wear it. The chain can be of any metal, but preferred metals include mithril and the very rare rolaren. Chains are most often twisted into stylized knotwork patterns, but it is not a requirement of the aemikvai. Settings of the aemikvai are always of intricate knotwork, and the stone is carved with a Saramar rune. The rune is chosen as something meaningful to the wearer, although there is no specific rule as to how it is chosen; it is tradition, and all aemikvai have them. While particular gems, stones, and metals are not required under giantman tradition, some follow even more strict traditional and spiritual guidelines when creating their aemikvai, and they believe the stone and metal selected will enhance specific, personal energies. Thus, it is not unheard of for aemikvai not to be simply ornamental jewelry, but to some, an essential element of battle garb.

Khazurka

While dwarves do have a ferroniere they term a khazurka, it never became widely accepted or even acknowledged. Developed by a craftsman in the city of Mithrenek, where they are known for their abilities to work mithril, the khazurka always has a mithril chain and a carved gem. Since its invention, small groups of dwarven women have worn khazurka, but it has never been widespread. Still, it is distinctive from generic ferronieres in that it must be dwarven-crafted mithril chain and the gem must be cut in some way, often with great detail. One such example was found6 wherein the large, round-cut gem was also incised with precise detail, showing a mithril hammer crushing a banshee's head, a simplified homage to the statue at the gates of Mithrenek.

Basrenne

While other forest gnomes may wear a basrenne, it is most popular with its creators, the Basingstokes. Unusual in that tightly woven or linked reeds form the chain, the basrenne holds a gem or precious stone kept in its natural state, rather than over-polished, cut or otherwise contorted. Some families pass basrenne down through generations, wearing them only during private rites to Imaera, but it is not unheard of to see new basrenne at other times.

Trinette

Paradis Halflings created the trinette as an adornment for women to be worn during the celebration of the Trine, an annual Truefolk holiday. As the Trine refers to the three original branches of the Truefolk, the Paradis' creation has three key parts: a tri-stranded delicate metal chain, a trilliant-cut gem, and the elaborate metal setting.

Elothrai

Centered only with agate, elothrai were originally strictly for Erithi scholars, male and female, to indicate their "inner mind" and status. Elothrai were quickly adopted into mainstream Erithi culture, however, and each Dai has their own agate for use in an elothrai7. Information is scarce, but I am told that few pay attention to which Dai they belong when selecting an agate for their elothrai, personal preference taking precedence.

Footnotes

1 Gemology And The Magickal attributed to Iskanet Levellen, c. 200 ME
2 Chains of metal, leather, wood, and cloth (including ribbons) are all viable, documented materials for ferronieres. Solid circlets with inset gems typically would not be considered in the ferroniere family.
3 See the end of this chapter for a summarizing table
4 The Lady has any number of fascinating, albeit risque, diaries in the reserve collections at the Library
5 See her diaries for a detailed accounting of how she persuaded the Nalfein Court's prized jeweler to work for her
6 The article is displayed in the personal collections of High Lady Auvyra Vonnalaiel
7 See Table

As a quick reference, the table sketched below depicts the most basic of information about each jewelry style discussed in this chapter.

Name Race or Culture Basic Information
Aemikvai Giant The stone is always carved with a Saramar rune, and the setting is intricate knotwork.
Basrenne Forest Gnome Chain of woven or linked reeds which can be dyed. Gem is in its mostly natural state.
Elothrai Erithi Always uses an agate for the gem. Traditional Dai Agates:
Eloth Dai: Owleye agate
Surath Dai: Drought agate
Nalatha Dai: Nalatha agate
Yachan Dai: Summer agate
Tichan Dai: Storm agate
Valaka Dai: Beetle agate
Ferrigem Burghal Gnome Chain uses bits and pieces of different metals, gem is in slivers or a shard, and a tiny gear or gadget is worked in somewhere.
Geldaralad Elves Requires a twisted vaalin chain.
Khazurka Dwarf Mithril chain, cut gem, often very detailed.
Seer-stone Human Oval-cut stone turned lengthwise to resemble a third eye.
Trinette Halfling Tri-stranded chain, trilliant-cut gem, and an elaborate setting.