Icelandic Spar

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Location: Kolaportid Flea Market, Reykjavik, Iceland; Material: Icelandic Spar, Metal, and Silver (Chain)

I love this necklace very much.  I purchased it during my travels throughout South Iceland in May 2016.  While seeing much of the countryside and its beautiful vistas, my friend and I also spent some time in Iceland’s major city of Reykjavik.  On our last day in Iceland, we decided to venture to Kolaportid Flea Market in Reykjavik (which is only open on the weekends).  The market itself was a little anticlimactic, other than a few impressive locally made jewelry and clothing stands.  One of which was the last one we happened upon, right next to the cafe section of the market.  Icelandic jewelry maker Silfur Steinar Stefan (who does not have a website) was at this stand, surrounded by dangling necklaces, beautiful rings, and various stones.  Looking around, I immediately was taken by two necklaces, one of which was the one pictured.

I spoke with him about his work – which he is very proud of – and much of it is very typically Icelandic.  The necklace above, for example, is made with the beautiful Icelandic Spar (also known as Icelandic Crystal), which is a transparent type of calcite known for its ability to demonstrate the polarization of light.  There is much speculation that the sunstone used in Medieval Icelandic texts is this very spar.  In these stories, the Vikings used the light-polarizing property of the stone to help identify the direction of the sun on cloudy days for navigational purposes.  In 1878, spar was used by William Nicol to create the first light-polarizing prism.  So, not only is the necklace beautiful, but it has deep roots in Icelandic history and folklore, two very key elements to the culture that makes up Iceland today.

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