Unmolested, peacock and pheasant feathers will last a long time without needing attention other than the odd groom with fingers or a really fine comb. Unfortunately the position of this pendant means it gets rubbed by garments and hair which shortens the lifespan of each incarnation. So this time I decided to go with something a little more durable; the iridescent wing cases of Sternocera aequisignata, a wood-boring beetle hailing from south east Asia.
I spotted them online and picked some up without knowing they are the subject of a number of ancient artisanal traditions involving everything from shrine decoration to prestige textiles to fine art and tea cosies, the craft making its way to the West with the Raj and becoming popular there during the Victorian era. I'd only ever seen them dangling from Naga blankets.
< The wing cases are gathered at the end of the animal's adult life, which spans about three weeks. They weigh almost nothing, are about as thick and roughly as stiff and strong as a child's fingernail, and can be easily pierced with a regular sewing needle. Their convex shape presents the only real design challenge, in that getting them to sit just right on a flat surface takes time and patience, but I managed to stitch them onto the fabric with ordinary black thread. You can cut them with scissors if you're quick and careful; chewing them with the blades will result in splits and loss of surface lustre.
The lowest course of feathers on this pedant are from the rump of a ring-necked pheasant, and I used peacock for my Eye of Providence. (The Eye is just to fuck with people- I tried to forge a single universal currency and expedite an apocalypse but nothing happened.) You can either glue or stitch these on according to your skill level but I prefer to sew since it makes for easy remediation.
The chain is just green bugles, amber glass and some carnelian beads left over from the last one, and I'll probably change it in the near future since it's a little bit budget and not really right for this piece.
Do try this at home. It's a lot of bang for the probably $15 or so worth of materials involved.