Floral elements ca 1850, new chain
Old mine cushion cut diamond, old European cut diamond, 750/1000 gold 18 ct
Dogwood 21,7 x 20,6 mm, Length chain 45 cm
Dogwood is the common name for a genus of trees and shrubs since 1614. This species has been beneficial in the past as a dye and as a substitute for quinine and tea made from the bark was applied to treat pain or fever for generations. The name dogwood comes from Dagwood,
as the dense hardwood from the stems was used for daggers, arrows and tool handles. Whippletree
, an element of the traction of a horse-drawn cart, was also made from the wood and it explains why this earlier name for the tree was used in The Canterbury Tales
The showy part of the dogwood appears to be the four distinct petals of a blossom, but actually, these are bracts, modified leaves. The tightly packed cluster in the centre form the real blooms. A Christian legend explains that the ‘flower’ owes its shape to the use of dogwood for the crucifixion of Jesus. To end the misuse of this tree for the construction of crosses, Jesus shortened it and twisted its branches. He transformed its inflorescence into a representation of the cross with four petal-like bracts, each bearing a mark as of a nail.
The specific shape shows very clearly in the logo from the Atlanta Dogwood Festival (3rd image), an arts and crafts festival held each spring in Atlanta, Georgia, when the native flowering dogwood trees are in bloom.