Cornerstone Ring - 360º video

Cornerstone Ring

February 2023
14 karat gold, sapphire, diamonds

I was approached by a person of both Jewish and Chamorro heritage (the latter being the indigenous people of Guam and the Marianas) to make a ring that represented her combined cultures.

The focal point of the ring is a depiction of a latte stone with a tasa (capstone) made of white gold and a haligi (pillar) made from a pear-shaped sapphire. Latte stones were sub-structure support columns for traditional Chamorro wooden buildings between 750 c.e. and 1650 c.e. The wooden buildings have long since disintegrated, but the latte stones remain and have become a symbol of strength, identity and pride for the Chamorro people, even appearing on the flag of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Flanking the latte stone motif are the Hebrew words ראש פנה (rosh pinah), or "cornerstone." This not only directly references the latte stone as the cornerstone of traditional Chamorro structures and cultural identity, but also her Judaism as the cornerstone of her life.

The bottom of the ring features a white gold representation of a sinahi, a traditional crescent-moon Chamorro pendant that was typically made of shell, bone or wood. The necklace cords that extend from the ends of the sinahi evolve into branches of bougainvillea and pomegranate as they extend around the sides of the ring. Bougainvillea (or "puti tai nobiu" in Chamorri) is a symbol of beauty and is the official flower of Guam, while in Judaism the pomegranate symbolizes everything from righteousness to love and fertility to the 613 Commandments found in the Torah.

The sinahi and botanical elements are surrounded by five diamonds, representing the stars that Chamorro wayfinders would use for navigation of their island archipeligo on their proa, or voyaging canoes.

Finally, the interior of the ring is decorated in a woven pattern to represent the wearer's relationship to her grandmother, who was a weaver and used åkgak leaves (Pandanus tectorius, or screwpine) to make mats, bags and other vessels.