'Foxring is a kind of badge, a jeweller's jewel, a signet ring, a collectors' treasure and it has a story. It is worn on the hand of action (her right) and jokingly (?) it is talked about as a kind of "wedding ring to myself" and as "jeweller's billboard". Yet its somewhat endearing kitchiness has a strange attraction. Curiously, its not the flash of its diamonds or its golden opulence that first grabs your attention it is that mysterious fox.

The symbolisms are enigmatic and they spring from private meditations about jewels. In 16th century Europe it was the custom to use rings as personal signifiers. Doctors wore their rings on their thumb, merchants the index finger, fools (clowns?) the middle finger, students the third finger, lovers the little finger and along with the symbols in the ring itself one could tell ones story without saying a single word. In its own way Foxring is such a ring.

The fox image resonates with an aspect of a persona that collects "dogs" albeit that is quite ambiguous; sometimes it appears to be a wolf, other times a dog and yet it is always a fox. But why dogs? The dog is heroic and noble, the messenger of the gods, the faithful companion, the ever watchful guardian, a hunter but there is another layer to the story here. The fox is sly and not quite a dog, and he is a treacherous hypocrite. Also, he symbolises longevity, brings good luck if he is black, calamity if he is white and disaster if there are three of him. Yet his magical powers over good and evil are revered and like the dog he is the rice god's messenger. Thus dogs and their stories are enchanting and collectable.

This "foxgem" comes from another time and place. It is a button that was found amongst bric-a-brac, it is a memento of British fox-hunting culture and it is quite exquisite. Most probably it once belonged to a 'master of hounds' and traditionally the buttons on his waistcoat would depict his hounds (his accomplices) except for the bottom button which was reserved for the fox; his quarry and adversary. This jewel has a history of its own and simultaneously it tells a story about another hunt; the hunt of the collector.

Foxring is an object of private devotion. Once it draws your attention towards its wearer its decorativeness pales almost into insignificance, and as its story is revealed it locates her. This ring is a metaphor for the jewel maker's practice; and for all jewels with rich stories attached to them. Money alone could not buy it but you are left wondering who will treasure this jewel next?'

Ray Norman

1997 Launceston

In the Indian epic the Mahabarata, the hero Arjuna, lost and wearied from the endless warring, wanders dazed across the battlefield accompanied by a large black dog. The dog leads him to the foot of a ladder where the booming voice of God calls him up to meet his vanquished foes and lost companions alike, the hero hesitates when the voice says 'not the dog, he must stay!'....Arjuna refuses to leave his trusty companion and being a demi god himself proceeds to argue with the Supreme Being!

Barbara Heath


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1997-2001 Barbara Heath