Fossil Ivory, Sterling Silver and Opal
"We walk up the beach under the stars. And when we are tired of walking, we lie flat on the sand under a bowl of stars. We feel stretched, expanded to take in their compass. They pour into us until we are filled with stars, up to the brim."
Whether you love things nautical or astronomical, you'll want our working model Astrolabe
, or keep it in a nautically inspired room!
was invented by the Greeks to make measurements of the angular height of celestial bodies above the horizon. The instrument is basically a circle with degrees marked on a portion of its outer rim. A pointer (the alidade) is free to rotate about the center of the circle. To use the Astrolabe
, the navigator would hold the instrument above his head and sight along the alidade until he lined up the North Star (Polaris), for example, with both ends of the pointer. He would then read the angle Polaris made with the horizon - And lo and behold, this angle is equal to the observer's latitude! By the 15th century, ship's navigators had developed the Astrolabe
into a precise instrument from which (among other things) they would determine their latitude at sea.
Made with a pierced body of fossil ivory (pierced to cut down on windage at sea), its alidade actually rotates and is turned up at its ends for easy sighting. The center of the alidade is marked with a lovely small opal. The right-hand upper quadrant of the body is hand etched in from 0 to 90 degrees. It has a full Sterling Silver bezel, and a graceful bail. 1 1/4 inches round. Shown with Light Fossil Walrus Ivory body, Medium Tan alidade axis and Light Mammoth alidade. An altogether captivating piece!
Sterling Silver and fossil ivory