The boat is short and narrow. The cave’s walls create a mournful echo of the singing oarsmen. Ahead is complete darkness, the water is black and opaque. But turning back to the light of the cave’s entrance, the water steals the brightness of the sun and is electrified. It’s hard to believe this is the same place, that one grotto can look so different depending on your perspective.
The Blue Grotto on the Island off the Italian Almalfi Coast is a well known and inspiring location. It is the only aspect of Capri that Mark Twain describes of his travels The Innocents Abroad. He describes it better than I ever could:
“The waters of this paced subterranean lake are the brightest, loveliest blue that can be imagined. They are as transparent as plate glass, and their coloring would shame the richest sky that ever bent over Italy.”¹
My Nonna also visited the Grotto in her younger days on one of her travels back to Italy. Given their influence in my life, it’s unsurprising for me that my jewelry would draw from an experience that we shared of a place untouched by time.
The Blue Grotto is a pure and simple beauty, and that’s how this set feels to me. It’s not overdone or overstated. The blue beads are like the water, a capturing focal point. The gold chain reminds me of flashy Italian fashion. And the gemstone pendant that ties these elements together reminds me of the island’s rocks and cliff faces.
Though the Grotto seems large and impressive from within, if not for the collective gathering of boats and oarsmen who accidentally drop your change into the ocean, it might be missed entirely. The Grotto’s entrance is only four feet wide with a chain the oarsmen use to propel the small rowboats into the cave with the push of a wave. If you’re not laying down on the raft as the boat goes through the entrance, you’ll lose your head.
Capri’s rocky coast is beautiful, and this pendant reminds me of this. The blue is the reward for bravely venturing into the Grotto. It’s a touch of blue, because the Grotto is small and the visit is quick.
It’s my hope that this set embodies the beauty of the grotto and its lesson perspective. From where you stand it may be bright or dark – it’s up to you to turn around.
- Twain, Mark. The Innocents Abroad. Modern Library paperback, 2003 p. 232