“The Omphalus of Earth”           

Gem Sculpture
# H-0172      

Carved Koroit Matrix Opal, carved 
carved Lapis Lazuli
and cast Sterling Silver,

Koroit Matrix Opal
105 grams, or 525 carats.

Lapis Lazuli 
470 grams, or 2,350 carats

Sterling Silver 
77.8 grams, 
carved in wax and then cast

Dimensions: 4 ¼” x 4 ½” x 3⅛”

This Gem Sculpture portrays
 “The Omphalus of Earth”, 
The Navel or Bellybutton of the Earth. 

The natural Opal is carved so that the bright 
spider-web patterns are featured in the front of the stone. 
Helen’s characteristic engraved lines are
 traversing the opal front and back, 
converging in the front center, 
and creating the Omphalus.  

The Opal is removable from the Silver cradle 
so that it can be enjoyed up-close like a kaleidoscope
 with its bouncing flashes of fire in the Opal seems. 
It can be held in the palm as a “worry-stone”, 
to pet, fondle, meditate or dream.

According to Greek mythology, 
Zeus wanted to find out 
where the center of the universe was, 
so he let two eagles loose from two 
opposite points in space, 
one from the east and one from the west. 
The eagles eventually met over Delphi, 
thus determining that Delphi was 
the center of the world, the navel of the earth.

The famous Delphic Omphalus is 
a marble sculpture exhibited today at the entrance 
of the Archeological Museum at Delphi, Greece. 
This Hellenistic sculpture is an ancient copy 
of the sacred one that was kept in the 
Sanctuary [adyton] of the Temple of Apollo.

Delphi was the ancient renowned site where oracles were given. 
was a small town, populated since about 1400BC, 
set up on the mountains with a breathtaking view
 of the valley with the sea in the background.
 It was destroyed at the end of the Mycenean period,
 but was revived around the 8th century BC.

Apollo began to be worshipped there and soon Delphi
 became known as an oracle center with worldwide fame and power. 
Several kings and noblemen send magnificent gifts 
as votive offerings for oracles given. 
Delphi’s glory, power and fame exceeded that 
of any other oracle center, and the treasures 
that were accumulated were beyond any precedent. 
The oracles (prophesies) were delivered by Apollo 
using Pythia, a woman, as the medium. 
[“Ancient Greek Ivory Carvings by Helen Serras-Herman, 1999, 2001]


The male figure of the Sterling Silver cradle
 of the The Omphalus of Earth
 that holds the Opal, represents the 
God figure of either Zeus or Apollo, 
both closely associated with the legend.


Koroit Matrix Opal is Precious Opal veins 
in ironstone matrix, with spider-web patterns, 
similar to Yowah Opal which is known 
for its circular patterns. 
Koroit is 200 miles away from Yowah, 
in Queensland, Australia.

Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, the finest quality 
of Lapis in the world, comes from the ancient 
historic mines of Badakhshan. 
These mines, which have been in operation 
for over 6,500 years, 
are at the site of ancient Bactria, 
the far Eastern end
of the ancient Greek civilization,
 located at the crossroads of the 
Persian and Indian civilizations.

The word Lapis Lazuli comes from a 
medieval Latin term “lazulus stone”, 
which probably originated from the 
Arabic word lazward, used for the sky and anything blue. 
[“Gemstones of Afghanistan”, Gary W. Bowersox, 1995]


Sterling Silver cast by Annapolis Precious Metals (APM), Annapolis, MD

The Omphalus of Earth
the "Best of Show" award 
at.Fall Fine Art exhibit titled 
"Pathways and Portals"
at the "Tubac Center of the Arts",
 in Tubac, AZ, 

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of the artist and author Helen Serras-Herman.
Page last modified 01/13/12.


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