At Talsam, We Think Constellations Are Special.
In fact, we believe they are the most under-appreciated, natural phenomena our world has to offer. They are ever-present, and never faltering. Universally available and at the same time so intimate and comforting.
Looking up to the sky knowing someone else, somewhere else, shares the same view is one of the most magical ways to feel more connected to others. For millions of years, we have looked to the stars that grace our skies for guidance, wisdom, and solace. It is this universal, spiritual sense of connectivity, afforded to us by the stars, that moved us at Talsam to create something that would truly honor their beauty...
For our inaugural collection, we drew inspiration from one of the most revered constellations in the night sky, Lyra. The Swarovski crystals, conspicuous upon each Talsam charm’s surface, form the pattern of this beloved, celestial body. Lyra, along with the many myths and legends that surround it, became an important part of our design journey. It is Vega, however, Lyra’s most prominent star, that became the North Star for our mission of love.
Vega and the Lyra constellation are celebrated in many ways around the world. We subsequently wanted to highlight the astrology, mythology, and history that underpins this stellar body among different cultures.
The Brightest Of Stars
Of all the stars in the Lyra constellation, Vega burns strongest and brightest.
It is ranked by astrological societies as the 5th-brightest star in the night sky, and the 2nd-brightest in the northern, celestial hemisphere. As one of the first stars to be photographed and have its spectrum recorded, it has been studied in-depth by astronomers the world over. In a similar way, Vega has been alluded to in myths, legends and love stories spanning from Greece to China, making Vega a star with many origins and meanings.
Waki Of Arabia - The Swooping Eagle
Like many stars, Vega’s name can be traced back to Arabia. Astronomy played a key role in traditional Islamic culture from the 9th to 16th centuries A.D. Great observatories were erected across what are now Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Uzbekistan. Worshippers looked to the stars to determine dates and times for prayers, festivals and pilgrimages. They even used them to uncover the path to the holy city of Mecca. As a result, hundreds of stars and constellations owe their namesake to Muslim astronomers.
Vega’s name first appeared in the Al Achsasi Al Mouakket star catalog as Al Nasr al Waki which translates to ‘falling’, or ‘swooping eagle’. Vega has evoked similar incarnations as bird-like creatures elsewhere, including as a vulture in ancient Egypt, and as an eagle or vulture in ancient India.
Orpheus And The Lyre Of Greece
The Lyra constellation is deeply connected to the legend of Orpheus in Greek mythology. Lyra’s pattern is believed to be cast from the shape of Orpheus’s famous magical lyre, with Vega representing its handle. Orpheus was a gifted musician whose music charmed both the living and inanimate. He is known for subduing the singing of the Sirens, as they attempted to lure Jason and the Argonauts to destruction in their search for the golden fleece.
Orpheus fell in love with a nymph, Eurydice. It is said their love was so great that when Eurydice perished from the bite of a snake, Orpheus traveled to the Underworld to bring her back to the living. Hades allowed Orpheus to bring his beloved back to the upper world but not without condition. Orpheus was to walk in front of Eurydice, and not look back until they reached the surface. Orpheus faltered at the very end of their journey and gazed back upon Eurydice only to see her slip away into darkness. Orpheus spent the rest of his life forlorn for his lost love.
Weaving Girl Of China
In China, Vega is known as Zhi Nu yi, or the First Star of Weaving Girl. Chinese mythology tells of a love story, Qixi, between Zhinu, (the weaver girl represented by Vega) and Niulang (a cowherd symbolized by the star Altair). Separated at opposite sides of the Milky Way, they are allowed to meet once a year on the 7th night of the 7th lunar month. They are often imagined in Asian folklore uniting over a bridge of flocking magpies.
This tale of long-awaited love has been retold in many ways throughout Chinese literature, and has been celebrated as part of the Qixi festival since the Han dynasty. It is also featured in Japanese folklore as part of the Tanabata festival, and the Chilseok festival in Korea.
Vega - Our North Star
In 12,000 B.C. Vega was directly aligned with the north celestial pole for a period of time. As the Earth’s axis shifts, Vega is set to become the pole star of the North yet again in roughly 12,000-13,000 years.
This is, perhaps, our favorite way to think about Vega within the greater context of astrology. A North Star is a guidepost. A point of stillness in the ever-changing night sky that allows us to navigate back home. In almost every civilization, people have relied on North Stars to bring them back to their loved ones.
And so, for us here at Talsam, the Vega on our charms is a kind of North Star. A guidepost for those whose love spans oceans, plains, and mountains. A way for the people we are connecting to feel closer to the one they love.