Feather of Ma'at Pendant in Sterling Silver with Ammolite
This is handmade stylized feather in sterling silver with a 8x10 mm ammolite on the front, and on the back the glyph for the goddess Ma'at, the feather of truth, who was weighed on the scales with the soul of the dead to see if they were worthy to pass into the afterlife. The pendant measures 3.5cm long plus the bail and 1.5 cm wide.
Ammolite is an opal-like organic gemstone found primarily along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is made of the fossilized shells of ammonites, which in turn are composed primarily of aragonite, the same mineral contained in nacre, with a microstructure inherited from the shell. The only area known to yield gem-quality Ammolite in commercial amounts is located along the St. Mary River in southwestern Alberta, but small amounts of gem Ammolite have been found in other areas. This particular piece was from the Alberta Badlands and cut by a local gem cutter here in Montreal.
Maat or Ma'at refers to both the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice, and the personification of these concepts as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. Her ideological opposite was Isfet, meaning injustice, chaos, violence or to do evil. Maat represents the ethical and moral principle that every Egyptian citizen was expected to follow throughout their daily lives. They were expected to act with honor and truth in manners that involve family, the community, the nation, the environment, and the gods.
In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single "Feather of Ma'at", symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. This is why hearts were left in Egyptian mummies while their other organs were removed, as the heart (called "ib") was seen as part of the Egyptian soul. If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather of Maat, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat.