Shiny! Jewellery in GWENT– Part 3: Dryads and Elder Races
Our recent (well… the last one was written merely nine months ago) posts about jewellery in Gwent shed some light upon the jewellery of monsters and humans. In this episode we will have a look at Drayds and the Elder Races consisting of elves, dwarves and gnomes.
You can click the card names to see their premium versions.
All card art and premiums were taken from The Voice of Gwent.
Camouflage vs Jewellery
As Dryad warriors and Scoia’tael commandos alike rely on camouflage to ambush intruders or humans, wearing jewellery could ruin the moment of surprise: A telltale glistening in a ray of sunlight shining through the branches could warn their targets and reveal the position of the attackers. To avoid this potentially fatal mistake, you do not find jewellery on Brokilon Sentinels or the elf depicted on Waylay.
So just like with humans, depending on the profession jewellery can be a hindrance or even a threat to its wearer so you will not find it on every card. There are plenty of aspects in the Witcher world that are threatening the life of its inhabitants – so why add vanity as another cause?
The first thing which can be noticed by looking and dryad jewellery is the absence of metal, probably as they live in a close symbiosis with the forest which does not provide them with gold, silver or gems. Instead, their jewellery is made from natural materials: Flowers, branches, berries or leaves like the floral wreath of the child or the Dryad Matron’s hair ornament and armlet.
Eithné is a notable exception. Her jewellery appears less natural and looks crafted for its purpose instead of taken from the nature and arranged into adornments. It is hard to tell from the artwork of which material her jewellery is made of. Assuming the theory above is correct, it is probably not metal. Carved wood comes to mind, but the filigree lines and thin parts of her chest piece might break too easily to be made of wood. Bone would be much sturdier and could be carved as well. Maybe the queen of dryads really is even more exceptional and her jewellery is made from metal after all.
Writing of queens: Let us have a look at Francesca Findabair, also known as Enid an Gleanna (which is Elder Speech and means ‘Daisy of the Valleys’). And she really lives up to her name, what a beautiful woman. I am totally not envious! *sigh* Back to topic. Her jewellery combines nature and craftsmanship, as her headgear mimics the shoots of new branches. Francesca’s necklace follows this principle, resembling leaves and interwoven tendrils.
We can’t talk about the looks of elves without mentioning… okay Poppy, you can do this…
Filavandrel aén Fidháil of the Silver Towers and House of Feleaorn of the White Ships.
Phew! What a title. And yes, I practiced. Francesca’s closest advisor is known to pay great attention to his looks.
His robes are complemented by filigree jewellery: Bracelet, belt and brooch have the same style of thin golden ribbons which almost seem to move like waves. The highlight of his ring is a gemstone of considerable size. It looks almost like a piece of starlight has taken physical form. Filavandrel aén Fid— Do I really have to write his full title all the time?
Don’t be deceived by his looks, Poppy. Filavandrel aén Fidháil of the Silver Towers and House of Feleaorn of the White Ships is said to be highly skilled warrior as well and usually insists to be addressed by full name. I would not risk it, if I were a d’hoine like you.
G-good to know.
We better move on: As most of the elves shown in the game are warriors, overall only a few other cards show jewellery. One of them is Sage. His necklace and amulet do not seem inspired by nature. By comparing the form of the amulet with the magic circle depicted in the book in front of him, it might be used in rituals and helps to harness and direct the power. Even if it would have no such practical uses, it could still be a symbol of his craft and him being a sage.
Their skilled craftsmanship is highly regarded when it comes to jewellery (and weaponry), but in fact their connection to it starts way earlier: As dedicated miners they sit right at the source of precious metals and gemstones. From extracting the silver ore, to the finished ring with a cut jewel: they are involved in all steps of manufacturing.
We are starting with the higher-ups – quite literally as elder-in-chief Brouver Hoog resides in Mount Carbon, the capital of the Mahakam mountain range. His crown bears fine engravings, even though it is hard to make out whether they are symbols or actual pictures. Judging by the colour electrum (a natural alloy of silver and gold) would come to mind, but there also might be a chance that an alloy of gold and platinum has been used. Platinum is much rarer than gold, so this especially exotic material might underline the importance of this crown and thus it’s wearer. The rings follow the style of the crown and appear to be made from the same engraved material.
A warning before you read the following paragraph: Do NOT lust after the following ladyfolk!
With that out of our way, let’s talk about Line of Credit: Compared to the male dwarves the beard of female dwarves is significantly less distinct. So instead of beard jewellery she wears similar rings in her hair with additional accessories at the end of her braids. Writing of rings: Her finger rings may look rather plan, as they lack engravings or gemstones. As she still wears them during work, such jewellery might be a little too daring. All of it is made from gold and even one of her teeth is gold-plated.
Compared to the filigree jewellery inspired by nature the elves wear, dwarven design philosophy seems to follow the principle of clear and simple base jewellery adorned with geometric engravings.
While the dwarves are already very skilled craftsmen, gnomish work is considered the best craft you can possibly get on the Continent. The famed Gwyhrs, gnomish swords of utmost quality are close to legendary artefacts with unsurpassed traits and a rare sight on the continent. One is in Ciri’s possession which she named Zireael (Elder Speech for “swallow”). But enough of weaponry and back to jewellery. While the Gwhyrs are a proof of their craftsmanship, it is hard to tell whether gnomes used those skills to create jewellery as well. The few gnomes depicted in Gwent do not wear any with the exception of Ludovicus Brunenbaum’s golden necklace with blue gemstones. This necklace, however, could be just a sign of his authority as auctioneer and thus part of his work. As far as it concerns the card game, there is no jewellery known to be of gnomish origin. Rumour has it that they are cunning merchants and attracted to wealth, but apparently they do not feel the urge to show it off.
I know I would, but I am not a gnome.
Even though we already posted three parts, there might be even more to write about jewellery in Gwent. We are not quite sure whether we have enough content for a 4th part, but as CDPR is constantly adding new cards to the game, we do not want to dismiss that option entirely.