Zaiken Jewelry for Gemfields Necklace Nods to the Maze in “The Shining”
More than 30 years after its theatrical release, Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining is as terrifying, haunting, bewildering, and eerily fascinating as it was back in 1980. Unlike today’s horror movies, which rely on tired tropes (abandoned orphanages or spooky hospitals that accentuate human isolation, mirrors that serve as gateways to evil, technology as enemy, and so forth), not to mention an overabundance of gore paired with laughably predictable and simplistic storylines, The Shining was rife with symbolism that sought to do more than terrify, instead kickstarting a dialogue about the significance of the archetypes, events, and icons referenced via the dialogue, the cinematography, and the sound. The significance of the mazes in the film, for instance, continues to be a subject of speculation among scholars and cinema buffs alike. If you remember the film, a giant hedge maze has been erected outside the Overlook Hotel, and it plays a pivotal role in the overall storyline. In one of the movie’s final scenes, a deranged, axe-wielding Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) chases his son Danny, whose screams could be heard from within the hedge maze outside the hotel, and it’s in this snow-covered, dimly lit labyrinth that Jack ultimately meets his demise as he freezes to death attempting to track his son’s deliberately misleading footprints (his wife and son, meanwhile, manage to slip out of the maze and drive away in a Snowcat). But this isn’t the only maze seen in the movie — the hotel’s corridors are, themselves, meant to confuse and bewilder, so that they themselves are architectural mazes; and, of course, there’s a telling scene in which Jack walks into the hotel lobby and stumbles upon a huge table with a replica of the hedge maze outside. Perhaps as a play on the notion of mirrors as a gateway to the paranormal, to the supernatural, when he stares intently at this rendering of the maze (arguably a mirror image of the actual physical structure), Jack even sees two small figures running therein: his wife Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall) and son Danny who, at the time, had actually ventured inside the green labyrinth as an adventure of sorts. It’s clear that mazes have a metaphorical value in the film. Some critics have argued that Jack Torrence became so engrossed in the hotel and its violent history that he essential became “lost” in this metaphorical maze and, as a result, was condemned to repeat the horrors he’d seen. Some have argued that the hotel’s history is itself a criticism of America’s bloody past — for film critic Bill Blakemore, the main offense referenced by the film is the genocide of Native Americans (read more about his theory here) — and that, by becoming entrenched in the hotel “maze,” Jack was essentially steeped in this violent past and triggered to continue these horrible acts. Other pundits perceive these mazes as metaphors for the descent into madness while some argue that the final scene is a retelling of the Greek myth about Theseus and the Minotaur. And others still, among them Tim Fulmer and Rod Munday, have pondered whether these mazes were meant to underline the varying results of humans coming face-to-face with both the evil and good aspects of their own natures — in order to escape these mazes, then, they must accept and understand every aspect of their psyche, including their own unconscious, without descending into madness or being consumed by darkness (thereby having their more primal and, yes, evil instincts dominate them).
Whatever your stance on The Shining‘s prevalent themes, the social and psychological issues addressed, and the significance of the many symbols crucial to the narrative, it’s clear that the hedge maze is as memorable a cinematic visual as the words “Redrum” scribbled in red lipstick on a bedroom door.
Interestingly enough, Zaiken Jewelry designer Malak Atut found herself inspired by the hedge maze in The Shining when designing her latest piece: a necklace made as part of a collaboration with Gemfields, the world’s leading supplier of ethically mined colored stones. The pinnacle of the piece, then, is an octagonal pendant depicting a maze-like puzzle. In this case, the entire surface of the pendant is encrusted with Zambian emeralds (5 carats in total). To create the maze motif, intricate strips of 18K rose gold were strategically placed in a concentric manner, many of the lines closed but for a tiny gap similar to what would be found ion a real-life labyrinth. The outermost line, then, follows the octagonal shape of the pendant but includes a break along the upper left hand corner. A smaller line can be found at its center, this time featuring a tiny break only along its center right side. This pattern continues until the very center of the maze.
To add a sense of whimsy to the design, Atut incorporated a floating diamond that can be carefully maneuvered into the heart of the maze, a wink-wink to the round plastic maze puzzles kids so often receive as party favors.
The outer perimeter of the pendant, which dangles from two chains (one rose gold and one a blackened silver) is lined with rose gold and sterling silver and is encrusted with diamonds (0.85 carats total).
For more details and price information, visit ZaikenJewelry.com