I was fortunate to get an early review copy of Tímea Méhész’s Secrets of the Jewelry Box Tarot. Méhész is a silversmith and jewelry designer who, from early childhood, has leaned an interest into mysticism and the esoteric arts.
This deck intrigued me because I haven’t seen anything like it. The concept is ambitious. Méhész is a metalsmith and jewelry designer. She creates upcycled jewelry. Secrets of the Jewelry Box is a photographic collection of her beautifully crafted pieces, each one inspired by a tarot card. What if you opened up your jewelry box and each trinket in there connected to a Key of the tarot?
Upcycled jewelry, as Méhész puts it, “holds memories, tells stories and retains the essence of human destinies.” Upcycling the piece is a rebirth. And so it is one soul now with multiple incarnations crafted by the hands of artists.
Jewelry can be crafted in such a way that it transcends ornamentation of the body, but also “has a special effect on the soul,” writes Méhész. “The symbols of the Tarot card are replaced by the pictorial concepts of my jewelry, and they lead you into a world of secrets to guide all of us through the important decisions in our lives.”
I once read somewhere– and I have no idea if this is true or has any rational basis at all– that the elderly and specifically nursing home patients are more emotionally stable when they are wearing jewelry– something psychological about triggers of positive emotion. I dunno and I’m not pretending to know, but I love the idea and hey, if it works, even by placebo, I’m all for it.
In general, wearing particular choice pieces of jewelry can bolster your self-confidence or improve your state of mind. Wow. Talk about talismanic magic.
Now merge that with the design of a tarot deck and you’ve got a compelling premise.
If you’re fluent in Hungarian, check out Timea’s book The Secrets of the Jewelry Box, telling the life stories of various pieces of heirloom jewelry. She talks about how she transforms both memory and jewelry, like transforming her grandmother’s comb into a necklace, or customizing a Russian filigree bracelet so it becomes a sentimental gift from father to daughter.
In her jewelry crafting, Timea is conscious of the alchemical composition between the elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth as represented in various ornamental features. This led to her fascination with the tarot and esotericism. Her very first tarot deck was like a silver jewelry box, and she came to collect tarot decks as one does jewelry. And thus the idea for Secrets of the Jewelry Box Tarot was born.
The way an illustrator puts hand to canvas to interpret classical tarot symbolism and create a deck of 78 cards, Timea realized her own tarot deck by interpreting classical tarot symbolism through her metalsmithing.
Versed in Kabbalah, she looked specifically for the Kabbalistic common denominator, rooted in elementals and numerology, between the essence of her jewelry and the essence of each tarot Key.
Timea sent me an English translation of a text that gives the card meanings. The text gives the Kabbalistic message, Jungian archetype, general archetypes, numerological, and Tree of Life connection for each arcanum.
Yet in terms of approaching a review of such a deck, jewelry piece to tarot card correspondence is far too subjective for me to comment meaningfully on. Rather, what strikes awe in me is the way the premise of this deck pushes the envelope of what is possible with pictorially interpreting the tarot.
It’s clear from the guidebooks provided that Timea has a masterful knowledge of several esoteric systems, and the thoroughness devoted to the correspondences and symbolism in Secrets of the Jewelry Box Tarot is undeniable from just one flip-through of its accompanying texts.
The level of love and care that went into crafting every aspect of the deck won me over. The deck comes in a pewter gray velveteen bag wrapped in ribbon, with a wood-burned charm disk.
I like to do one-card “take the psychic temperature of my aura” readings with a deck like this. I pulled the Knight of Pentacles. On a somewhat funny note, this deck totally enables you to buy more jewelry. After pulling that card, I thought, oh wow, you know, I do need a brown jasper cabochon gemstone ring set in silver…. =)
The English version guidebook has a Meyers-Brigg table for the court cards. The Knight of Pentacles in the Secrets of the Jewelry Box Tarot deck correspnods with the ESFP personality type, so I read that as the persona I’m radiating out at this time.
Timea delves into focused studies of each card in this deck and her inspirations on her blog, linked here, so be sure to check it out.
Also be sure to check out her online store at E&T Design, where you can buy some of her beautiful jewelry pieces, and also pre-order the Secrets of the Jewelry Box Tarot.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received deck and book set from the artist for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.