• Title : Pendant
  • Year : 1953
  • Artist : Unknown Organisation
  • Classification : Cultural Object
  • Medium : silver
  • Dimension : 62mm (width), 362mm (length), 15mm (depth)
  • Accession No : Registration Number : GH025391
  • Country/ Geo-location : Nepal
  • Collection : Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Credit Line : Purchased with support from Perpetual Guardian and an anonymous donor, 2019
  • Overview : This pendant is significant because it frames a small rock collected by Sir Edmund Hillary from the first successful summit of Mt Everest / Chomolungma, the world's highest mountain, achieved on 29 May 1953 alongside Nepali Tenzing Norgay. Before they descended from the summit, Hillary collected stones to take home. Eight stones were given to friends, family and expedition members. This one was given to his brother Rexford (Rex) Hillary. Either Edmund or Rex had it mounted by a Nepalese jeweller. Significant events and associated souvenirs and specimens are often commemorated by jewellery in this way. Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) became one of the most famous New Zealanders on the world stage. His achievements on Everest and in Antarctica were greatly respected. His subsequent humanitarian work, particularly in Nepal, cemented his place as our most iconic and loved New Zealander. He is featured on New Zealand's $5 note. Jewellery is very important symbolically to the Nepalese, and an essential tool to protect wearers from external evils and to connect to positive energies. Large and circular decorated pendants symbolise the sun. Silver symbolises Chandra, the moon goddess. The red colour of coral is a symbol of life and of life force, while the blue colour of turquoise represents water, sky and air. The cross may have religious significance, or may simply have been the best setting to hold the stone. The rock was once soft mud on the sea bed which had been compacted and lithified (i.e. turned into stone) and thrust to the top of the Himalayas by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian continental plates. This is a process which began 50 million years ago and continues today.