This necklace celebrates the ribosome, the marvelous molecular machine at the heart of all terrestrial life! The ribosome is responsible for taking a cell's genetic instruction set and turning it into proteins, the primary functional components of the cell.
Every aspect of this pendant's design has significance. It is cast in two parts from lead-free nickel-free pewter, representing the large and small subunits of the ribosome. The small subunit can be lifted to reveal transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules within, as they link amino acids to the growing polypeptide (represented by a length of chain extending from the bottom of the ribosome). The 18-inch steel ball chain from which the pendant hangs represents a strand of messenger RNA (mRNA), entering and exiting the ribosome through channels in its small subunit.
The role of the ribosome and its precursors in the early history of life is a great mystery, and the subject of much speculation. Whatever this role was, it was certainly one of deep significance!