Glory from Old California–The Matilijas are in Bloom

May 27th, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

matilija23I always look forward to mid spring—my favorite flower, the Matilija Poppy unfolds its annual show. An indigenous Southern California wildflower, Romneya coulteri, the Matilija is just spectacular. Borne on head-high stems of beautiful silvery-green leaves, these six inch blooms of purest white parchment-like petals with a puff center of intense golden yellow are intensely fragrant when found in the wild, a heady natural perfume that seems to me somewhere between Opium and Obsession.

Inspired by its beautiful form, we created our Matilija Collection of jewels to celebrate the exuberance of nature and our Old California heritage.  We love the effect of two tones, rich 18K yellow gold, yellow diamonds or sapphires combined with platinum or white gold.

Matilija Flower with Diamonds, Pendant

Matilija Flower with Diamonds, Pendant

The name Matilija originates with the Chumash Indian Chief Matilija and his tribe, who lived in the hills and valleys of Ventura county during the early 1800’s. Numerous legends from Old California tell of the story of his daughter Amatil and her lost love. In most versions,  Amatil falls in love with a young brave, is kidnapped by Spaniards to work at Mission Buenaventura, longs to return to her tribal home, Ojai (the Nest), and finally flees the mission only to find her lover mortally wounded after a fierce battle with the Spaniards. The lovely Matilija flower is said to symbolize the tears of Amatil and her heart of gold.

The legends seem to have some base in history—like many California tribes, the Chumash resisted the influence of the Spaniards and their Mission culture, and Chief Matilija is known to have fought a major battle with the Spanish near Mission Buenaventura in 1824. To this day, many creeks, canyons, natural and man-made landmarks, streets and businesses near Ojai and Ventura are named after Chief Matilija.

You can find the Matilija Collection on our website

Tags: ,

Other Posts

Comments are closed.

Member - American Gem Society Member - American Gem Trade Association Polygon - The Jewelers Information Highway Harmony Recycled Precious Metals Firemark Diamonds