To psychedelic biker babes and tough as nails kink witches, Mercury Hour has long been a treasure trove of beautiful amulets. From barbed wire and ball gags to thorned roses and weed leaves, Scarlett Dancer, the designer behind the brand, brings an undeniable dose of badassery to everything she touches, creating jewelry that she describes as “beautiful and deadly.” The mysterious natural world is the clearest source of inspiration behind her creations, featuring pieces cast from real mushrooms, lavender, butterflies, and the original Mercury Hour signature, scorpions. She juxtaposes these organic shapes against hard details like chains, cuffs, knives, rope, and whips. Her pasts collections have drawn inspiration from the desert, Southwestern classics, kink, summer, and self-love, and while every piece born of Scarlett’s mind is undeniably magical, her new fall collection, titled “Roma Legacy,” is positively brimming with mysticism.
Dear Darkling had the privilege of speaking with Scarlett to gain a bit of insight into this overwhelmingly gorgeous collection, comprised of countless pieces from oversized planchette rings and sparkling crystal balls dangling on long silver chains to symbols of the minor arcana. Her signature scorpion is ever present, mingling amongst occult imagery, the tarot, snakes, moons, and moths. As implied by the name, the collection is inspired by Scarlett’s Romany heritage, and the deep connection to magic that her family has held through generations.
Dear Darkling: How did your Romany heritage and your families’ history as witches inspire and affect this collection?
Scarlett: My Romany heritage comes from my great-grandmother from my mother’s side of the family. These roots can be traced from Croatia to Afghanistan and back to Bangladesh, which is where some of the Cobra Romany still remain. She immigrated to America from Croatia bringing her craft of tarot card reading and medium work along with her. Working out of an old Victorian house she bought, she would do seances in the basement as college students rented the rooms upstairs. While my mom raised me at times to be pretty vanilla, I was still fortunate enough to hear some wild tales about my great-grandmother. She was a truly remarkable, fierce, and strong woman. The stories I heard about her when I was younger affected this collection greatly.
What drew you to use the occult and magical imagery that we see throughout the collection, such as planchettes, crystal balls, and tarot?
My mother would always tell me about the giant crystal ball my great-grandmother had in her seance parlor and the image always enchanted me. She was also very talented with reading cards. At 13 I began reading as well (I bought my first deck with my allowance in Salem, MA) and have always found a true beauty to the tarot– its humble beginnings as a game that became something so much more. As an artist, my own drawings have tiny hidden imagery that represents more to the idea of what the image is as a whole. You could even say that this concept for me came from studying tarot and has always ingrained itself into my work.
You constantly draw from the natural world around you, and in this collection moths are a key component. What is their meaning to you?
My grandmother was also someone of mystic faith and taught me to cradle the light within myself, see it as a ball, and roll it through the body. This helps with getting in tune with your deeper self and also opening you up to connecting to the in-between of the veil. When I would envision this practice I’d imagine little moths clinging to a light, and then floating onward. This inspired the various moth imagery in the collection. The Moth Manifestation Necklace from this collection encompasses a small rotating opalite orb, which as a stone is used to open your third eye and embodies this concept greatly.
“I began looking inward for strength. I decided to go into the desert, catch scorpions, and use the skills I had gained as a teen to create a totem of that time, to mark my survivor instincts.”
Scorpions have featured in your work for as long as you’ve been making jewelry. What is the significance?
It’s no mystery to those who’ve followed Mercury Hour for a long time that these pieces hold a deep significance; they are truly endlessly reoccurring. I started making jewelry at 13 years old, when I apprenticed during high school learning lost wax casting, soldering, and enameling. It wasn’t until I was older and felt a true personal tragedy that I returned to jewelry. I found myself living in Arizona in 2014, going through the hell that is the superior court system for domestic violence. In my struggles to regain myself after having been a victim of such a nightmare, I began looking inward for strength. I decided to go into the desert, catch scorpions, and use the skills I had gained as a teen to create a totem of that time, to mark my survivor instincts when doctors had told me I should have been dead.
The scorpion is a constant symbol of rebirth, of life from death. So it’s truly fitting as a power animal to represent my return from the brink of death, myself, and the brand.
“The clouds are looking dubious this evening, dancing with the moon.”
What is your favorite piece in the collection?
Oh my god that’s so difficult! There are so many outrageous pieces in this collection; it’s hard to choose. The Serpents Whisper is the first ear cuff I’ve ever created; I’ve envisioned it for so long and after a lot of anticipation and terror I finally made it and am super proud of it. Sometimes as an artist you have these ideas that scratch at the surface and you’re nervous to bring them to fruition because you don’t want to try and fail. But if you exercise patience and forgiveness while creating a new work it’s amazing the miracles that can happen, and I’d say for sure the Serpents Whisper Cuff, as well as the Moth Manifestation Necklace are perfect examples of that. My other favorite is the Dubious Moons Choker. My grandmother would discuss the moon phases with me as a child. She’d always say “the clouds are looking dubious this evening, dancing with the moon, Scarlett,” and it’s just something that always stuck with me. I actually have the moon phases and “Dubious” in script tattooed on my stomach for this reason. So this piece comes from a very personal place. But I feel everyone will relate to it and love it!
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
More insane stuff? Haha. The collection launched on the 6th, but we’ll be releasing a few more part two pieces shortly after. I’m really excited about the Major Arcana of tarot as pendants and rings, especially for the holidays. The listing info will feature an algorithm that you can calculate to figure out your numeric archetype card. As a gift for someone you’re unsure what to buy for, this is freakin’ amazing because all you need to know is their birthday. I just can’t wait to see what comes up in the Q and what cards people choose.
I’m also super excited to be collaborating with Babe Coven on a few pieces just in time for the Witches’ Night Out Market this November! We’ll be releasing some limited edition goodies that I think every kink witch will die over!
Shop the full collection, available for a limited time at a discounted pre-sale price, on the Mercury Hour website. Be sure to follow their Instagram as well to keep up with all the badass magic sure to come.
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