THE GIRAFFE: Necklace
Jewelry, designed by Maria Beatriz Alessi, Brazil
The African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. Fully grown males range from 4.8 to 5.5 meters in height.
The giraffe is a distant relative of deer (its Scandinavian equivalent) and cattle, but belongs to a separate family, the giraffi dae. Giraffes are at home in savanna, grassland, and open woodland. They prefer areas where acacia is abundant. They consume vast quantities of water, which enables them to spend long stretches of time in dry, arid areas. When foraging, they often venture into more densely forested areas in search of food. In art and culture, giraffes can frequently be seen in paintings, including the famous painting of a giraffe which was taken from Africa to China in 1414 by Admiral Zheng he and donated to a Ming dynasty zoo.
The Medici giraffe was a giraffe presented to Lorenzo de Medici in 1486. It caused a great stir on its arrival in Florence, being reputedly the first living giraffe to be seen in Italy since the days of Ancient Rome. Another famous giraffe, Zarafa, was brought from Africa to Paris in the early 1800s and kept in a menagerie for 18 years.