In the Arizona desert, I encountered a sword seemingly out of legend: a handle carved in the figure of a mermaid and a scabbard adorned with creatures of the deep. As I was exploring the marketplace at the Arizona Renaissance Festival a few weekends ago, taking shelter from the wind and rain in one of the many merchants’ stalls, it called to me as if it were a siren.
Note to Jerry Bruckheimer: If the mermaid cutlass from Busch Fine Art Studios isn’t in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, it probably should be. Just looking at the blade whips up the imagination: A shipwrecked sailor, the sole survivor of a disaster at sea, is rescued by a mermaid princess and led to a deserted island, where he claims the lost enchanted sword of her people and uses it to vanquish the beast that has terrorized the undersea kingdom for ages.
You get the idea. But enough about my fantasies. … Here are some details about the piece I obtained from the studio owner and artist, Zachariah Busch:
The mermaid cutlass itself took over a year to complete. The blade is 400-layer hand-forged Damascus steel. The handle is made of moose antler and yellow slider turtle shell, inset with emeralds and peridot. The scabbard is almondwood from the Florida Keys, ebony, and moose antler, inset with peridot and paua shell and a 10,000-year-old megalodon tooth. The retail price is $5695. It was designed by William Lloyd and the carving was done by William Lloyd, Zachariah Busch (myself), and Bethany Tussing. The three of us have been working together for years, creating original, one-of-a-kind bone, antler, and ivory artwork. The mermaid cutlass is currently for sale at Busch Fine Art Studios, along with Zachariah’s, William’s, and Bethany’s other unique creations.
More of the artists’ blades (including a truly terrifying filet or two) and jewelry pieces can be seen at the Arizona Renaissance Festival in Apache Junction, which runs weekends through April 3, or at BuschFineArtStudios.com.