The item itself is not the javelin but the javelin AND the vambrace that commands it. As long as a person wears the vambrace, he may handle Ranunculus as if it were composed of solid matter, and he will not suffer any of its ill effects.
There are three command words, all of which must be spoken while wearing the vambrace to have any effect: one to summon Ranunculus, one to banish it, and one to call it to return to your hand.
The javelin looks like a shaft of solid darkness, surrounded by a shadowy mist, and tapering off at one end. The vambrace is fashioned of boiled leather plates, dyed a deep black and studded with obsidian; it resizes itself to fit any hand, paw, or claw.
Returns to its owner upon command.
Ethereal; passes through matter.
Bestows a curse upon any living creatures it strikes.
Formed from shadowstuff.