I did twelve because I figured after all the bother I had with the flowers for my necklace last year I might be lucky and have eight work, so there’s a couple of dodgy ones in there. Next they will be cleaned and mounted to the crown.
Hobbes wanted to make someone a present, but the only things Hobbes can make are hair balls and stinkpods, so he asked me to make this instead
I made it between setting stones yesterday, from scrap silver and copper foil. I’m now tempted to buy myself a gramme of gold so I can make some posher version for christmas.
i was planning an afternoon of sewing, but this happened
and then I heard that Helen next door just got a new kitty (poor Layla died of fip a few months ago, she was only one) so now I’m going to make a nip mouse to welcome the new nieghbour
Theyre re still a bit fingerprinty, but that took a day less than I expected. I need to play with the order of panels to get the colour mix right, but I’m pleased with mix of colours and shapes.
One of the mistakes people consciously make with medieval jewels is matching the stones too well. I never really try to exactly match the stones in a reproduction because it can be hard unless you cut your own and I’m no lapidary, instead I try to go with the spirit of the thing. Here I’ve used pearls, amethysts, coral, citrine, garnet, opal, fluorite, mother of pearl, and agate.
The citrines, agates and fluorite are actually beads which I bezel set. If you look closely at medieval jewels you will often find that some of the stones are side drilled beads, even things like rubies and sapphires. There is a theory that this is because the gems came from India and the Indian tradition values drilled stones far more than does the western, but I think the fact that a strung stone is far harder to loose might also have appealed to travelling merchants. I look out for good gem beads with a flattish profile when I go to the wholesalers because not only do I think they look great in context, but they’re often a bargain compared to cabachons- those citrines are beautiful quality but I got a whole string of them for the price of one large cab.
I used a lot of amethysts. Mainly because I have a lot of amethysts
Thats not even all of them, that’s just the ones that were handy. I bought a lifetimes supply for ten quid. Bargain of the (previous) century. At least it was if you like amethysts, which I do.
Annoyingly, about five minutes before I set off for the assay I snapped off one of the crown hinges. The pieces went straight from assay to the platers, and you can’t solder plated metal ( it’s burns off the gilding). So I riveted on a silver hinge.
I feel quite pleased with myself. Riveting is one of those things I’ve never been great at, but by forcing myself to do period repairs I really feel like I’m improving. In a perverse sort of way I’m almost hoping this does get damaged in use so I can repair it properly.
In other news, branston has a new box, but I’m not sure if this face means he likes it or not?
I started the stone setting marathon with the two annular brooches because setting opals is always a bit scary so I thought I’d get it over with, plus these are a difficult shape to hold still whilst you work.
The oddly shaped blue opal was the scary one because its a doublet and they’re easier to chip, the round ones with lots of fire in them weren’t so bad because they’re triplets so the opal has a layer of crystal over it for protection.
Opal is a very soft gem, hence the anxiety. Although the modern mind associates opal with Australia it has been mined in eastern europe since ancient times. There are a few medeival pieces that have badly degraded opals still in them, but I think it’s a fair bet that some of the the empty sockets in surviving pieces might once have held opals. Since they’re silica based they can dry out and decay, so if a piece was buried an opal might not survive as well as many other gems. This one is for John, and opal is one of his favourites
The smaller brooch for me ended up with garnets and amethysts. I’m choosing to think of this combination as “classy” rather than “predictable”. I really struggled to find stones to fit, and I really have no idea what I originally made those bezels for. I would have preferred citrine, but all my citrines were either too big of too small.
My poor phone camera really struggled with the shiny on these, so I’ll try and get Gareth to take a better picture when he does the crown photos. But, John’s does look nice with the silk brocade he’ll be wearing it with
Although I am going to have to make a hole for the pin, that brocade is as tough as boots, I’ve been struggling to sew it
Yup, I think that’s shiny enough now
Got a couple of days of stone setting ahead, then hopefully I’ll spend the weekend enamelling flowers. I’m pretty annoyed because I ordered an ultrasonic cleaner which I wanted to use on the flowers before the enamel, then today, when it’s meant to be delivered, the ebay seller returns my money and cancels the order. I’ve ordered one for the same price from another seller, but I’ve had to pay £12 extra to get it for when I need it. Someone is getting negative feedback.