Catherine Parr inspired necklace
So, I was watching a BBC four documentary on the education of Margaret More, and this portrait of Catherine Parr came up.
If you look really really closely at the portrait you can tell the artist has fudged the depiction a little because some of the lower string, zig-zaggy pearls appear to be anchored right into the middle of some of the larger round pearls on the top string, and even if you could do that, why would you want to?
Anyway, I had this pendant. It’s not my best work, if I’m honest(well, if I’m completely honest its a bit of crap, but its a shiny bit of crap and I don’t have time to make a new bit of crap) – it was thrown together very quickly, and to my eternal shame of all the hundreds of stones I’ve set over the years this is the one piece where a stone fell out. I put it down to the fact that I don’t ever really use facets so I haven’t had much practice. Anyway, the big blue topaz fell out one day, but luckily I found it – or rather a sharp-eyed nine year old found it for me.
Then I found it again, just last week – Yay!
Just to be on the safe side I cheated and epoxied it in before re-setting it. This seemed a sensible option since there is obviously something wrong with the bezel (I also made a better interior support for the stone, so I did re-set it properly as well as cheating).
It’s not identical to Ms Parr’s pendant, but it will do. I used to simply wear it pinned to my bodice, btw, and I think its based on a Holbien engraving, but I made it so long ago I can’t remember. It’s gold plated silver set with blue topaz, amethyst and yellow beryl.
I’ve had two goes at the necklace. I used thick silk for the first attempt, and it snapped the first time I tried it on. There was much swearing. Many bad words. So much for using an authentic stringing medium!
So I ordered some nylon thread and used that.
I used three different types of real pearl, as well as some little glass pearl beads. I used the glass beads at the intersections of the threads because the holes in real pearls are so tiny it’s hard to get two threads through at once.
I could have done this without any visual breaks in the top string by knotting the bottom string onto it between the pearls, but I couldn’t quite rig up a way to hold the top string under tension whilst I did so – it would be interesting to do another copy of this piece and compare the finished look.
It looks tiny, doesn’t it? It has to fit quite snugly around my neck to get the choker effect.
What was that? You want to see a picture of it being modelled? No problem!