salome is rather irritating the snot out of me…

For some insane reason I decided I needed a necklace to go with my new velvet dress, because obviously none of the half dozen or so c15th necklaces I already own would do. I decided to try the one shown worn by salome in memling’s painting


So far I have this…

silver sal

…which has been a bit of a trial, not least because jewelery isn’t my forte as a silversmith (I don’t like fiddly little things -fiddly big things, yes, fiddly little things, not so much). For a start those teardrop shaped swirly things are an absolute nightmare to make. Secondly it’s taken me three goes to solder all the links together because the first two goes I thought I had it and then it fell apart in the barrel polisher. Actually, that’s not as bad as it sounds, since I always think one of the main reasons to put a piece of jewelery in the barrel polisher in the first place is to see if it survives – if that solder join you weren’t 100% sure about survives an hour or so of being pounded by steel shot it’s going to be fine when you’re wearing it.

I made many more elements than ended up in the finished piece because it was hard to estimate the spacing correctly. I think mine has ended up a lot less crowded together than the one in the painting.

Still, most of the silver came out of my scrap drawer, so it can go back there with no great loss.

It’s hopefully off to be gold-plated this weekend, after which I can apply the enamelled flowers, which will be held on by jeweled tube rivets – sitting the various elements together at this stage it looks like it might sort of hopefully turn out ok

flower sal

I’m still trying to figure out a few things from the painting. I can’t decide whether, in addition to the dangling white pearls, there are also black pearls wired inside the diamond elements?

Also, it does look very much as though the necklace in the painting has some kind of ribbon sewn onto the back of it. I think it’s actually quite possible that the one in the painting isn’t soldered together at all, but simply composed of various elements sewn onto a collar – it would certainly get the spacing tighter and it was quite common for medieval silversmiths to make various bits that could be recombined and re-worked.

As it is right now, my version sits nicely on my neck, but I’m wondering whether the ribbon might be to prevent the back of the tube rivets from irritating the delicate skin of the neck. Part of me argues that the rivets, if finished smoothly at the back, shouldn’t rub, but another part of me points out that after an hour or so I tend to find most jewelery (especially heavy collars like this) annoying, so maybe a silk ribbon behind the metal would help? I should point out that I don’t have any allergic reaction to metals, it’s just that I’m not a habitual jewelery wearer(a tendency made worse by the fact that Gareth hates all jewelery and either whines loudly when I wear it, or kisses me and palms whatever I’m wearing before dumping it in a fruit bowl – the man would make a fine pickpocket), so when I wear it as costume I have limited patience with it.

anyway this weekend I’m going to re-enamel some of the flowers, as I’m not 100% happy with them, then next week I have to make the rivets (which I decided not to have plated cos the contrast between gold and silver will be nice for the flowers) then hopefully I can put it together.


~ by opusanglicanum on June 26, 2013.

17 Responses to “salome is rather irritating the snot out of me…”

  1. Wow! You are very talented. This looks like it will be very lovely when done. The picture isn’t very large, but the centres of the diamond pieces don’t look black to me, more garnet coloured. I wear a lot of jewellery – all the time. Rings, earrings, often a necklace as well, but there’s no man to argue with me!

    • I thought some looked red and some black. I dont have any large red garnet beads around, but I think I’ve got a few large black pearls somewhere…

      The only jewelery I wear everyday is my grandmothers wedding ring on my little finger (nana was tiny. I’m not)

  2. The black things do appear to be pearls or at least something spherical rather than flat flowers or something.

    You do amazing work, no matter what you do!

  3. I think the small stones are either garnet or ruby. Something with a deep red, tending toward black but not a purple hue. Of course it could be my computers color values, too. LOL The painters then really captured such fine detail that even seams can often be seen. There is a ranging argument among the academics and serious historians as to how accurate were the paintings.
    Another thought if you want to go with black, try jet. If I’ve got time and can find it and if you’re interested, I’ll send you the Medieval beliefs paper on wearing certain stones for what particular protection. Jet was important to them. Your work so wonderful. I’m looking forward to the finish!

    • I’m aware of the prophylactic qualities of various stones, lightbown discusses it at lenght. I’ve always fancied setting a fossilised sharks tooth in a silver cup cos they’re meant to guard against poison

      Garnet might be possible, if I can be arsed to drive to huddersfield and then take a deep breath before I pay (even at wholesale price round garnet beads of an appropriate price will be hurty to pay for) – they would be nice though, now you mention it. Round ruby beads would be too hard to find these days, as western jewelery as long since stopped accepting drilled stones of such quality as standard, Jet would be even harder to find, in fact almost impossible without cannibalising an antique set(Jet isn’t a standard jemstone these days, the closest option would be black onyx, whish isn’t as nice because the sheen is harder)

      salome is a mythical character, so I see her whole outfit as containing a certain amount of fantasy and artistic license, it’s not as if this is a portrait per se. It also seems to have been quite common to take thigns apart and re mount them – the victorian idea of a parure of jewels that could be reassembled into necklace/tiara/brooch/hair ornament would not have been unfamiliar to a medieval jeweler, i think, as stone were often mounted individually and then put on a frame. it could be that her ecklace adn headress are both made from various elements clagged together to ccreate an overblown sense of luxury

  4. I see red, red, black, black in the diamond centres. The reds to left and right of the dark (?green) flowers, the black pearls on each side of the pale ones. (So the gold flowers have one of each colour.) I can’t see a ribbon below them.

    • I’m inferring the ribbon from the fact that you can’t see salome’s skin behind the encklace, there’s a sort of darker browny gold there. it’s really hard to tell what the stones are

  5. Oh, no, come on – you make fantastic jewellery like this too? Is there no end to it?

  6. A ribbon backing would also add to the colour and the effect, helping the metal to stand out against the skin…

  7. I agree with the others – definitely some sort of round beads within the diamonds. I see at least one red one, and some black ones.

    The ribbon-behind-the-necklace idea sounds plausible at the very least. I think a rich chocolate-brown would be nice, perhaps in velvet (did they have velvet ribbons? 15th C really isn’t my area of knowledge). However, black would also work well.

    • am not actually sure about velvet ribbons, but I could make a narrow strip of brown velvet and edge it.

      some sort of round beads sounds about right, its just deciding what sort thats the problem!

  8. Reblogged this on rosiajewelery.

  9. I know I’m ridiculously late to the party, but I can’t help but wonder if they are champagne colored citrines or possibly topazes. Topaz in particular can have an effect where it reads as pale champagne from one angle and much darker from another, which could explain the variance in colors of the different locations. Why yes, that happens to be my birthstone, and I am very unfond of most of the colors it comes in. My sister got me a lovely pale champagne piece a few years ago for Christmas; it is one of the only ones I’ve ever liked. The tawny tones you usually see it in just don’t appeal to me.

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