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…
…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
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.