Circlet finished( finally)
I mentioned the other week that I’d hit a snag with a riveted on setting going awry with this at the final hurdle. I thought I’d have to make a whole new one, but after a while I realised I could save it. The stone had popped out due to twisting, but the setting wasn’t actually torn, so I managed to re-shape it with pliers then rivet it into place properly by using a needle file handle as an anvil before setting the stone again.
Basically I’d been doing it arse about face and I’ve figured out the correct working order should I need to do it again.
It’s gilded silver with (deep breath) amethysts, agates, carnelians, coral, peridot, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, garnet, and mother of pearl.
It’s inspired by, rather than directly reproducing, the crown of theodolinda, which is c7th Byzantine, but the style is quite simple so is acceptable until about c13th. Certainly more acceptable than the manky strips of copper commonly worn, or the plain silver strips with oversized modern hallmarks.
The original had beaded wire round the edge rather than pearls, but pearls are quite period wired on this way. Wiring pearls is one of those jobs you look at think it must be easy, but it takes ages ( this took two hours to apply pearls, and I’m a lot faster than I used to be) and tensioning the wire is tricky because the stuff fine enough to go through a seed pearl gets kinks very easily ( which you have to avoid cos pearls won’t go over kinks) and is fine enough to snap if you over tension it.
I still have my original version of this, in un gilded silver. That version has five rows of stones like the original, but I decided to make this one three rows to reduce wieght ( and therefore headaches), and my pearl anchors are better this time.
Gareth helped me glue a strip of soft leather round the inside earlier today. This was really the only bit I was wary of doing alone because I was worried that unless I had help steadying it I’d get gluey fingerprints in inappropriate places. The leather is partly to stop veils slipping, partly to stop the back of the few rivets from snagging (117 of the bezels are soldered directly on, 3 are repairs riveted in place after gilding where I wasn’t happy with the solder. It’s really tricky soldering so many bezels into place at once without melting any, my original, made when I’d only been smithing a year, had one glued on at the end with epoxy because I didn’t know any better ten years ago – you learn, you study, you develop).
Next I have to make the princess/ little girls trying on crown, which is a different kettle of fish because it’s a later style hinged panel job, so much easier, apart from the enamelling, cos that’s bound to be a bit of a bitch.
I was going to wear it at rufford abbey today, but not only am I still a bit tired from yesterday’s food history symposium in york( it was very good, dairying this year, I recommend it if you’re local) but I’ve had stinking hay fever all week from a double whammy of rapeseed and tree pollen, so I decided to treat myself to a nice day indoor with all the windows shut…