Black diamonds and Cranach chokers

So this lovely lady is making a dress inspired by the one seen in the German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” from ca 1530 (See photo below). I was so pleased when she asked me to make a choker for her to go with the dress. I have seen this particular kind of necklace being called a “Saxon collar”, but I’m not sure if that is a correct name and though “choker” is a much more modern name,  it is the easiest to use, so that is what I will stick to until I have researched “Saxon Collar” a little more.

As I went through my drawers with stones and findings I realized I had to order some new things to be able to complete the necklace, but I could at least decide what components to use. As you see in my photos I will use a brass base on which I will then mount a couple of different kinds of brass stampings and settings for stones. I won’t be able to make an exact copy of course, but I think I will be able to create something that will give a similar impression.  After the different bits and pieces are mounted I will gold leaf the whole thing, I usually use gold bronze, but I’ve gotten it into my head that gold leaf will work better, so it’s time to try it out. I always cover all my pieces with protective coats of varnish, so  I think it will stay shiny for a long time.

16th century diamond ring from the Netherlands

As for the stones I will use square table cut crystal octagons from Swarovski. The table cut is the simplest and earliest cut of diamonds and it means one cuts off one or often two points of the natural octrahedon shaped diamond crystal. This produces a flat surface which reflects black when not in movement, but the diamond will sparkle when moved in sun- or candle light. This is why diamonds are almost always depicted as black stones in portraits from the 16th and 17th century. The Swarovski crystal stone I’ve chosen is very aptly called “Black Diamond” and though I think they sparkle a little bit darker than a true table cut diamond, I believe they will give the right impression for this piece of jewelry. Oh, and diamonds were extremely very rare back then, so other colorless stones as quarts, white sapphire or even glass were often used as a substitute.

I will use small freshwater pearls for the highlight pearls on the choker band and  larger for the ones that dangle from the bottom edge. I actually think this  piece will turn out pretty splendid.  I’m really looking forward to making it, and can’t wait for the components I ordered to arrive!

I will post more pictures of the progress as the project moves along.

To the left Cranach’s “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” to the right the jewelry components I will use for the choker. Click for a closer look.

One comment on “Black diamonds and Cranach chokers

  1. Pingback: Judith’s Collar | evajohannastudios

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Johanna Lundqvist Lawrence
// Frankenstr. 9,
90762 Fürth,
// evajohannalundqvist

All text and images posted in this blog are copyright Johanna Lundqvist Lawrence, if nothing else is stated. Non commercial attributed use is fine. If in doubt, please ask.

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