Gerhild Duenker
Bavaria, Germany

My items for the Turning Heads Challenge are completely done. This time I created three: a hair jewel, an aigrette and a pair of earrings. During the first week of February I was making the earrings. The second week saw me creating the hair jewel, and the last two weeks I was very busy with the aigrette.

Item 1: the earrings

When I was looking for a model or pattern for the Turning Heads Challenge I found this lovely portrait of a lady by Peter de Kempeneer. In former times the lady was thought to be Renata of France (Renée de France), the sister of king Francois. I know this painting well and I always wanted to replicate the jewellery, but I never had the time. Now this was the opportunity!

At first I picked out two gold plated ornaments from my big fund of parts for creating ancient jewellery.

The next step was to cut off two parts of the centre section of every ornament. Then I took the two little cross shaped brass ornaments of this picture and put them up on the gold plated ones. I clamped it together in my special kind of technique which I call "wire sewing".

Putting on two "rondels" of rhinestone on every piece they already began to look a bit like the ones of the painting.

Now it was time to pick out some fresh water pearls for the pendants. Opposite of the painting I decided to add a rosette of four little Swarovski crystals to give it a bit more bling bling...

Now the earrings are finished. Although the lady is not Renata of France, I call it "Renata´s earrings".


Item 2: a hair jewel

Many people know the wonderful paintings of Sandro Botticelli, the famous painter of the Italian Renaissance. One of his favourite models was beautiful Simonetta Vespucci, a kind of IT-Girl of the 15th century. Her dresses and hairstyle were legendary. For a long time I have been fascinated by the hair jewel she wears in this picture. It is shaped like a blossom and set with a orange-looking gemstone or a coral.

A few months ago I copied this blossom ornament for a big Renaissance exhibition, and now I decided to create a new version as a real hair pin.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the two filigree parts I took for the blossom. They were looking like flat blossoms of six petals and are made of brass filigree.

The petals of the first one I bended upside and the petals of the other one down. Then I fixated the two filigree blossoms together an put a golden looking setting in the middle of the upper one. The gemstone or coral of the painting I imitated by a light orange coloured handmade glass bead.

The next step was to create a kind of hair pin to keep the blossom in the hair. For this I took brass wire of 1.5mm.

The brass wire I bended in opposite waves and fixed it beneath the blossom by another little brass filigree ornament.

The finished hair blossom jewel.


Item 3: an aigrette

In an exhibition catalogue of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, I found a little drawing of an aigrette that I fell in love with. The artist was Arnold Lulls, a Dutch jeweller who lived in London in late Renaissance. Aigrettes were precious little jewels to fasten feathers - mostly ostrich or heron - on the hat.

First I chose a filigree ornament of gold plated brass and another smaller one.

Then I picked out some Swarovski crystals: a big red one for the centre and several smaller red and white ones for the surrounding.

I put every crystal in a matching setting, even the smallest ones. Then I fixed them all on the filigree ornament. Around the centre crystal I placed a lining of pearl copies. After this I began to form the smaller ornament like a little crown.

The next step was to combine the little crown and the gold ornament in my "wire sewing technique". I decided to leave off the big pin beneath and the peaky shaped parts above. They wouldn't look good with the little ostrich feathers I'd like to use.


This is what the aigrette and feathers will look like when they are sewn on a precious Renaissance hat - for example made of black or dark red velvet.



© 2001 - 2015 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.