Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Art Nouveau Inspired Ginkgo Crown

Recently, I've been obsessed with Art Nouveau- particularly the jewelry made by RenĂ© Lalique.  Art nouveau takes inspiration from nature and curves, and Lalique's pieces are the epitome of that idea.  His work is often over-the-top but incredibly imaginative.  Another factor that drew me into Art Nouveau is that jewelers during this time period used semi precious gemstones more and more as opposed to precious stones like diamond and emerald.  Here are a couple head ornaments by Lalique that inspired me to make one of my own:

Tortoise Shell and Moonstones
Peacock hair brooch with opals
While being able to cast portions of the crown would have been wonderful, I figured I could make a version of my design with simple metalworking techniques.  Ginkgo leaves were the inspiration for my tiara:

A lot of redrawing/sanding/filing is involved in achieving just the right shape of ginkgo leaf.

Hand cut and engraved...

These pieces soldered on pretty easily, but I had trouble getting the smaller pieces to adhere to the base:

Please excuse my gross soldering block...

I finally decided on two simpler pieces so that I could solder bezel cups to the front.  Here's how it turned out after oxidizing and steel wool-ing:

Not so bad!  It's much simpler than my inspiration, but simplicity is sometimes a good thing.  I used a rainbow moonstone in the middle and a labradorite cabochon on either side.  Feldspar minerals are my favorite, and they go so well with earth toned copper.  

I'll keep this one for myself as a display piece, but I might consider selling some similar pieces in the future.

Keep on the lookout for new jewelry soon at Lithic Design!


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