Thursday, January 12, 2012

A tiara in honor of a splendid monarch

On Saturday the 14th of January our beloved Queen Margrethe II celebrates her 40th jubilee as a monarch of Denmark. There will be balls, concerts etc and of cause all will be covered extensively by the two national TV stations DR and TV2.

Inspired by this event and the fabulous jewelry of the Russian Zar family, I have created a new tiara. This is my most regal looking so far and I am completely in love with it. I wanted a very crown-like style, though still keeping a certain non-symmetrical look. I created the tiara of almost 2m of 1,5 mm sterling silver wire and adorned it with a large facet cut quartz crystal and 14 smaller white topazes.

This tiara has, together with my small princess crown, been lent to TV2 to be worn by the hostesses throughout their coverage of the events on the 14th of January. So, tune in on Saturday and see some of the Castens tiaras live!

Read more about the royal family and the anniversary here.

Psst: 14th of January is my birthday. Funny to have all Denmark celebrate ;-)

How did I create it?
Okay, back to the tiara: I spent my Christmas holidays in Finland at the home of my boyfriends family. When not eating or walking in the snow (yep – we had a white Christmas) I worked on my newest tiara design. I wanted the look of the regal tiaras, which, as I learned from the program on the Russian splendors, is based on a traditional Russian adornment for women: the kokoshnik. Take a look at these pictures of royal kokoshnik style tiaras to get a drift of what I wanted to accomplish (though with substantially fewer stones).

My technique to get the right dimensions was to work with paper models. Actually it took me quite a while to reach the right shape and size, cutting, testing and cutting again. My Finnish family watched in wonder ;-) Finally I was ready to create the design itself and I drew quite a few versions

Eventually I chose this one over the others. It's not symmetrical, not too high on the head and has a nice even distribution of stones. I was still unsure about all the balls, but I knew that this was the basic shape I wanted. Then I started testing with stones and ended up using mostly white topazes. I wanted a large white topaz at the center too, but couldn't get my hands on one large enough right now and hence settled for a quartz crystal.

Okay, off we go shaping all the swirls and waves of 1,5 mm silver wire. It took quite a while and I have to admit: my fingers were quite sore once I was done!

As allways, I wanted to hammer part of the swirls in order to get that whiplash effect. Here I have marked the areas to hammer with a black marker.

Chiming on the amboss is over and now the tricky part: soldering. A tiara is large and hence I have to heat everything which requires a big flame. But the hammered details are much thinner than the rest and risk melting if I'm not careful.

Eventually I managed to do the entire soldering in only 3 go’s, making disaster much less likely during the process

I decided not to add all the balls – maybe in a later design, but this one I wanted simple.
I had a little space issue: my pickle pot it too small! I need a bigger one, most definitely!

Right, all the soldering is done and initial renovation too. Now of for setting the stones.

After a last finish this is the end result. I am quite satisfied I have to say and hope, someone will wear this tiara with joy! See more pictures of the Zarina tiara at my homepage