17 December 2011

M for Maria - late 14th cent. brooch from Germany

Something a bit more secular this time - a luxury object of personal devotion.

In 1870 during some construction works at Pritzwalk (Germany) the large number of late medieval silver items had been discovered.
After the examination the researchers came to a conclusion that this treasure was probably hidden in 1392. It consisted 426 jewellery items and a number of jewellery fragments.
Unfortunately the treasure was moved from Pritzwalk to Berlin Decorative Art Museum and some of the items has been destroyed ( also including a beautiful wearable pendant altar with three kings visiting Christ) during the II World War bombing.

Hundreds of beautiful items survived, though and it was really hard to decide what to make first!
After hours of studying the catalogue- that was my pick.

The silver brooch in a shape of crowned letter M.

A wax model of a copy of the silver, late14th century brooch.


Letter M stands for Maria -Mother of Christ. 
The background of the letter is engraved with six four petal flowers and letters A and V- which stands for AVE.
There is also an additional element, a small leave-shaped pendant suspended with a silver wire eye soldered at the back. In the centre of the pendent the is an eye soldered with a silver foil hanging ornament ( very similar to the one from Erfurt Treasure hooks-and-eyes I made - you can see it here )
All elements are enemelled.
At the revers the hinged pin with a closing hook is still preserved.

The original brooch from Pritzwalk Treasure, now in Kunsgewerbetmuseum Collection in Berlin
Material: Silver, gold gilt, enamel
Dimensions: 50mm ( with pendant) x 2,1mm

Krabath, Stefan; Lambacher, Lothar: Der Pritzwalker Silberfund. Smuck des späten Mitelalters, Pritzwalk 2006

10 December 2011

Silver crowned spoon

Getting ready for a royal feast. Silver spoon found in Sweden. This is one of seven similar spoons found in a large silver treasure discovered in Sollentuna and now in the collection of the Historiska Museet.
I just finished the wax few days ago. The final shape of the spoon will me made after it will be casted in metal - i will hammer it to make it deeper. Afterwards the ornaments will be engraved and partly plated with gold.

Wax model of the silver spoon form the Historiska Museet.



Black and white version to give a better idea of how it will look in silver.

The picture of the spoons together with all the treasure elements.

Spoons photographed with the rest of the treasure: cups, belt elements, buttons, candleholder.

Finally the original spoon front and back view. Note the beautiful engraved and plated ribbon under the handle.

The original spoon from the Historiska Museet.
Material:    silver, gold plated
Dimension:    length 122 mm
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1 December 2011

Hooks-and-eyes from Erfurt

Today a short break from making reliquaries. Today there is going to be something about fashion - clothes fasteners from a 14th century treasure from Germany.

It was made using a brass blowpipe not a modern gas burner - something I learned from a goldsmith in India during the last trip ( Yes, there will be a post about it soon).

Copy of the leave hook and eye from the Erfurt Treasure
Material: silver
Dating: 14th century


The photo of the original two pairs of fasteners.

The original fasteners from the Erfurt Treasure
Material:   silver, gold gilt
Dating:  14th century

 At the photo above, the ears in the front side are preserved only on one of the leaves and were used for adding some small metal hanging pendants. Unfortunately it seems that they easily getting lost - but another element from the same treasure still have them preserved.

The belt stud from the Erfurt Treasure with a metal pendant
Few of the belt-studs still have those pendants attached, so I decided to reconstruct a similar heart-shaped ones for my fasteners.

There are many more very interesting hooks-and eyes from Erfurt and they will be available to order soon.

More copies of the Erfurt Treasure elements waiting for soldering.

Silver floral fasteners from Erfurt Treasure

Silver fleur-de-lis fastener form Erfurt Treasure

The Erfurt Treasure- all elements.

The Erfurt Tresure - detail.


Mecking, Oliver (el al.): Der Schatzfund - Analysen - Herstellungstechniken - Rekonstruktionen. Die Mittelalterliche Judische Kultur in Erfurt, Bd. 2.Weimar 2010.

30 November 2011

Metropolitan gothic pendant

Another example of wearable reliquary. The construction is very similar to the IHC reliquary I already made.
I assume this was also open-able, slide up one although I did not find information about it.

The front panel with a architectural motive of gothic windows was made with a cast. The back panel  engraved with a hunting motive - rabbit being chased by three hounds.

This is still "work in progress" project but photos already give an idea of how it will look finished.

Front and back panel of the pendant.


Here are also some photos of the making process. I made the wax model mostly with a "build-up" technique and then made engravings in the background. Some wax, alcohol burner, a few metal instruments and some hours is all what is needed.
Making the wax model of the front panel.

  And for comparison:

The original pendant from the Metropolitan Museum in New York
Material: silver, gold gilt
Dimensions: 57mm x 25mm x 7mm
Dating: late 14th century
The museum catalogue says that it got also inscriptions on the sides de Sca Barbara de Sco Giorgio [Saint Barbara Saint George] unfortunately I have no pictures or drawings of the inscriptions. That means I will not make any engraving until I obtain some more photos or before I will go for trip to New York and see it on the display myself.

If you maybe have some more photos of it please do not hesitate to contact me!


28 November 2011

Reliquary pendant with St. George

It has been few months already I am in to finding a making medieval wearable jewellery reliquaries.
This one with a Saint George killing the dragon was made for a commission order. 

It is a tiny piece made in gold plated silver with a rock crystal window - so the stored a precious item always would be visible.
Copy of the 15th cent pendant
Material: 925 Silver (gold plated), rock crystal
Dimensions: 16mm x 14mm x 5mm

The original piece is from the British Museum and the catalouge description says: "Gold reliquary pendant of rectangular shape, engraved with a standing figure of St. George killing the dragon within an arch on one side; on the other is a piece of crystal behind which it is likely that a piece of textile was shown."

The original pendant from British Museum
Material: gold, rock crystal
Dimensions: 16mm x 14mm
You can wear in on a chain, but there is also one nice example from 15th century of a very similar looking item on a black bead ( jet beads?) necklace.
Detail from “Salmon Is questioned by the King”. Pierre Salmon, Dialoges;
Geneva, BGE, MS fr.165, fol.7; Paris, ca.1414.
After van Buren 2011, p. 131, F82.

And some more pictures:



van Buren, Anna H.: Illuminating fashion. Dress in Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, 1325-1515. New York & London 2011, p. 131, F82.

27 November 2011

Round reliquary

This one I made after a detector find from England ( North Yorkshire, Hambleton).

After placing the relicts inside, the top piece - lid will be sealed by hammering the rim of the bottom part.

The are letters envgraved on both sides:  A/M  /  IHC  [Ave Maria / Jesus Christus]

Copy of the pendant
Material: gold plated silver
Dimensions: diameter 19mm
Dating: 14-15th century


And the photo of the original find:

The original reliquary
Material: silver gilt
Dimentions: diameter 19mm
Dating: 14/15th century



26 November 2011

Leonardi from Cremone pendant reliquary

This was the very first reliquary I made and I still think that it is the one I like the most.
It was probably manufactered in Italy.
The inscription  +RELIQU / IA . SA[NCT]I . LE' / 'ONARDI . * / CREMONE*' ['Relic of St. Leonard from Cremona' Inscribed in Latin]

The relicts are stored in a drawer like construction. The inside part slided thou the ingraved one and it is secured by a rivet to keep the precious conted safe.

Copy of the reliquary pendant
Material: 925 silver
Dating: ca 1350



The riginal pendant from Victoria and Albert Museum in London - Avers
Material: silver, gold, enamel
Dimensions: 52 mm  x 10 mm x 6 mm
Dating: ca 1350

The original pendant from Victoria and Albert Museum in London - Revers