The Ingrid Bergman pendant was a huge challenge for us in many ways. Locating a historical pendant, similar in design, on-line was a huge gain for us. Next we developed the design details and presented a design story board for client approval.
I knew from my historical research that jewelry from the Victorian time period, was made in precious and in non-precious metals. So we decided to review our options for materials. Our budget dictated that we go with brass and plate it to look like gold.
Once the back plate was cut, we then cut and formed the top component of the pendant with hand tools. Soldering was fairly simple we used hard silver solder since there were going to be many levels of soldering on the construction of this pendant.
The borders of the pendant were hand formed from brass sheet. We had to get the exact curves to create the same look. It is a lot harder to copy a design then to create one from your mind. You have to be on the mark. If it doesn’t match exactly the original piece it will not look like a re-created work.
We always check the progress and accuracy of the design against the original photographs. The bail had to match exactly. It was after several attempts working with the hammer and the forming block that we finally achieved right curves. Next was the most challenging part of the project, attempting the impossible soldering of tiny balls of brass.
Brass balls are not available at the jewelry’s supply store. So we made each and every one. Sorted them by size and carefully soldered them into place, using the same techniques from the Victorian times. (My eyesight will never be the same)
Wires and balls were carefully crafted and added to the pendant.
There were several discussions on how the leaves were constructed. They could have been enameled, a popular design element from this time period in jewelry. We decided to make them rose gold.
I have been carving wax since 1991. I love the medium, hard plastic like wax is my favorite. You can really get exactly what you want in the wax. Once cast, you can still make changes in the metal. But my philosophy is do all the work in wax it is a lot easier to carve wax them file metal.
With the casting and finishing process behind us, the rest of the project went smoothly. We soldered on the three leaves using extra soft solder. It was the last of the soldering we would do on this piece.
We always keep the client in on the design process. We believe in communication the entire way. Often with these complex designs once you go down a certain path there is really no going back, if you make a mistake in metal you are starting all over.
The gown was being restored and prepped for a costume collection exhibit. My client wanted to see how the pendant would look. So in between soldering we tried the pendant on the bodice. It was better than we had hoped for. It was a perfect match.
Cleaning and giving the final texture was all we needed to do.
Then we sent it off to the plating company. We had selected a rich 18 karat gold finish to complete our Victorian re-creative pendant.