Diadem for Baroness Audrye Beneyt

March 2020

My apprentice cousin asked for me to help enhance her presence for her upcoming role as Vox Regis for their highnesses Tindal and Alberic with a new coronet that would better fit a Roman reign.  I was honored to be asked, and was happy to assist.  We worked together to review some extant research for ideas of inspiration

She indicated that the inspiration should come from Mistress Anastasia Guta’s baronial coronet. The Byzantine piece, I believe, was made by Master Julien Lapointe

I was excited for the opportunity to draw from our local history and to create a piece that would fit the aesthetics of the desired era. I started by sketching some layouts and playing with space holders using bits and pieces from the shop’s hoard.

I have a few fantasy coins that I have aquired, and liked the idea of using one with a distinctly Greco-Roman aesthetic that would add to the piece.  But this diadem was going to be silver, and my coin model was bronze, and thicker than I would have liked.  So I decided to make a new one for the centerpiece of the diadem, in fine silver.  I made a mold of the face of the coin and created wax duplicates to be cast using a lost wax method.

Next we needed to add some aspects that were just a bit of Audrye to make it personal to her.  I wanted to incorporate aspects of her heraldic device and selected the fox rampant to include as  the next features to the diadem.

I etched the design  of the fox onto copper using acid, but was faced again with a metal of the wrong color tone than I was trying to work with.  I resolved to stay in the white metal palette for the entire piece, and electroplated the copper foxes to a nice, shiny silver.

Assembly could then begin in earnest.  I played around a bit with the layout of the stones before finally deciding upon the triangular placement.

The Coin centerpiece is soldered in place to the nickel silver band, and then a guard is riveted in place over it to help secure and protect it.  The foxes are likewise pin riveted in place.

The stones are epoxied into silver bezel cups that were soldered onto the band.

 Beaded silver wire circles were attached to embellish the stone settings.

The final personalization was the inclusion of the ermine aspect of Audrye’s design.  I commissioned a stamp to be made, but due to schedules it was delayed.  I was not certain it would make it in time, and while I was happy to be able to include the final touch, it would have been preferred to have and use before the shaping of the band and assembly.

A leather backing is attached within the diadem to help reduce any wear and weathering to both the piece and the wearer.  I used a fine velcro to adhere the leather so that it can be replaced as needed over time, while limiting any destructive maintenance requirements. 

In conclusion, I am happy with the way the piece has come out.  There are some items I would change and some techniques I might have chosen over others.  This piece was not meant as an exercise in period technology or technique, but rather as a creation of a period aesthetic. The part that I am most proud of is that Audrye enjoys it.  My cousin works very hard to support the East kingdom and its members, and is deserving of something shiny.  May it bring many years of smiles and enjoyment to you, my apprentice cousin.

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