Baronial Coronet for Anna von Baden

Overdue Update: part the next

December 2021

I was commissioned to produce a coronet for the granting of a barony of the court of Ioannes II and Honig II to Anna von Baden. I was given free reign to decide style and aesthetics with the only request to include flowers of the Edelweiss as a component.

I had a bit of time with this and went through several iterations of both the coronet form and the flowers themselves. Some were successful, and some were less so. I am happy with the result and final piece that I was able to produce, but there were several missteps along the way. I think it is important for me to document the failures in my process as well as successes to help learn from mistakes and gain understanding over the process that allows me to continually improve and to share my progression and help others know what to avoid.

The initial flowers were to be cast in fine silver from lost wax of a sculpt I created.

But alas there were issues in the casting process. It might have been that the wax I used was not the standard jewelers’ wax I have used in the past and it may not have completed the burnout completely, or it might have been that the sculpt itself was overly ambitious in its size and undercut characteristics to be able to be completed using gravity pour casting. Either way these failed and were unusable.

I will admit that I was a bit disheartened by the casting failure and chose to pivot to a different method for the flower creation. I instead etched and cut a different design for the edelweiss flowers from nickel silver.

The next design and execution failure I faced was the pierce work that I intended. I envisioned a lovely and delicate pierced scroll of leaves and vines and after spending hours with the jeweler’s saw I made the final cut and immediately realized my error; I did not leave supports to maintain the fixed distance between the top and the bottom. Without support in addition to the ends, as it needed to curve the distance would become irregular and distort the scrolling pierce work. I could make it work, but it would not be my vision, and so out of frustration and disappointment in myself, I chose to put it aside and pivot to another direction.

Once again I started over. I wanted to maintain the scrolling vine so I instead did an etched band.

I wanted it to be a little bit more than the silver etched band, so I chose to add a bit of color using some glass paint, Pebeo Vitrea which after applied is baked for extra durability. I used this on the edelweiss flower as well as the scrolling vine. It provided an enamel-like quality to both aspects of the piece.

The final version may not have been what I envisioned at the start, but it came out and elegant and delightful and was well received by the recipient. It doesn’t have to be a perfect representation of what I thought I was making at the start to be a wonderful and treasured artifact for our new Baroness.

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