I was given the opportunity to make a coronet for a woman who already is a Laurel and was about to be granted a court baroncy. I had only 2 weeks to make a coronet, but knowing that her arms included dolphins (darn heraldic dolphins) I had an idea of what I would make. The only requirement I was given was to make it light.
The plan was to have 6 sets of dolphins holding beads, coming up out of a coronet made of laurel leaves. Original sketch:
(click any picture to see it in full)
First, the pieces were drawn on to the metal, and the details engraved. Then they were cut out of the flat metal:
Above, you can just see a couple of early experiments in how much to dish the leaves. Also, you can see that there were a few pieces I cut out before I figured out that it was easier to engrave them *first*. In the picture on the left (below) the leaves are dished, and in the right, both the leaves and the dolphins are dished. I find that pieces look nicer with a little dishing and this really shows the contrast nicely. The leaves were dished in a metal doming bowl. The dolphins were dished in a shallow depression cut into pine since they were elongated and needed an oval dish:
Close up time!
Now, for the pearls. Decisions decisions. I asked her friends, and they voted on the irridescent blue glass beads (string of them seen on the right):
Finally, assembling the coronet. First, the pairs of dolphins were given their bead:
Two wires were bent around a head-shaped mandrel, and soldered shut:
For structural stability (OK it was overkill, but I was really worried about how delicate this all would be!) I added 5 vertical supports between the two wires. These would end up getting hidden behind the dolphins:
Now add dolphins:
And a few leaves (this was my stopping point for one day’s worth of soldering.)
The next day, finish the soldering:
Finally, sew a band of velvet that matches the beads:
…. and DONE!
Many thanks to Albert Sanford for the pictures of her getting and wearing the coronet. (The picture on the left is a closeup of the last one).
Apparently, all told it weighs 2.2 oz. I’d say I met the “make it light” requirement!