Dolphin Coronet

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:

CORFdraft1

(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:

planning the forms first cut outs

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:

cut outs part 2 cut outs part 3

Close up time!

cuts outs part 4

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):

cut outs part 5 colors

Finally, assembling the coronet.  First, the pairs of dolphins were given their bead:

solder 1b solder 1

Two wires were bent around a head-shaped mandrel, and soldered shut:

bands on mandrel pic 6

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:

band 1

Now add dolphins:

band 2 band 3

And a few leaves (this was my stopping point for one day’s worth of soldering.)

band 4 band 5

The next day, finish the soldering:

band 6 band 7 done 1 done 2

Finally, sew a band of velvet that matches the beads:

Final held (Kathryn took this picture)

…. 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).

Bert pic 1 closeup Bert pic 3 Bert pic 2 Bert pic 1

Apparently, all told it weighs 2.2 oz. I’d say I met the “make it light” requirement!

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