Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jeweled Headbands

When I look at a portrait with an eye for making accessories, I try to break it down into all it's various components.  What style of earrings is she wearing?  What types of stones are in her belt?  What is the proportion of the pearls in her necklace to its pendant?  When you look at portraits this way, you start to notice trends.  For instance, while I was looking at a portrait of Lucrezia de' Medici that I'd been analyzing with the idea of recreating her outfit, I couldn't help but notice her lovely headband.  I thought, "What a beautiful piece of jewelry!  I want one!"  lol

1560 Portrait of Lucrezia de' Medici by Alessandro Allori

Curious now, I started looking back through my portrait collection to see how common headbands like these were in Italy in the mid- to late-1500s.  I easily found more than 30 and I hadn't even looked through a quarter of the portraits! I'd casually noticed them before, but now my interest had been piqued and I started playing with ideas on how to make them.

I designed quite a few different styles, then settled on three that were similar in feel to the ones in the portraits.  The first I named after Lucrezia de' Medici, since it was her portrait that sparked my interest.  The second I named after a wonderful Italian woman artist, Sofonisba Anguissola.  The painting below shows her and her sisters all wearing jeweled headbands!  The third was named for the famous Venetian poetess and courtesan, Veronica Franco.  I plan on adding more styles as well.

1555 Portrait of the Artist's Sisters Playing Chess by Sofonisba Anguissola

The pictures below show a few examples of my versions of the Italian jeweled headband.  I use Swarovski crystal, fresh and cultured pearls, and various semi-precious stone cabochons.  All components are soldered securely to the headband.  I tried various methods like wire wrapping, but I found that soldering gave me the best combination of versatility and security, plus I didn't get my hair caught in it, which is always a plus, right?

de' Medici


As always, I love seeing portraits I haven't seen before, so by all means, let me know if you find one that's interesting!  Email me at

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