One of the reasons I love 17th century fashion so much is the jewellery.
18th century jewellery is very pretty, but it tends to get a bit heavy on diamonds and overly ornamented, and just too bling-y.
Mid 17th century jewellery is fabulous though. It’s all pearls.
Throat skimming pearl necklaces, round or baroque.
And pearl drop earrings the size of pigeon eggs, with more pearls twined through the hair.
Pearl trimmed clothes, and large hanging drop pearls dangling off broaches.
(sings) Pearls, Glorious Pearls!
Whenever I’ve worn Ninon, I’ve faked the pearls from my stash of random pearl necklaces, but have always intended to make a set of jewels that captured the look a little better. With the masquerade ball coming up, I thought it was high time I did it.
I had a set of really beautiful, high quality faux pearls, still unstrung, so I strung them, and added a vintage clasp (not 17th c HA, but still very pretty, and it gave the effect). I remembered reading somewhere about women in the 17th century having strands of pearls that they just added to, and twined around their neck multiple times, so I made mine long enough to go around twice. Having looked back over the visual evidence, I’m now beginning to doubt that a double necklace is correct for 17th c. (Plus, I am struggling to remember the source, though I recall it vividly, because it reminded me of the story of the Elizabethan noblewoman who assembled her pearl necklace one pearl at a time, until it was a full rope of pearls, and quite famous (and my brain has completely given up the ghost this time, because I can’t remember the name of the noblewoman either, and I KNOW I know this!))
In any case, the necklace is beautiful, and looks lovely on, and will be accurate for SOME period.
And I do have a very nice strand of very large, real baroque pearls in pink, and as Maria Maddalena shows, baroque pearls are Baroque appropriate! So I can always wear those…
For the earrings, I had more baroque pearls: beautiful pink baroque teardrops that I’d purchased in the Cook Islands on holiday almost 8 years ago, intending to make into earrings.
Six years ago I got organized enough to purchase sterling silver hooks (I can’t wear any other), and 18 karat gold beads for the earrings. And two sets of sterling silver headpins. One of which I managed to loose!
So for now my earrings are held together with rubbish wire, and it’s off to Tiger Eye beads for me for new headpins (it turns out they come in gold too! As do the French hooks. I rather like the mix of gold and silver, but I think that all gold might be more accurate).
But I’m counting them as done, because they were worn, and they could be worn indefinitely, they just don’t look very good up close!
Side note: my hair turned out reasonably well, and if you compare it to the Maes portrait, and this portrait, and this portrait, and this portrait, it’s really quite good. And a very popular colour for the period. Next time I’ll get it even better.
The last sort-off accessory I made was my mask. There are very few depictions of masquerade masks in the 17th century, but early 18th c depictions show masks just like this, so I figured it was close enough. And the paint colour is ‘Bastille!’
The Challenge: #7 Accessorise
Fabric: All notions
Year: 1660ish – but could easily be worn in most periods
Notions: faux pearl beads, 1930s clasp, foxtail wire (necklace). Baroque pearls, sterling silver french hooks, gold beads, wire (earrings). Paper mask & paint.
How historically accurate is it?: Materials and techniques are probably pretty spot on for period jewellery, and 17th & 18th c masquerade masks were probably painted papier mache, so it’s all close, but still feels like cheating!
Hours to complete: 3. Pretty quick and easy.
First worn: Sat 11 July, to a French themed Masquerade ball.
Total cost: Around $30 for all. I’ve been collecting the jewellery bits for years, and don’t remember exact pricing. The mask was $4 including paint
OK. So this is a really soft HSM entry. But I’ve got a better one planned too!