The Waterlily Maiden necklace — The History Hop

I couldn’t resist joining in Leah Curtis’s History Hop, which reveals today! Leah picked 14 periods from history to inspire jewellery design, and I have to say, it was hard to choose! In the end, I went with Art Nouveau, the artistic and architectural movement that flourished as the 19th century passed into the 20th.

Art Nouveau got its start in France in the last couple of decades of the 19th century, during a period of growth and prosperity later named “La Belle Époque” by the French. It was both a philosophy and a movement of art, architecture, and decorative arts that was characterised by the use of flowing organic forms drawing inspiration from nature, fantasy and the female form. Artists associated with Art Nouveau include the Czech artist Alphonse Maria Mucha, whose poster of opera singer Sarah Bernhardt epitomises the graphic design of the period;

photo credit: grumlinas via photopin cc

architect Hector Guimard who designed the Paris Metro entrances;

photo credit: stevecadman via photopin cc

and Emile Gallé, who created carved and etched glass from his factory in the French town of Nancy. Other artists and architects strongly influenced by Art Nouveau include Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, René Lalique, Antoni Gaudí and Louis Comfort Tiffany (source: Wikipedia).

Typically, Art Nouveau jewellery used motifs from nature such as dragonflies and waterlilies. There was a strong Japanese influence, especially in Lalique’s work.The stones tended to be more natural, semi-precious gems including opals as well as organically shaped pearls, rather than precious gems like diamonds and rubies. Silver and gold were popular metals, which surprised me a bit as many of theArt Nouveau stampings available these days from companies such as Vintaj and Trinity are brass. Brooches were very popular, such as the eponymous Lalique dragonfly, and many necklaces were relatively simple — a decorative pendant on a fine chain.

Dragonfly Woman Corsage Ornament
by Rene Laliquephoto credit: sprklg via photopin cc 

One of the characteristics of Art Nouveau jewellery was the use of enamel. Several different enamel techniques were popular including cloisonné, champlevé and plique à jour. In my design I have paid tribute to these techniques by highlighting some of the details with Vintaj patina inks on the brass stamping I used as my focal pendant.

The necklace I made is called The Waterlily Maiden, for the brass stamping focal pendant. I used Vintaj patinas in Ruby and Opalite mixed with a bit of the glaze extender to thin it to give the waterlilies some colour, and a blend of Jade and Moss patinas for the leaves. The maiden was left uncoloured and a wash of diluted cobalt across the background hints at water. A coat of glaze over the top has given it a subtle sheen. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out — the flowers could be a little neater but it’s a pretty good first attempt. The stamping itself came from the Vintaj Salvage Etsy shop, which is a destash shop for the Vintaj company, and is full of fabulous treasures.

Rather than just stringing the pendant on a plain chain, I attached it to another stamping, and then linked it to brass peanut chain interspersed with faceted nuggets of very pale, almost colourless, translucent amethyst, green fluorite and rose quartz, with a small Art Nouveau-style connector between two of the green fluorite stones.

Please take some time to visit the other participants of the History Hop!

Ahowin – Art Nouveau www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com
Alicia Marinache – Victorian http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Becca’s Place – Renaissance www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco www.stringingfool.blogspot.com
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece www.cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley www.washoekat.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan www.sadafulee.blogspot.com
Lady Grey – Victorian www.beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian www.laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
LiliKrist – Persia www.lilikrist.com
Melissa – Mesopotamian www.design.kcjewelbox.com
>>Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com ME!!!!<<
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau www.city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman – Victorian www.tracystillmandesigns.com
And make sure you come back on Tuesday for the Mismatched Art Bead Earring Swap!

14 thoughts on “The Waterlily Maiden necklace — The History Hop

  1. Ooh, beautiful piece!! I love how you painted the Waterlily Maiden focal – the whole piece is simply gorgeous!

  2. What a wonderful necklace, I love the focal pendant, the way you painted.Très très Jolie!!! Waterlily Maiden, I could not find a better name. Congratulation Melissa.

  3. Marvellous use of the patinas to enliven you piece, Melissa! I knew very little about this period so your background was much appreciated.

  4. I think you mentioned half of my favorite artists of all time! I am such an Art History geek I was a huge fan of Mucha at age 10! The necklace is perfect! And you wrote such a lovely post on the period! Thank you!

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