The bride looks exquisite in her custom sterling silver wedding tiara featuring 67 genuine gems
When the opportunity arose to create a very special elaborate custom piece for a customer who shared Jeniís passion for the equestrian arts, Jeni was thrilled to accommodate the request. An artist always enjoys the opportunity to create something unique which allows their creativity to flourish. Jeniís recent sterling silver custom wedding tiara contains 67 genuine gemstones all set in bezel, prong, or flush settings. All three shades of blue Topaz, i.e. Swiss, Sky, and London Blue were used along with black diamonds.
A customer of Jeni's for many years contacted her requesting a tiara for her wedding. She wanted a number of meaningful symbols incorporated into her custom made sterling silver tiara. In describing her wish for a large dramatic piece, she humorously stated, ďIf a crown and tiara had a love child, thatís what I want!Ē Jeni got the idea and gladly worked with her to fulfill her requests.
Two horses were to be the focal point of the design, conveying all of the wild power and grace inherent to the equine spirit. After reviewing several of Jeni's sketches of various mane and tail styles, the bride chose a design containing vibrant fiery lines. The design she chose required a great deal of meticulous fabrication. Both manes and tails had to be crafted from many small bits of sterling wire, each carefully shaped and filed to very precise angles. The greatest challenge, of course, came in making two symmetrical forms.
Symmetry always adds to the intensity of any project for the artist. While Jeni may solder a few pieces of wire together and create a pleasing shape, if both sides donít match, the pieces either have to be heated and adjusted or fabricated again. On designs that require many small parts and symmetry, it is quite common to pull parts off and start over. Jeni had to adjust many pieces of this project to get everything just right. She often works to create small sections piece by piece by only joining two bits of wire together at a time. She will line both matching sides up on her soldering pad as mirror images. The angles of the pieces being soldered is extremely important, but before two pieces are joined, they also have to be filed to fit together perfectly. Some buffing is done at most joints for a seamless finish.
The brideís middle name is Isis, after the Egyptian Goddess, so she requested that the two horses have Eye of Horus eyes. Jeni had to carve the tiny eyes in wax, rather than attempt to fabricate them from wire, due to their very small size. Using tools that Jeni made herself, she hand carved the eyes under very high-powered magnification. Once they were cast, she even flush set one-millimeter black diamonds in each one as accents. Jeni admits that this was some of the most challenging stone setting she has attempted in her career. One-millimeter stones are always tough to set. The model work to create such a small component with the proper proportions to accommodate stones, and fit into place as the horsesí eyes, required a great deal of precision. Shrinkage is a factor that must be considered when carving a wax model. Every model will shrink 3%, so when stones settings are involved, careful planning is essential.
To compliment the Egyptian theme of the eyes Jeni adorned the horses with linear bands around the bases of their necks and haunches. The bands dress both horses in more formal attire, appropriate for the occasion; but are also reminiscent of the necklaces worn by Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and artwork.
A Fleur De Lis graces the top of the tiara, sitting between the curling manes of the two horses. Every bride wants to feel like a queen on their special day and this symbol of royalty compliments the flowing lines of the horses manes and tails beautifully. Zodiac symbols add a more personal element to the designs as well. Saddle blankets draped across the horses backs, contain the symbols for Libra and Pisces, to represent the birthdates of the bride and groom.
Having a father who proudly served in the military and inspired her interest in sport shooting; the bride requested that shell casings from her favorite calibers be used in the design as well. Jeni has been creating a line of elegant floral designs from shell casings since 2005. Her Patented Pistol Petal collection worked beautifully to enhance the feeling of powerful feminine energy inherent in the piece. Each shell casing is carefully curled into a delicate blossom and set with either Sky or Swiss Blue Topaz. Some blossoms have small prong settings soldered to the tips of the stamen, while other blooms have a larger stone set, centered in the base of the shell. Jeni used a special patina to add depth to the Petals and create a striking contrast, offsetting the stones. Since 9mm is the brideís favorite caliber Pistol Petals created from 9mm casings were a must. However, the bride enjoys .223 and 30-30 as well so Jeni incorporated these casings in the tiara as well, giving the blossoms greater variety.
The leaves complementing the flowers on the tiara took a great deal of consideration. Jeni thought about, and experimented with a few leaves she crafted from silver sheet. However, she ultimately chose a more linear approach in creating heart shaped leaves from sterling wire, which also added a romantic touch. She left the stems on both the leaves and the Petals quite long. Jeni carefully wrapped the wire stems around the base of the tiara to create the look of a floral crown, crafted from long vines.
Through this elaborate tiara, Jeni gave free reign to her creativity. The bride was wonderful to work with and allowed Jeni an adequate time frame, stating her expectations for the piece, and then allowing Jeni to create her vision. The original sketches were conceived in August of 2014, the project was completed in February of 2015. Fabricating a design with so much detail is an immense undertaking, but is always very fulfilling and well worth the effort. The bride was thrilled with the result and her piece will undoubtedly remain a lasting family heirloom.