Throughout our Ashbourne workshop, our team of talented silversmiths, gemstone cutters and designers are what continue to drive the company forward. It was therefore no surprise they were the first choice when our friends at Chatsworth wanted to recreate some of their exquisite jewellery from a bygone era, for a very special project that will form part a major exhibit for Chatsworth in 2017.
The fashion choices of the Devonshire family over the centuries is the principle theme of the exhibition. In particular, the magnificent costume created for Louise, Duchess of Devonshire, which she wore at a lavish ball at Devonshire House in 1897, to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Forming part of the costume was a spectacular head piece which consisted of pearls, coloured gemstones and some very intricate metalwork. Working from just a solitary sepia photograph, our workshop was set the task of recreating it. This meant starting again from scratch, from sketching out the initial designs, through to sourcing all the gemstones and pearls, and handcrafting every piece of the detailed silver frame. Heading up a talented workshop team focused on the recreation, Paul Barker commented: “It’s been a fabulous project to work on. There were so many design issues to overcome, many from an aesthetic point of view, but also several purely practical considerations, such as how the pearls hung on the headdress when worn to create the correct balance and an even weight distribution.”
Reflecting on the final design, Paul notes: “Working closely with the project team at Chatsworth we were able to provide a very accurate recreation. The end result includes a wonderful piece of Derbyshire Blue John as one of its key features. We hope people will enjoy seeing our finished creation.”
Alongside the head-piece, our workshop and design team have also been busy recreating two additional diamond tiaras and developing a special retail jewellery collection inspired by the Devonshire family. These can be viewed first-hand when the exhibition opens at Chatsworth in March 2017.