11 January 2013

Tiaras of Blue

Princess of the North Pole Tiara
 My mom bought this blue butterfly brooch from an estate sale or somewhere, I am not sure. But the great thing about finding secondhand finds is that often, they are in brand new condition, as in this butterfly! It not an old piece, but it is very well made, with sparkling crystal aurora and sapphire blue gems scattered over its wings. Large sky blue crystal beads are placed liberally along the base of the tiara, and are spaced by tiny deep blue crystal beads. The base of the tiara is wrapped in a sparkling blue and silver ribbon. To top it all off, I've attached sparkling blue leafy sprigs that I found at a craft store.

The name comes from my love of ice and snow crystals. I always wanted to live in an ice palace (even though I hate the cold), and I have always been a huge fan of Empress Jadis from the Narnia books. This tiara reminded me of deep blue ice. I've also been watching Avatar a lot lately, and I imagine that the Moon Princess girl would have worn a tiara like this. This is one of those tiaras that I consider a rare masterpiece. I'll probably be sad when it sells because I like it so much!

Tiny Empress Crown
 I was thinking about Empress Maria Fedorovna of Russia, the mother of the last tsar, when I named this piece. She was called "The Little Mother of Russia," and it was this nickname of which this crown reminded me. It was actually Queen Victoria who popularized the mini crown, wearing them exclusively after Prince Albert died. Mini crowns are now incredibly popular among the Japanese Lolita style and burlesque.

Sky Dream Tiara
I've been making tiaras for ten years now, but I've only been selling them for just over two years. Ten years ago, I never thought people would be interested in buying my wares, and the tiaras accumulated over the years. When I first opened my Etsy shop, I originally posted all of those old tiaras I'd made. Their style was very different to how I make them now, and when each one sold, it was with a little bit of sadness on my part. I'd become very attached to some of them, especially since they had survived several moves and had always been there.

This December, when I finally had time to make more tiaras, I decided to go back to that old style I used to employ. The Sky Dream tiara, above, utilizes "gems" that I made myself. I am not sure how I ever came up with how to make these "bezel" set gems, but it is quite an ingenious idea. I use paper or thick cardstock, and I glue circles of paper on top of these. The circles are the size of the flat clear glass marbles (the paper goes along the whole edge of them). I let it dry, and then spray paint these "bezels" gold or silver. I then paint the inside of the bezel any colors I like. I used a cerulean blue in the above design. I let it dry, then I put more mod podge or acrylic varnish in the bezel, and then put the marble in. The marbles fit very snugly, but because the glue is now mostly blocked from direct air, these little guys take a while to dry. When dry, I cut out each bezel, leaving about an eighth of an inch around the border of the bezel. This border is so that I can glue down sequins. I used flat star sequins above, but round "faceted" sequins, the ones with holes, also work great. I let it all dry. The great thing is, because these are made out of paper, glue sticks great to them, and they glue down well to loops of wire. I use C clamps to keep them in place after applying a thick, glossy glue like mod podge. Super elegant!
The "bezel" set gems glue down easily to loops of wire.

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