As part of her studies of the Georgian period my daughter was keen to make some jewellery, having really enjoyed researching and making Tudor jewellery earlier this year. On Pinterest we discovered many examples of sentimental ‘eye jewellery‘ which apparently became fashionable after the future King George VI, then the Prince of Wales, wanted to express his love for his mistress and ‘wife’ (the marriage was invalidated by the Royal Marriages Act as George III disapproved and would not permit the marriage) Maria Fitzherbert. A piece of jewellery showing merely the eye of a beloved, rather than the whole portrait as in a usual miniature, preserved the anonymity of the subject. George wore ‘Maria’s eye’ under his lapel, close to his heart but hidden from other, prying and more hostile eyes… Eye jewellery was commissioned by other couples and also by parents who wanted to remember a lost child. Having such a piece, worn as a pendant, ring or brooch was like wearing a locket with a piece of a loved one’s hair or a tiny picture of them inside.
We started off by practicing drawing eyes. There are lots of tutorials on the web showing you how to draw realistic eyes and my daughter had a lot of fun experimenting. This one was the tutorial she started off trying.
- We bought a pendant base from Hobbycraft, along with a pack of clear oval domes, a packet of bronze-effect jump rings (rather like this but in the appropriate colour) and a length of ribbon.
- We drew around one of the domes as a guide and within the shape my daughter drew and coloured an eye.
- She stuck this to the pendent base with some Bostik glue
- and then stuck the dome on top.
- When the pendant had dried she fixed the jump ring onto the pendant and threaded through the ribbon.