Pewter Tudor pendant

al-Sayyid Garsiyya, A&S Competition 2007

The pendant on display is in the design of the pendant worn in the below Portrait of a Young Woman which currently hangs in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

It was a common Tudor style to have a large pendant hanging on the chest from a choker necklace with the necklace running around and hanging down to the dress again. This can also be seen in the below image of Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein.

The initial intention of this project was to make the above necklace and pendant. However the shapes of the stones on the pendant are awkward to find so I looked for a possible replacement pendant. The replacement chosen was that of the first portrait as it is both Tudor and based on the style of Holbein.

Both of the pendants displayed above would most likely have been made of gold. I am unfortunately not a gold smith, so this pendant was made from pewter as it is a material that I can work with.

In period pewter was a commonly used material for items ranging from belt buckles to brooches and other dress accessories. The below is an example of a pewter brooch with glass stones inset in it. This is item 1359 from [1]

Pewter is a combination of tin and lead. In period the amount of lead could range from a very small amount up to 50% of the alloy. Today’s pewter is lead free and based on tin and copper. The copper ranges from 1-15% and is the hardener. [3]

Other common metals used in period for similar designs include brass, bronze, gun metal, tin, silver and gold.

Specific jewels in period were available as was setting glass and other semi precious stones. Not all the stones that we have today were used in period however.

The 6 ringing stones are Black Star Diopside. This was chosen as it is a black stone. I do not think it was available in period. Black stones of a similar style were available.

The centre stone is a garnet which was available in period.

The dangling pearls from the original have been replaced with beads of a similar design and look. These are not pearl but are probably made from plastic and procured from the Bead Shop in Claremont.

Jewel Setting
In period the jewel setting for pewter would probably have been “…either putty – a mixture of a drying oil and whiting (calcium carbonate), or a mortar – calcium hydroxide…” [1]

If the material had been gold it would have probably had a bezel setting. The stone is set into the base and then the metal is folded inwards onto the stone holding it in place. This is not possible with pewter as it is a highly rigid material but could be done by insetting another material into the pewter.

Contact Adhesive was used to set the jewels in this pendant.

The final product:

[1] Dress Accessories 1150-1450, Geoff Egan and Frances Pritchard, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2002
[2] Jewelry two books in one, Madeline, Sterling Publishing Company, 1999