Research and Design of an SCA Medallion
Boar’s Head 2013
|Figure 1 Completed Pyxis Medallion|
I am honored to have been recognized by King Tom and Queen Sigrid as a member of the Order of the Pyxis. As a member, I am invited to wear the symbol of the order: (Fieldless) A cross clechy Or within and conjoined to an annulet argent.
Recognized for research and recreation in the Middle Eastern arts and culture, I wanted to wear a symbol that honored the order while also coordinating with the specific Middle Eastern culture I research, Fatimid Egypt in 1066.
|Figure 2 Fatimid pendant, 10th – 11th c, 2.9 cm. Aga Khan Museum, assn AKM00594|
I commissioned designer and goldsmith Kelly Williams of Whiplash Designs to create a frame for the cross and convert it to a pendant. She created a piece based on several designs from extant pieces, and used lost wax casting techniques to make it.
Kelly plated the cross itself in yellow gold to make the pendant match the symbol of the order. She also strung pearls around the pendant. I have not been able to find Fatimid-period jewelry with the pearls intact, however Byzantine, Hellenistic, and Victorian jewelry all use a very small pearl size for this purpose.
Most Middle Eastern pendants on display in museums do not include a method to hang them. I have located two Fatimid examples of chains. The first was auctioned from Christie’s Auction House. The second is housed at the National Museum in Damascus.
I am not an expert in the technique trichinopoly chain work, frequently called Viking wire weaving, but amateur researchers Sefa Farminsdottir and Svein Turnheim believe it is possible the necklace pictured on the left is made with this technique (each has said they would need different photographs to determine for certain). The chains hanging from the pin pictured on the right were determined to be a different style of chain work. These chains, however, indicate that complex chain techniques were used to display Fatimid period jewelry.
The silver necklace chain used in my Pyxis piece was an uncredited donation to a silent auction at Haire Affaire in 2011. It is silver wire worked with the Viking wire weaving technique. It sports a modern clasp and two faceted Swarovski-style beads.
Figure 7. Byzantine Gold, Pearl, Emerald and Spinel Cross, Early 7th c. 1 5/8 inches long. Christie’s Sale 444-2375, “Ancient Jewelry”. December 9, 2010: New York, Rockefeller Plaza.