Sterling Silver (925/1000) 'Collar of Office' Counterweights -
Commission piece

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As with all commission work, there are three key factors involved. These are:
  • what the commissioner would like to receive;
  • any technical limitations to achieving that; and
  • budget.
Once these factors have been established, the only limit is the combined imaginations of the commissioner and the goldsmith.

This piece gives an idea of the wide range of things which can be commissioned. The commissioner, head of a national voluntary organisation, was touring the organisation's South Island branches. He took a moment from his tour to call in to my shop to see if I could help with a small problem. The head of the organisation wears a large collar on which are displayed the badges of all the branches. These are heavy and the collar has a tendency to slip forward - this looks ungainly and is uncomfortable to wear.

I suggested that we try the approach used by ancient Egyptian Pharaohs to solve a similar problem. The Pharaohs wore massive pectoral (chest) pieces of solid gold inlaid with stone or faience, and they made use of counterweights hanging down the back of the neck to balance the weight. The commissioner liked this idea, and after experimentation with the collar, we decided on two counterweights placed over the shoulder-blades. The shield shape was chosen to reflect the shield pendant at the front, and the shields were given a "brushed satin" finish to complement the other badges. The loops at the top are for sewing the counterweights to the collar.

N.B. Only one shield pictured. Each Sterling Silver (925/1000) shield is 40 x 50 x 1.5mm and weighs nearly 26 gms (total weight 52.42 gms).

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