in history had such an impact on fashion as Georgiana, the Duchess
of Devonshire (1757-1806). Georgiana was born to the Spencer's,
one of the wealthiest families in England, both then, and now.
At the age of sixteen, she was successfully married off to William
Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire. For both families, this
was a huge venture financially, but a very poor love match.
As a socialite and active political
campaigner (in a time when women's suffrage was still a century
away), Georgiana used her power and great beauty to her advantage.
She was famous for her quick wit and charm, entertaining many
a guest with her political views and her musical talents. She
later mentioned to her daughter, that her success in using her
beauty to her advantage, had to do with her fine-tuned ability
at being gracious and approachable.
Well known as a fashion innovator,
Georgiana delighted in the use of extravagance, using her creativity
as a "sixth sense" for fashion. Jewelry of the time,
for the wealthy, was usually made in sets, also known as "suites"
or "parures". A fashionable style of jewelry in the
late 1700's was called Cannetille (ka-n-ti-i). This style of
metalwork used a lacy, open filigree that consisted of tightly
woven, twisted gold wires. These gold wires formed mesh, swirls,
spirals and flourishes to embellish and bezel fine stones for
jewelry. The style was very labor intensive but beautiful.
Georgiana's Suite is inspired
by the Cannetille style of jewelry. The Suite consists of a necklace
made of a beaded mesh, created in Lattice Weave (which is a variation
on Netting and Right-Angle Weave), embellished with flourishes
created with Peyote stitch, Netting and embellishing techniques.
The ends of the mesh are softly looped over one another to close
the necklace. Use the lovely dangling components again, by making
a pair of earrings to complete the suite. I think you will agree
that Georgiana's Suite would catch the eye of any Duchess!
Skill level: This is an intermediate workshop. Students
should be familiar with Peyote Stitch and Netting.