Cynthia Rutledge - Contemporary Designs of Timeless Elegance
The Key to My Heart
©2009 by Cynthia Rutledge

The hunt for and use of gold has been documented through time, beginning with the Egyptians. Well established trade routes all around the Mediterranean provided a plentiful source of gold by the time the Greeks had mastered their skills at making gold jewelry around 300 BC. These masters of metal styled their designs using Egyptian influences, mythology and historical perspective. The Roman influence can be seen when the Greek masters began to use fine gemstones. Topaz, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Ruby and Garnet stones began to appear set within the gold. The far-reaching Romans even influenced the artistic standard of craftsmanship in what was then known as Roman Britain. The Celtic artisans continued to use a Roman style of jewelry design all the way up to the 4th century. From the 4th-14th centuries, styles shifted with the fashion of the time dictating a more elaborate, richly surface-embellished, gem-encrusted style of jewelry.

The Key to My Heart ©2009 by Cynthia Rutledge
The Key to My Heart Necklace - Locket closed

The history of the jeweled locket is shrouded in mystery and clouded by the passing of time. The earliest known examples of these lockets date to 14th Century England. Known as portrait miniatures, padlocks, picture boxes and lockets, these small hand-held works of art began with the work of a Limner (miniaturist) creating tiny works of art using opaque watercolors on vellum (playing cards) with fine brushes called pencils. The most famous Limner was Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), appointed to the court of Queen Elizabeth I in 1570, he used his skills as a gold smith and Limner to create fabulous gold framed, gem encrusted, miniatures for the Queen’s personal use and for her to give as gifts to reward those that had proved their loyalty to the crown.

The Key To My Heart is very personal. It has an intimacy about it because you can pick it up, hold it close and view in secrecy. The images have fabric in the background, to denote intimacy and familiarity. Nicholas Hilliard used that technique a lot in his work. The viewer felt privileged to be invited into such a private place. The locket opens to reveal two images, Doc Mark & Lady Cynthia Rutledge, circa 1757. Many lockets would have had a key. Mine is symbolic, the key is positioned on the necklace over my heart.

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The Key to My Heart ©2009 by Cynthia RutledgeTechniques:
The locket: Resin coated photographs within brass frames, Peyote Stitch with decreasing and surface embellishment, gemstones & CZ’s set in fine metal settings and crystals are surrounded with beadwork. The locket opens and closes with a gem studded magnetic clasp. (See photo at right of open locket.)

Beaded chain links and a gem set ring connect the locket to the necklace ring. The ring is Peyote Stitch with increasing and is 3-Dimensional.

Lattice Weave necklace straps connect to the necklace ring and closure with gem set stones and crystals.

The Key: Gemstones & CZ’s set in fine metal settings for the base of the key. Peyote Stitch flat and in the round, with decreasing, and Square Stitch forms the body of the key. The key is attached to the necklace with beaded chain links and two gem set rings make the final connection to the necklace strap and the necklace ring.

The Closure: The necklace closes with two gem studded toggles and a connector. Gemstones & CZ’s set in fine metal settings, Peyote Stitch with increasing and decreasing, surface embellishment.

Skill level: Advanced

This is a 4-day workshop.

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