When Hernán Cortés and his small army arrived in Mexico in 1519, to their delight they found that gold and silver were abundant. American Indians had a long tradition of metalworking techniques, including filigree, casting, and hammering. Silversmiths from Spain began to immigrate to the Americas shortly after the conquest and introduced European forms and styles. Through time the synthesis of New and Old World styles became integrated, culminating in the lush excesses of colonial Baroque and Rococo metalwork.
The emeralds in this cross have been identified as coming from the famous emerald mines in Colombia, with some of them from the large Muzo mine, known for the exceptional quality and clarity of its stones. In microscopic analysis, the tear-shaped emeralds show evidence that they were originally cut with Pre-Columbian quartz stone tools to form beads. In the colonial period they were reshaped with metal tools to be incorporated into the cross to serve as an ornament at the top of a crown for a statue of a saint or the Virgin Mary. The pearls have been identified as Venezuelan, most likely from the famous Island of the Margaritas off the coast.
I turned the upper part of the beech-folder’s finial today. I think I took this just before I finished sanding it with some 400-grit. I want to handle it a bit to tone it some before I polish it, so it better matches the finger ring that I have lined up for it (repurposed vintage bone sewing ring - they’re just the right size to replicate 1850s swivel finger rings)
The plain part, towards is bottom, is turned to fit into the bottom piece, which I haven’t turned just yet, but I plan on getting on that tomorrow. It’ll have the profile of an overturned saucer.
Aaand we have a finial for the beech-handled carriage parasol.
It’s just temporarily fitted together here, just so you can see an idea of the final result. Still have to polish the two pieces, after some handling to patina them to match the finger ring. Then I have to glue the two parts together, and fit the base to the top of the frame.