Necklace



This piece was specially commissioned by the V&A. It highlights Charlotte de Syllas’s skill in carving and her interest in natural form.

To develop the design, she used models rather than drawings. These allowed her anticipate how the piece moved on the body. In shaping the raw materials into the finished necklace, she used various complex techniques, including some learnt from gunmakers.

Necklace

 

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Necklace

London, 1989
Designed and made by Charlotte de Syllas (born 1946); silk thread dyed and braided by Catherine Martin (born 1949)
Green nephrite, coral, jadeite, seed pearls and silver
Commissioned by the V&A
V&A: M.4-1990

Charlotte de Syllas at her workbench

 

Here de Syllas is seen polishing white nephrite jade in her studio. She started working as a freelance artist jeweller in 1966 and has since become a master of the art of stone carving. Using materials like the nephrite, jadeite and coral of this necklace, her work reveals subtleties of light, colour and form.

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Charlotte de Syllas at her workbench

2007
Photograph

Image courtesy of Charlotte de Syllas

 

As part of the commission, de Syllas provided this booklet showing the design and making of the necklace. It outlines the many complex stages in the process, from carving the hardstone to her collaboration with Catherine Martin, who dyed and braided the silk thread.

Booklet

 

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Booklet

By Charlotte de Syllas, 1989
Commissioned by the V&A
Made to accompany the necklace V&A: M.4-1990

Touch the booklet to explore.
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Models for hardstone shells

 


These wooden models were an important part of de Syllas’s carving process. They allowed her to calculate how much stone she needed, and helped to position the design to follow the natural grain of the material.

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Models for hardstone shells

London, 1989
Made by Charlotte de Syllas (born 1946)
Wood
Commissioned by the V&A
V&A: M.9C to F-1990

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

 



In this drawing, de Syllas combines sketches and photographs to illustrate her ideas for the shell necklace.

Sketches

 

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Sketches with a photo of model for necklace

London, 1984
By Charlotte de Syllas ((born 1946)
Pencil and photograph on matt textured
photo-sensitised paper
Given by the artist
V&A: E.345-1985

Victoria & Albert Museum, London