Coronets, Chaplets & Circlets
crowns during the early medieval period were breathtaking affairs
of gold and jewels. Crowns and coronets weren't particularly restricted
to royalty at this time, with noble ladies wearing coronets or
mini-crowns as part of their formal dress. They were sometimes
set with jewels but were not as ornate as those used for coronations
or of the royal household.
The crown shown at right, is a detail from the sculpture Madonna,
dated at 1420 and shows the type of crown worn by royalty and
often depicted worn by the Virgin Mary in artwork of the medieval
In the detail at left, is a coronet of a simple design and appears
to be set at regular intervals with only a few gemstones. It is
dated at 1370-1372 and comes from de Liege Jeanne d'Evreux
and Charles IV. This is more the kind of crown or coronet
that a noble woman might wear. It was forged in one piece.
The detail of a bust at right shows a circlet, also a one-piece,
being worn with a braided hairstyle. It has holes drilled where
gemstones probably once were. It is of Marie de France and dated
at 1327 to 1341.
chaplets or coronets
The circlet or coronet returned to fashion among ladies of the
nobility and upper classes about 1360. Those most favoured were
of a slightly different style to the solid band previously worn.
The new coronets were designed like miniature versions of the
hinged hip belt, composed of many smaller plaques arranged together
to fit the head.
Precious and semi-precious stones and enamel were widely used.
Goldsmiths in France, Northern Spain and Northern Italy were considered
the best jewellers, though Limoges was particularly renown for
the quality of the workmanship produced.
Chaplets were often fresh
flowers, but in some records, they are described as being flowers
of jeweller's works wrought of silver or gold.
© Rosalie Gilbert
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