Greta Garbo's Jewelry from the film Queen Christina

How do you recreate a lost pendant from a classic film?

 
Greta Garbo in the film classic - Queen Christina

Greta Garbo in the film classic - Queen Christina

What we wanted to do was recreate the pendant as closely as possible to the original using fine jewelry making techniques rather than assembling pre-made found jewelry components

 

Fabricated and cast pendant - made of bronze with rhodium plating, garnets and Swarovski crystals - strung on cable with hematite beads.

Larry McQueen, the owner of the restored costume speculated that the original pendant was most likely created by the costume department and assembled from found metal pieces. We decided to work with that premise and design what we thought they had made with the available resources from the studio at that time period.

When you are starting a project like this - it is helpful to be the type of artist that can see the details from a shadow or know what type of jewelry was made during a specific time period. It is good to know how it was made to make it again. We decided to use traditional lost wax methods to recreate the components found in the pendant.

To learn about the our research, design process and how’s it is made, select the links below for more details:

The Garbo Project

Research and Design

Carving the Wax Models

How it’s Made


All About the Costume

Larry McQueen

Larry McQueen stated - "This gown, however beautiful, was a production nightmare.  Garbo complained that the gown gave her a headache because of its weight (approx. 60 lbs.) and heat.  The light that was reflected from the embroidery caused problems with the lighting and the sound of the gown dragging across the floor made it impossible for anyone to speak while Garbo walked.  The studio, no doubt complained because of the cost.  But it was for Garbo. "

Detail image of the elaborately gemmed hem of the gown. The gown weighed around 6o pounds. Photo by Larry McQueen

Detail image of the elaborately gemmed hem of the gown. The gown weighed around 6o pounds. Photo by Larry McQueen

"The gown is an elaborate two-piece period gown of beige velvet consisting of a fitted bodice with Eugene neckline and full-sleeves trimmed with crocheted cuffs and a matching skirt with a slight train.  The garment is lavishly embroidered with a geometric tile motif of paste diamonds, emeralds, gold bullion and various other stones at collar, down the bodice front, sleeves, down front of skirt and around skirt hem and weighs in excess of 60 pounds. Before purchase, the gown was restored for an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute and the original silk pane velvet was replaced by a cotton velvet."

Photo by Larry McQueen - The Collection of Motion Picture Costume Design

The re-creation of the necklace for the costume was somewhat difficult.  Very little detail is shown in photos or film footage. 

The look for the necklace was to blend into the beadwork on the collar and not stand out or demand too much attention.  Since the film was in black and white and therefore the is no record of the color for the original gown or beadwork, it had to be decided what color the necklace should be.  We decided to pick a plating that would best blend with the beaded ornamentation of the dress. It was obviously based on some historical piece in the time period, but it was also a studio constructed piece of jewelry which did not always follow the construction style of period pieces.  The necklace was constructed with both in mind."

For costume information: