Greta Garbo's Pendant | Film Classic "Queen Christina"

 
 

How do you design a pendant from a classic film?

Greta Garbo as Queen Christina

Greta Garbo and her ladies. One can clearly see that her lady in waiting is mistakingly adding the pendant on backwards.

 

It’s not easy!

Especially since there were no drawings or details for the regarding the original design. One of the most challenging re-creative jewelry projects we ever worked on was the pendant for Greta Garbo in the movie “Queen Christina.

As you can see from the image above - at times it was difficult to see the actual pendant. Catching glimpses of the pendant as the Queen's handmaid helped her get dress in her gown was what we had to start our project with.

We could see some shadows and flashes of light, but nothing we could really understand enough to create a drawing. We reviewed a few existing black & white images from the studio's archives, screen shots and carefully watch the movie over and over again, hoping to get a better idea of the design.

Greta Garbo getting dress and chatting with her handmaiden

We decided that it was most likely a quatrefoil pendant (popular design at the time)  16th-17th century jewelry styles showed this form very often.  In our opinion and keeping with the movie industry at the time  the pendant was most likely created for the film. Our re-created piece would reflect the historical time period and match the movie pendant as close as possible. And we wanted to be authentic as possible.

 

Working with the Costume

After watching the film, I was given the opportunity to see this gorgeous gown in person. It was necessary for me to make the trip to the The Collection of Motion Picture Costume Design studio in LA. The beadwork on this gown was spectacular. One could only image the costume designer, Adrian and his band of "beaders" working for hours and hours to complete this work of art.

Larry McQueen, the costume collector had the gown restored, it is beautiful to say the least. He shared with me a fact that Greta Garbo was not fond of the gown, due to its weight, together the beadwork and velvet weighed 65 pounds.

Since we were able to see the gown in person, we could use the beading as a “ruler” so to speak. BY measuring the collar we could determine the size of the pendant. It was the only way to develop the design since there were no records.

Here is a close-up of hem from Greta Garbo's costume. The gown weighed 65 pounds. This gown is a true testament to what a costume designer’s team can create.

Greta Garbo gown on display while the Queen of Sweden visits the exhibit.

Greta Garbo gown on display while the Queen of Sweden visits the exhibit.

 

The following links will take you to the articles explaining in detail the Garbo project as it unfolded:

Research and Design

Carving the Wax Models

Fabrication Techniques