I made this shrine for Richard Armitage fan JHolland, who presented me not long ago with a stunning Voynich-themed quilt. This is the magic of fandom, my friends! And in this very special case, the magic works even though our Objects of Interest are different.
How to reciprocate, when my crafting skills are limited to jewelry? I have always loved talismanic jewelry, devotional folk art, and miniatures, so when I learned about floating lockets, I finally had my answer.
If you’re not familiar with floating lockets, they are glass and metal lockets of varying sizes (usually 20-30 millimeters in diameter), which contain tiny interchangeable charms. The locket is secured either by twisting the top and bottom parts together, or more commonly, with a hinge and two magnets. It is surprisingly difficult to find these lockets in precious metals such as gold or sterling silver. I think there are two reasons for this. First, sterling and gold are not strong enough to withstand the constant opening and closing of the locket, and second, they are so large and weighty that the price point would keep them out of reach for most people.
Instead, many of these lockets are almost ridiculously inexpensive, but it is best to stick with stainless steel. Some of the really cheap ones are alloys with nickel, which can irritate the skin. Since JHolland is a veterinarian, I thought she would be able to appreciate a piece of jewelry made of good, honest stainless steel. (Okay, so maybe it isn’t surgical grade…) It does not tarnish, as silver does. And after handling it a while, I became quite taken with the nice substantial feel of the locket and its smooth finish.
Most of the floating locket business is devoted to selling pre-made charms that “float” inside the locket. But it’s much more fun to make your own charms and use found objects.
For the idea of a locket shrine, I was of course inspired by Guylty’s wonderful shrines fashioned from mint tins, including miniature tins. Looking for jewelry-based ideas, I did not find as many fandom lockets online as I expected. There are some Harry Potter lockets, a Doctor Who locket, and a few others, including a pleasing “Sherlocket.”
One great way to personalize the lockets is photo charms, and there are several companies which sell supplies for this. The one I used is Photo Jewelry. They provide the all-important (but inexpensive) software necessary to shrink down your pictures to the minuscule size required for the charms.
The Richard Armitage locket is designed to be worn a number of different ways, according to the owner’s fancy. The full set includes four photo charms, three “treasures,” two locket plates, and a micro-miniature copy of The Hobbit.
In “Thorin mode” the shrine is worn with the book open to show Thorin’s photo. The three “treasures” represent Smaug’s hoard and include:
- Arkenstone. This is a crystal faceted bead. The locket cannot accommodate a spherical bead, so it is a flattened shape.
- Filigree gold piece. (This is actually a piece from a gold-plated necklace clasp).
- Real peridot gemstone. This is a faceted, pear-shaped bead. I chose it because it is Richard’s birthstone.
You can buy various types of plates to fit inside the lockets. These are useful if you don’t want your clothing color to show through, or if you want larger images. For “Crucible mode,” I used a pre-made plate from Photo Jewelry and added a cropped photo from Richard’s Crucible poster. The disadvantage of this type of plate is that it fills up the locket, so you can’t add any charms.
You can also buy engraved metal plates which are designed to be used with charms, but I made my own using two layers of photo paper. It’s rigid enough to insert and remove from the locket if handled carefully. The front of the plate is a screenshot of the word cloud from JHolland’s blog (prominently featuring the name Richard Armitage, of course). I used the same design to finish the back of the Crucible plate.
The other side of the word cloud plate features a lovely stage door photo of JHolland with Richard Armitage. It is designed so that when she wears it, the SD photo faces in, toward the heart. On bad days, she can pick it up and have a quick peek at it, for encouragement!
Now, a word about the photo charms. If you want to try making your own, be advised that they are tricky. Even though the “family photo” charms in the picture above look great, it is very difficult to find pictures that work at a scale of 8.5mm. If there’s a lot of detail, you simply can’t see what they are except with a magnifying glass. The square photo charms are better because they give you more options and have a larger total space. But… they take up more space inside the locket. If you want to wear three photo charms at once, it has to be one square and two round, or three round charms.
The photo charms include (counterclockwise from right):
- Square charm with cropped, “iconic” image of Richard. This was inspired by a recent post in which J. “posterized” a photo of him, with a little help from Guylty.
- Eye charm. This is a favorite of mine for “talismanic” effect. Eye miniatures were popular in Victorian times, and I have written about them here and here. I had to test a great number of Richardian eyes before I found just the right one!
- The frontal photo of Richard is one I found online (sorry, I am unable to credit the photographers on these) and used because it worked well with the tiny charm format. I also thought it was a really stunning picture of him.
- The dark Crucible charm is probably the least successful one, but the clear plastic dome on the charm distorts it a little. I wanted a darker color to balance the three pink/skin toned charms.
I hope that J. enjoys wearing this locket as much as I enjoyed designing it. And in case you’re wondering where the Ciarán Hinds locket is, believe me, I’m planning it as you read this…
This is just absolutely stunning, Linnet. What a lovely piece of personalised jewellery – containing the recipient and her admired crush. Completely unique and also so versatile. I love this, and it really has a shrine quality of its own, which I quite approve of 😉
And then there is the subtext – of the locket as a personal gift from one friend to another, in recognition of the gift given to you. There is not only Richard in this locket (and J herself), but also you, and that is what makes it so special, so valuable, even priceless!
BTW – have you made one of those for yourself, too? Obviously not with RA in it, but with CH? Pictures??? 😀
(Also, thanks for the instructions – it sounds like a doable project, and I am just thinking to myself that I should give it a try. I am not great with necklaces, but maybe this would work on a keychain?)
(Oh, and thanks for the mentions, too xx)
Thanks Guylty! That’s true, in personalizing it for J., I ended up putting some of myself in there, just as there’s a lot of J. in the quilts she makes.
This was the very first locket shrine I made, so as of yet there is no CH shrine. Richard was my guinea pig, LOL. In fact, I am sitting here admiring one of the orphaned, less-than-perfect posterized Richard charms which now adorn my desk. I have the supplies for another locket, and I’m having fun with ideas for it (a Caesar shrine, for the deified Julius!!). The best part is that these lockets are not terribly expensive, so I hope to see other fans coming up with their own ideas. And yes, they are sturdy enough to work as key rings. At first I was not crazy about the stainless steel, but I really like it now.
Well, I am going to look into those lockets now. Fabulous idea. And I hope we get to see your CH locket, soon!
This is terrific Linnet…I made one of these (RA character Lucas North themed) to raffle off, and it was great fun finding little associated bits to fill it.
It’s lovely to witness fan creativity at work, and even more so when it’s the product of generosity between us 🙂
Fantastic, Obscura, can you point me to the photos of it? I’m collecting images of fan-themed lockets. I agree, finding the little bits is where the fun (and creativity) come in.
Gorgeous! I love all the dangly treasures you added.
It was my first locket outing…and not without incident as somehow I cracked the glass on the original and had to “re-load” with a replacement 🙂
Have you made more since then? Good to know that while they are sturdy, they are not unbreakable! Also, I have been told that if you have valuable items inside, it’s best to use the screw top kind, as they are more secure.
and here it is , being worn close to the heart 🙂 sorry i have to boast, it is sooo lovely 🙂 https://operaismagic.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/magical-talisman/
Looks great! I like that length on you.
me too unfortunately only works with a deep decolte and in the weather here that doesn’t happen very often 😉 I am looking for a long chain now so that i can wear it over jumpers 🙂
Well, Spring is coming. We had our first crocus today 🙂
really? wow.. envious!!! though Kew gardens apparently does have daffodils… wonder how as it was 1C this morning! The weekend was so cooold… I can’t wait for spring 🙂
Did not get to see Kew when we were there. It’s high on my list!
How did I forget that? Lovely work, Obscura!
and gorgeous it is!!! very often worn even to work with himself on my heart 🙂
Ah, so you are the proud owner!!
yes i love wearing it to work some days and knowing it is there but nobody knows what it is LOL
Yes, these lockets can be worn discreetly, with the best part facing in 🙂
Wow, these lockets are so beautiful! I’m all heart-eyes from looking at them ^^
Many thanks, Aquilea!
It’s a wonderful piece Linnet. Delicate, yet it emits strength and beauty. Your “The Little Shop of Wonders” I envision you opening shall have several of these, perhaps custom made to request. That you are a “completist” is a definite strength with such creations. Even with the inspiration of this piece and your excellent directions, I would never attempt something so intricate. Your CH locket will be fun to see.
Thanks Ellen! I like what you said about strength and beauty. That is very fitting for a shrine dedicated to a Beautiful Man. I wish I could spend all my time making these. But not quitting my day job just yet 🙂
I am so touched and thrilled and wowed! I absolutely adore the locket shrine, Linnet. It was a huge boost to receive such a lovely surprise yesterday, and a much needed one, at that! You know, reading this account, I was struck by the amusing parallel that in creating our gifts for one another, we each went to some lengths to select images, decide which images were the most worthy, then digitally manipulate them to specific sizes- my project involved blowing up images and arranging them on a 42″ by 36″ fabric panel, while yours involved carefully shrinking them to work on a minuscule 8.5mm scale! (Which is FAR more daunting, in my opinion!!) You chose a wonderful selection of images… I confess my favorite is that eye talisman… I’d recognize it anywhere, and it’s really striking! I really had a giggle when the posterized “iconic man” edit appeared, immortalized now, in a photo charm!
I love the way it looks and feels. As you said, it is smooth and shiny, and I DO appreciate the wonder that is stainless steel, while I don’t have ANY patience whatsoever for polishing tarnished silver. LOL. The locket does have a substantial feel, both when handling it to try out the different combinations, and when wearing it! It’s not the least bit “flimsy” and it’s not all that easy to open up (I was wishing for longer fingernails!) so I agree, it could probably work on a key chain, assuming that the keychain was handled somewhat carefully (i.e. no tossing the keys across the room to someone or dropping them with a careless plunk!) It feels really nice against the skin, though, so I’m going to wear it!
And then we have all the amazing little options for the inside! I love the selection of charms, though I’m still baffled about how you did those photo charms. The little Hobbit book is incredibly charming and it stirred in me a memory that I’d long forgotten… Mom and I used to put together little miniature collections in frames… we would arrange each section to look like a different kind of room, almost like a cross section of a doll house. I was very little at the time and don’t know what happened to those, but remember absolutely loving when we would pick out the miniature items and spend time together designing our rooms! The little filigree gold piece (clever idea!), the “Arkenstone” and the use of a peridot RA-birthstone… so much thought went into this piece! I’m honored to have the “prototype” Linnet Moss Locket Shrine. It’s beautiful. Thank you again, Linnet. (((Hugs)))
I’m so glad you like it, J. I love your story of the miniatures that you made with your mother. I am a lifelong miniature lover, and one of my passions is miniature books, so when I found the tiny “Hobbit,” I was quite thrilled. Back when you were little (and certainly when I was little), they did not have books quite this detailed, at least not for the average collector. For our dollhouses, we mostly had to make due with little blocks of wood painted to look like books. Another of my passions is beads, so the “treasures” of Smaug’s hoard were convenient to hand, LOL. There is actually quite a bit of “me” in the locket, as Guylty observed, just as there is a lot of “you” in the quilt.
As to the photo charms, I am hoping that Guylty takes them on, masters them, and gives ME advice! She’s got the technical know-how when it comes to all things photographic. This effort was accomplished by trial and error. My favorite charm is definitely the eye. It has that quirked eyebrow and it’s recognizably Armitage!
Actually, those little photo charms would look a treat in a shrine, too, so I have to find where I can get them. As for reducing the size of the picture – I am sure you did that the same way I would’ve, simply by adjusting the size in your editing program? As with any photograph – the higher the resolution in the first place, the clearer the smaller version.
No, I used a piece of software the jewelry company sent me. Maybe it isn’t necessary if one has certain functions on one’s editing program, but I found it easier. It has a feature that automatically positions the tiny photos on a page and converts them to a pdf to print.
I got my charms here. They come in packets of 10 or 100: http://www.photojewelrymaking.com/floatingphotocharmsforlockets.aspx
They also sell the little double sided stickers you use to affix the photos to the charms, and the plastic bits that seal in the photo and give it a finished look.
Sylvie G said:
It’s a wonderful gift Linnet and you put so much work in it. You must like your friend very much 🙂
Indeed I do! 🙂
this is awesome!!! So delicate and intricate and so thoughtful! i love all the little details and the fact that you can change them around and i appreciate how difficult it must have been to get those photos down to size! Photo-manipulation is an art! 🙂
Such a lovely thing and i am sure she’ll looove it 🙂 By the way the eye is my favourite too LOL so his 🙂
can’t stop looking at the photos of the tiny things 🙂
and i can confirm it is lovely to wear, i like the fact that they are substantial enough that one can feel it being worn, you don’t forget it is there 🙂 and you can turn it and look at it and smile and people ask about it and so on 🙂 ❤
Thank you 🙂 The weight of it reminds me a little of a pendant I have, with an Irish coin of Cúchulainn. The metal warms up against the skin, and just as you say, you’re aware of it throughout the day. And the size of it catches people’s eye.
oh i’d love to see that when you get a chance to take a pic!!! i’ve heard aaaaaall the stories about Cuchulainn 😉
Heheh. He is truly an *epic* hero 🙂
oh, it’s soo beautiful!! thanks for linking to the post 🙂 our guide entertained us with all his womenising stories when we went round the Isle of Skye last summer 😉
Love the necklace! I especially like coin jewelry 🙂
LOL! I guess he thinks Skye is the magical island where C. got his warrior training, from a woman no less. And that’s not all he learned 🙂
Oh wow, what a wonderful, unique idea and so very beautifully executed!! Lovely lovely lovely!
Thank you Esther!
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
What a very beautiful and unique wee giftie. Nice work LM.
Thanks Lisa! It was a fun project.
What a wonderful idea ❤ Well done linnetmoss!!!
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What a gorgeous and thoughtful gift, Linnet! You did an outstanding job. I’m sure she will love, love, love it!
Thank you so much!
Genealogy Jen said:
Thank you so much! I enjoyed making it.