I often use my Jewel of the Month posts to introduce new designs, but sometimes I like to feature my classic jewelry. Right now, my Empress Matilda sword designs are on my mind.
I’ve discontinued plenty of designs over the years, but the Matilda necklace and earrings have stayed in my collection since I introduced them in 2008. That was more than a year before my first Jewel of the Month post, so they never got an “official” post.
Why am I thinking of these designs at this particular moment? Because gorgeous blogger Becky Stone of Diamonds in the Library visited me at the JCK LUXURY jewelry show in Las Vegas and decided to take a fun Boomerang mini video for Instagram. You know how some people use the term “jewelry porn” when sharing photos of luxe jewelry? This turned out a lot porn-ier than we expected.
It reminds me of the time on Family Guy when Peter got a big red car.
In real life, Matilda was a dignified 12th-century lady. She was also the rightful heir to England’s throne, but it was stolen from her by her cousin Stephen, his sole superior qualification being that he was a man. He turned out to be a nice guy in some ways — except for the whole usurpation thing — but he was a weak-ass king.
There was a fictionalized example of one of Stephen’s kingly mistakes in a recent Game of Thrones episode, in which the Freys threatened to hang Edmure Tully in order to induce his uncle, known as the Blackfish, to give up the Riverrun castle. The Blackfish called the Freys’ bluff and was basically like, “You do you, boo. I don’t care.” The Freys were like, “Okay, maybe we don’t feel like hanging Edmure right now” and skulked away. (Um, not exact quotes, obviously.) The great thing is that the actual, 12th-century event was much more colorful. In that case, Stephen was holding the young son of Matilda’s super-tough ally John Marshal. When Stephen threatened to hang the kid unless Marshal gave up the castle he was holding, Marshal famously gave him the go-ahead, saying (and this is a real quote), “I still have the hammer and the anvil with which to forge still more and better sons.” Stephen couldn’t bear to hang the kid and while that makes him seem like a sweet, sensitive dude, mercy wasn’t the way for a king to earn respect in the 1100s. By the way, the child grew up to be William Marshal, a renowned knight … who might have had some lifelong daddy issues, but that’s just speculation.
Anyway, Matilda proved she had bigger balls than Stephen by waging war against him for 19 years. She kinda lost in the short term — not that 19 years is a short term — but won in the long term, as I explained in my three 2008 posts about her. Read them here:
Matilda is one of my favorite royal ladies, right up there with Empress Wu and Elizabeth I, so I wanted her 18K gold jewelry design to be worthy of her. Obviously, with the necklace, there’s the sword pulling out of the scabbard, which is pretty fancy. I also made sure every centimeter of the sword was elaborately engraved. The gems for the necklace are set on both sides, so there’s no front or back. There are two rose-cut diamonds and four sapphires in total. The matching earrings are just like the sword without the scabbard. (That would have made the earrings too heavy.) There are still two rose-cut diamonds and four sapphires, but they’re spread out over the two earrings.
I”m more pleased than ever with this design thanks to one of Becky Stone’s commenters on the porny Instagram post, who pointed out that the word “vagina” is from the Latin “vāgīnae,” which literally means “sheath” or “scabbard.” There’s something very satisfactory about that.
I have one Matilda necklace and one pair of earrings available for immediate delivery. After those are sold, the designs will be made to order, so if you’d like to wear either or both this summer, order now via the links below.
As always, if you have questions about these or any other jewelry designs, holla at me at info at wendybrandes dot com.