Who doesn’t love jewelry? The one who has never seen them! During the Middle Ages, they probably thought the same. There is a need for jewelry of this period even now, and there is also a workshop that has been making jewelry and belts since 2004. Their products have been featured in movies and TV series and are sold by HMB athletes and reenactors around the world.
For quality, assortment and customer service, Armour And Castings, located in Ukraine, was nominated for the HMBIA quality mark in our The Artisans and Craftsmen People’s Choice Award competition.
If you are not yet familiar with the products of the workshop and its owner and crafter, we hasten to introduce you to Viktor Hrytchenko.
“We have been involved in historical reenactment and HMB in the past, so we know the needs of the reenactors from the inside. Of course, the item should be of high quality and retains its appearance and functionality in the imperfect conditions of festivals. The historical accuracy of the product is no less important, because at many events the admission to the suit is very strict”, says Viktor.
The main directions of the workshop are the creation of historical jewelry and belts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
“Belts are perhaps the most common accessory in any era. Therefore, for them, in addition to quality and historical accuracy, a large assortment is important. Unlike, for example, brooches, even not so wealthy people could afford belts. At the same time, a richly decorated belt could emphasize the high status of its owner. Based on these considerations, we try to pay attention to the development of a variety of options – simple belts and waist kits, belts for the middle class and stylish expensive belts”.
As far as chains are concerned, this is certainly a sign of high status. The workshop admits that many of their chains are gilded. The chains are decorated with natural pearls and stones such as synthetic ruby or spinel. However, there is jewelry of different price ranges here.
“Beyond beauty, wearability is important for chains! For example, the originals of some chains are up to one and a half meters in length. Of course, such a chain will be difficult to wear, so we offer a more convenient shortened version. Although, if the customer wishes, we can make a chain of any length”.
The main material from which the products are made is brass. The craftsmen buy it from local suppliers, as well as jewelry inserts, pearls and enamels. Also, some materials are ordered from Europe. According to Viktor, they are seriously engaged in the historical component of their work – they study a lot of books, museum exhibits, paintings and medieval miniatures.
Also, customers help to understand what is more in demand in the reenactment environment. Very often clients ask to choose an accessory from a certain era or even for a certain costume. The Armor And Castings team always tries to advise something from their range taking into account historical sources, to choose exactly what will ideally complement the client’s costume and will delight him for many years.
“We love our work, and especially we love extraordinary products that take time to develop, and are very laborious in themselves. But, as a rule, the result is worth it. Recent examples include a replica of the Child’s Crown of Otto III, the 10th century from Essen, a set of jewelry from a portrait of Elizabeth of Austria, or a replica of the chain of the Order of the Holy Spirit. The work on them took 10-11 months, but we, and most importantly, the customers, were satisfied with the result. The Essen crown was produced in our production under the code name “super-crown”. Of course, we are proud of it, as indeed, of any product of our workshop ”.
For so many years of work, the craftsmen have made thousands of beautiful and interesting products, however, there are still ambitious ideas. For example, the Love Brooch brooch from the Hofburg Treasury (Vienna) or wide Burgundy sashes and Renaissance pendants with baroque pearls. But, for now, these are only ideas and plans, and in the meantime, there are also enough challenges in the daily operations of the workshop.
“A regular customer asked me to decorate his helmet with the bear figure. With one condition – the helmet must not be damaged. After some discussion, it was decided to implant a pair of neodymium magnets into the bear. Never heard of anyone doing that. Another spectacular example: for the filming of a series, we were ordered at once 10 pairs of Viking Age tortoiseshell brooches. We fulfilled the order, but could not deny ourselves to try on all these brooches at once before sending the order. The effect among our subscribers was overwhelming! ”
It really looks incredible. Like the rest of the workshop. We wish the Armour And Castings craftsmen the fulfillment of all conceived projects and prosperity. And we also thank you, our readers, for your activity and for the opportunity to meet ourselves and to introduce others to incredibly talented artists from different countries.
In the meantime, we are preparing a new article for you about other nominees of the Artisans and Craftsmen People’s Choice Award competition, and we invite you to remember those wonderful crafters who we have already talked about earlier:
Henrikas Viteika workshop from the UK
Workshop of Anna Muzalevskaya from Russia
Historicum workshop from Poland
Past Time Pedlar workshop from the UK
Ivan Lukic, craftsman from Serbia
Patterson Shieldcraft from the UK
Racaire’s Workshop from the USA
Knight Art Workshop from France
Rogday’s Craft” Yar-Tur workshop from Ukraine
Výroba štítů Workshop from Czech Republic.
Evil Russians workshop from New Zealand
Bogdan Mihaylov Worksop from Ukraine
Средњовековни Занати workshop from Serbia
MedievalUA workshop from Ukraine
Escudos Combate Medieval workshop from Spain