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About

Myrna Lim's "DUCHESS LACE" creations successfully combine both the worlds of LACE by its technique and JEWELRY by the selected material.They are very unique and precious HANDMADE gifts to be passed from one generation to the other.


The designer Myrna Lim

Myrna Lim is a jewelry designer based in Brussels, the Capital and heart of Europe. She first graduated at the University of Leiden as Master of Arts in Japanology, complemented by Marketing and Management studied at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (both cities are in Holland).Following her passion for jewellery, she later on went and obtained her Certificate in Gemmology at the Antwerp Diamond School and learned the arts of jewelry crafting at both the Antwerp and Brussels Jewellery Schools.

One rainy day, as she was strolling down the bustling city streets of Brussels, she popped inside the Museum of Brussels Lace in search of a break from the dreary weather. Walking down the halls laden with the rich history of Belgium’s finest lace, Myrna fell in love...

Belgium, once world famous for its refined lace production had Brussels as its lace centre in the 19th century. Myrna was particularly impressed by the “Duchesse” lace, (created in 1893 to honour the wedding of King Leopold II to Marie-Henriette, Duchess of Brabant.) for its sophisticated detail and richness of patterns. Back in her workshop the patterns of flowers, leaves, animals and Art Nouveau style borders of the "Duchesse" lace became her source of inspiration for making filigree jewellery by hand

 

The creation process of Myrna Lim

Just like in the 19th century when making an important piece of lace, Myrna's work is also distributed amongst several people. Each Duchess Lace jewel assembles the skill and expertise of different people. This combined effort saves up a lot of time and renders a unique and impeccable creation piece.

Although the 19th century Belgian Duchess lace in cotton threads was made by means of bobbins, making Duchess Lace filigree jewellery had to be adapted with the needle and tweezers technique. The result is to have the frame of the creation made out of thick silver wire which is then filled up with twisted finer threads with the help of a needle and tweezers.

1. The WIRE



An extra fine wire of about 1.2 km length is drawn from a 100g bar of high quality 925 Sterling Silver. This exclusively manual process itself already demands several days of work.

At first, the silver bar is hammered to become a very thin plate. Long fine strips are then cut to be pulled through a rolling mill to reduce the thickness of what is now a silver wire. These are flexible and further stretched manually, using a drawing plate to produce an extremely fine thread. Two of these fine threads are then twisted together with the help of a small rotary machine. It is this double wire, delicate but strong, that is used in the embroidery of the Duchess Lace jewellery creations.

Making needle lace with Sterling Silver demands the threads to be kept heated constantly to allow sufficient flexibility. The fine flame of a soldering iron is used to this intent. This creation also requires the use of high quality Sterling Silver. Only at this condition will the extremely fine and delicate threads NEVER break.

 2. From PATTERN to frame

From the initial design on paper, each element is cut out onto an aluminium sheet. The contours of this aluminium shape are then encircled by a thick Sterling Silver thread. After removing the aluminium, the remaining Silver frame is fixed with a soldering iron and then glued on paper. It is now ready to be filled with the delicate double wires. 

 3. FILLING the FRAME

Fine double Sterling Silver threads are inserted into the open spaces inside the frame. This twisting and wounding is done by needles and tweezers according to the traditional Needle Lace technique.

 4. SOLDERING the piece

When the frame of the design is filled up, it is of course essential for them to hold up firmly to each other, for ever. For this, Myrna sprinkles fine silver powder over its surface to be heated with her soldering iron in order to fix the silver wires to each other. Knowing that the melting temperature of Sterling Silver is 1.200°C, it is extremely important to "sense" the right moment to stop the heating. The least excess of soldering can permanently damage the embroidery work by melting down... Days of intense work can be totally lost if this key process fails!

 5. The finishing touch

The jewels have turned brownish red due to the heat and oxidation by the soldering process. They have to be boiled for about 20 minutes in a chemical bath at 800°C. Finally, when the original silver colours have revealed, each item is diligently polished by hand to add an extra bright and shimmering appearance.

The Duchess Lace jewel is now ready to sparkle up your life from here on!