The model for my replica is a Hungarian
metal-detector find with no provenance. It is 4.8cm in diameter and
1.2mm thick. The pin is missing. It has been chiseled out of sheet
copper-alloy, and decorated with punchwork.
Similar star-shaped brooches have been
published in Helig and Profaan 1 and 2, with dates from 1325 to
1450. There is a very high-end version in Verona (see Lightbown),
dated 1325-1350. The closest match is in the Haedeke collection , which
the author dates to the 13th century. It has similar punchwork
and terminals, and is similar to the brooch on a statue of Synagogue in
Careful observation revealed flanges on some of the
edges of the brooch, a product of chisel cutting without complete
finish filing. I measured the edges, and determined that two chisel
sizes had been used. I did some test cutting, and learned that a
soft backing was needed. I used lead sheet.
I traced the original, and transferred the design to
brass sheet of a similar thickness to my model. Taking a stout hammer,
I spent some time cutting. It took me less than 45 minutes for this, my
first attempt. I'm sure that I would get faster with practice.
After removing the star from the sheet brass, I
hammered it flat and did a quick clean-up with files. I then applied
the decoration, punching circles over the body of the brooch with a
nail-set, as per Theopilus' directions:
"A tool is also shaped in the same way but is
slender at the end. A hole is impressed in the end by another more
slender tool and it is filed all around , so that a very delicate
circle appears when it is stuck on gold or silver or gilded copper. "
I used one of the chisels to cut lines in the star
tips. Finally, I polished the brooch with modern tools, drilled a hole,
and added a sharpened brass wire pin.