How to Make Brass Bezants

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Medieval bezants

15th century bezants from Sarnen Robe (Switzerland)

Bezant is a Medieval word for a gold coin. Originally dating back to Byzantium coinage, the word later became used as a heraldic item (gold circles on a coat of arms). Bezants later became ornamental decorations sewn onto clothing of the wealthy, kind of like large metal sequins or spangles. They were cut into a wide variety of shapes and sizes and the embossed to give them a three-dimensional look. The more heavily embossed they were, the more they sparkled in the light.

If you’d like to learn more about bezants in history, there’s a great article here.

This is an easy, cheap project that adds beauty and authenticity to higher status costuming. All you need is a roll of 36 guage sheet brass or pewter, scissors, a stick (usually comes with the brass) and an awl or a nail to poke holes. A file (or emery board) is useful for filing off the sharp edges after you punch the holes.

The video shows how to make two different designs on round bezants, but feel free to experiment. Medieval bezants could be elaborately shaped into stags, stars, flowers, all sorts of things. So, have fun with it!

Here’s the video:

{ 1 comment }

Kurt L Sargeant May 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

i enjoyed your presentation alot because i am always looking for new things in my metal work class.

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