Into The Unknown

The bespoke necklace that we made for the film Tomb Raider was worn by the character of Lara Croft played by Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. Vikander plays the daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, Croft embarks on a  journey to his last-known destination  - a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.

The Brief

The brief from the film's costume designer, Colleen Atwood, was very specific. We made an exact replica of the jade necklace that Lara Croft wears in all the games.

A jewellers hands are polishing the Jade necklace from Tomb Raider. This is shown being made in the stephen einhorn workshop.

The Devil Is In The Detail

The challenge here was not the design, but of how to make a specifically coloured carved jade necklace in an incredibly short time. Not only is it very difficult to source real and a suitably large coloured piece of jade, but then there is the business of carving it in less than two weeks - oh and making four identical pieces. The costume designer wanted the jade to be a very specific colour with interesting detail.

Three views of the finished Jade necklace for Tomb Raider. Hand made in the stephen einhorn workshop

So that’s when I had to use my model making skills...

Because of the time scale we actually had to replicate some jade like material, and then carve it. There was no other way to create what Coleen wanted in time. The first pendants were sent for screen testing and it was found that they needed more weight in order for them to work well in the scenes being filmed. The character of Lara Croft is very physical, she jumps around all over the place doing crazy stunts. The necklace we made was too light and kept moving. In order to solve this, I made the next two carved pendants in two halves that were hollowed out to make a cavity that I filled with a high-density metal. This was then invisibly sealed inside the pendant to make the finished item heavier. These heavier pendants were very successful.

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