This massive display strap holds 65 petal bells collected by the owner's family. The bells range from a #11 bell at the top (2 3/8" across) to a rare #000 bell, a mere 3/4" across, at the bottom. The four largest bells are in a single column, and almost all of the smaller bells below are arranged in two columns. The tiny #000 bell is set by itself at the bottom tip of the strap.
Most of the bells date to the late 1800s or early 1900s. The top #11 bell is a mid-1900s vintage bell. The #000 bell and the smaller of the two bells immediately above date to the early 1800s. All of the bells were used in as-is condition, since they had an attractive lightly oxidized, clean appearance.
The bells were originally on a vintage strap that had been made some decades ago to showcase this bell collection. The old strap was cracked and broken in several places, so the owner asked me to make a new strap. (Click on "See more images." The right-hand strap in the first photo is the original strap.)
Using the old strap as inspiration, I created a new pattern. I spaced the bells closer together so the piece could be a bit shorter and easier to display. I also increased the width of the strap for better appearance and reinforced the top so it would be less likely to curl or stretch from the weight as the years go by.
The hanging ring at the top is a vintage brass "rein terret" from a horse's harness that came on the original strap. I was able to use it on the new strap with some modifications. The decorative cord tied around the terret ring did not seem to have a purpose. My first impulse was to discard it, but I instead left the cord in place as a memento of the past.
This piece was made from medium brown leather. It is about 69" long from the top of the ring to the bottom tip and is 3" wide.
This particular item is a custom, one-of-a-kind project made for a past client. Items in this Custom Projects section are for information only; they are not available for regular sale.