Feature Friday: Armour And Castings

Often the details that make a historical outfit truly feel like it has stepped out of a portrait are the accessories. Things like period appropriate jewelry can add that final touch pulls the whole look together, that makes it feel both realistic and lived-in, and this month’s feature is dedicated to making beautiful and affordable historically accurate accessories that will compliment either your historical or modern wardrobe.

Armour And Castings is an American–Ukrainian company that has been making historical accessories for over 20 years—everything from simple buttons to more ornate jewelry like beautifully enameled brooches or delicate rings. They even make crowns and circlets if you want to feel like royalty!

Renaissance button from the portrait of King Henry IV of France.

Maria, wife of co-owner Sergii, offered up a bit more about Armour And Castings’ history. “My husband Sergii and his friend Viktor founded Armour And Castings in 2004 in Kyiv, Ukraine (it will be 20 years jubilee this year!). They were both reenactors and fighters, and they met a lack of the accessories in this niche—the range of goods for historical reenactment was very small. So guys borrowed money, rented a garage, and this is where Armour And Castings started. At the beginning, they made a lot of armor and weapon—swords, crossbows, helmets, gauntlets, etc.—but later decided to focus on cast accessories; one of the reasons was that shipping swords and helmets abroad from Ukraine was quite a tricky thing.”

Necklace from the portrait of Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo by Alessandro Allori, 1571.

And when you look at the offerings on their site, it’s clear just how much work and research has gone into each piece. “Books, museums, paintings—this is where we get inspiration for the new models,” Maria commented. “And at the moment we can proudly say that we have about 1,400 different accessories in our assortment and like 95% of them are made after historical sources.”

Ottonian crown from the Essen Cathedral Treasure, Germany, 10-11th century.

Maria added, “Probably the most challenging item we made so far was a replica of the Ottonian crown we created as a custom order back in 2019. It was big, with a huge amount of stones and pearls, and it took almost year to recreate this early medieval piece of art.”

But with accessories ranging from the 5th century to the 19th century, how do they pick what to create next? They follow their passions. “It's hard to say what period is favorite,” Maria explained. “We love all of them! Probably the most favorite is Renaissance because of the widest variety of fancy jewelry! And our latest obsession is Migration period with all its luxurious gold and garnets, juicy colors and bold designs, even looking on them brings us joy!”

10th century Anglo-Saxon ring with enamel.

However, their true mission is to get these accessories into the hands of reenactors and costumers worldwide. “It is always sad to see a beautiful historical costume, well sewn and period accurate—and… accessories [only] slightly similar to historical models. We often see this in historical movies, at Renaissance fairs, or even reenactment festivals—and it's a real pain! This drives us to work harder, to spread the information that historical accessories exist,” Maria explained.

Burgundian brooch-pendant, made after 15th century paintings.

But she also is happy that this trend seems waning. “On the other hand, there are more and more people in historical sewing and reenactment who understand that the devil is in details, we can see more and more dresses where even small hooks and buttons are historically accurate—and this is so cool!” Maria added.

Medieval brooch with enamel. England, Germany, France 14th century.

You can find all of Armour And Castings’ offerings on their website, www.armourandcastings.com, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@armourandcastings) to see all their latest designs. They ship worldwide, and while their manufacturing is in Kyiv, their sales office and warehouse is located the United States, and most in-stock items ship quickly.

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