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A Jeweled Tribute to Theda Bara
November 11th, 2009MusingsMegan 6 Comments

Theda Bara was an American, silent film actress. She was the first studio-produced, sex symbol, and it was for her that the term “vamp” was coined.
This photo of her from her portrayal of Cleopatra (I think) has haunted me for years. Like most silent film stars, Theda had an extraordinarily expressive face and I just love the laser-like intensity of her gaze. I mentioned in a previous post that I love snakes in ornamentation. As you can imagine, I’m very taken with the overall shape of the snakes that are forming her bra.

So, I decided to carve my own version in wax and have it cast in sterling silver with ruby eyes. This was one of the most nerve wracking pieces I’ve ever made simply because I wanted so much for it to be “perfect”– whatever that means. It took me over a year to carve. I was convinced I was going to mess up (and I did, a few times), so instead of carving it in one sitting, or over a block of days, I just worked on it when the spirit moved me.
I’m truly delighted with the outcome. I think captures the feeling of the original snakes and comes across as very powerful when worn.
I hope I’ve made Theda proud! If you are interested there is a great website devoted to her:


'6 Responses to “A Jeweled Tribute to Theda Bara”'
  1. Wow, you did an amazing job with that wax carving. Love it!

  2. Megan Steer says:

    Thank you Alicia! I’m a great fan of your work.

  3. Fern says:

    Oh man… intense 🙂 She looks so serious! You are talented.

  4. kerin rose says:

    Megan!…love this, love the photo of Theda…and wow, we ARE sympatico….I have a snake cuff bracelet that I have been chipping away at for a year too!…now I am not feeling so bad about working on it so slowly…nice to know other artists do the same thing…

    great work…are you gonna make the bra too?:)
    ox K

  5. Megan Steer says:

    Fern, thank you very much!

    and Kerin: HA! A friend saw the photo of Theda and said, “How exactly did that thing stay up?”. Knowing that you’re taking a year to carve a snake makes me feel better, too. What is is about snake jewelry that is so daunting?!

  6. kerin rose says:


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