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Posts Tagged Victorian

Diamond Heart Pendant, Circa 1895

by on February 14th, 2013


At the end of the 19th century, platinum was for the first time being used to set diamonds, though still with the historically used gold backing.

Seen from behind, the pendant’s setting is almost entirely pierced and filed away. It creates the appearance of a honeycomb in gold and platinum whose engineering would make Buckminister Fuller proud. Perfect strength with a minimum of material, though a maximum of labor.

After the sawing and filing, cotton string and pith wood charged with fine abrasive powders and carried by beeswax were “thrummed” to mirror polish the cutaways. The process creates the perfect seats for each small diamond.

From the back just as much as the front, this is perfection seldom seen.

An Antique Sapphire and Diamond Flower Spray Pin

by on July 1st, 2010

Victorian Sapphire & Diamond Flower Brooch

Victorian Sapphire & Diamond Flower Spray Pin, $28,000

The Victorian era is often described as being rich, opulent and grandiose, particularly in the fine and decorative arts; however, in between lofty tiaras and dripping necklaces, many pieces of jewelry display grace, elegance and a timeless appearance. Figurative jewelry was also extremely popular, and, in particular, flora and fauna were interpreted in almost every way.

This sapphire and diamond brooch dates from around 1860, and is a perfect example of exceptional workmanship combined with an elegance that translates to an object considered beautiful in any era. Set with a 15 carat natural Ceylon sapphire, the scroll leaves have a sculptural quality that is much more three dimensional than many pins one sees from this period. The flower has a long curved stem suspended in the wind in an arching line of diamonds perfectly proportioned for the shoulder it is to rest on.

To use contradictory terms this is understated elegance that has tremendous impact for the sophisticated lover of jewelry.

Victorian Pink Tourmaline & Diamond Brooch: An Antique Love Trophy

by on February 1st, 2010

Victorian Pink Tourmaline & Diamond Brooch, $29,000

The late-nineteenth century was arguably the most romantic period of jewelry design. Sentiments and symbolism were saturated in every art form: from the Pre-Raphaelites to the jeweler’s bench, signs of love and devotion were everywhere.

This imposing pink tourmaline & diamond trophy brooch has crossed arrows depicting the incisive influence of Eros, and these in turn cross an anchor that joins the two arrows (hearts) in the hope of mutual adoration. The diamond surround represents the laurel and the triumph of love. Nothing could be more romantic, and although heavy in sentimentality, not sugary sweet- just strong and very beautiful.

A Magnificent Victorian Amethyst and Diamond Bangle

by on March 12th, 2009

Amethyst & Diamond Bangle, Circa 1890

In the Victorian era, jewelry was made and worn on a grand scale. Aristocratic women wore massive tiaras and corsage ornaments amongst elaborate silks and brocades. It was an era of glamour and opulence, especially in nineteenth century England.

Over a hundred years after their creation, many Victorian pieces still represent the height of fashion, a testament to their brilliant design. Although they may be worn alone with great simplicity, their dramatic impact endures.

This remarkable amethyst and diamond bangle features a number of characteristics that are typical of Victorian design, including foliate sprays and clusters, as well as dramatic swaths of color. In combination with meticulous craftsmanship, these elements bestow a sculptural form.

This bracelet belonged to Mary Russell, the Duchess of Bedford and Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Born as Mary du Caurroy Tribe, in 1865 at Stockbridge, Hampshire, she married Lord Herbrand Russell.

In a period when women were largely forced to assume subservient roles, Mary was a firebrand for women’s rights. She was a vocal supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, joining the Women’s Tax Resistance League to protest the disenfranchisement of women.

She was invested as Dame of Grace, Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and as a fellow at the Linnean Society of the Imperial College.

Mary was also an acclaimed aviator and ornithologist. She broke the records for the longest flights to India and South Africa. Moreover, her journals regarding migratory patterns on Fair Isle were published posthumously.

At the age of 71, Mary left Woburn Abbey on her way to Fair Isle in a De Haviland Gipsy Moth plane and crashed into the chilly waters of the North Sea. Mary’s body was never recovered.