Lover's Eye Miniatures

“When full dressed she wore around her neck the barrenest of lockets, representing a fishy old eye, with no approach to speculation in it” – Charles Dickens, 1848

 A miniature watercolor on ivory from c. 1840.  METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART/ PUBLIC DOMAIN

A miniature watercolor on ivory from c. 1840. METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART/ PUBLIC DOMAIN

 Miniature on ivory, c. 1830’s. Hand-painted miniature of a left hazel eye on ivory in heart-shaped pendant. Eye miniatures or Lovers’ eyes were Georgian miniatures, normally watercolour on ivory, depicting the eye or eyes of a spouse, loved one or child.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

Miniature on ivory, c. 1830’s. Hand-painted miniature of a left hazel eye on ivory in heart-shaped pendant. Eye miniatures or Lovers’ eyes were Georgian miniatures, normally watercolour on ivory, depicting the eye or eyes of a spouse, loved one or child.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

Lovers' Eyes Miniatures were fashionable in the Georgian era, beginning from the 1790s until the 1820s. They were commissioned pieces and were normally watercolour on ivory and depicted the eye or eyes of a loved one. They could be found on  bracelets, brooches, pendants, rings and other trinkets such as the lids of toothpick containers and small boxes. They sometimes contained locks of hair, incorporated into the portrait itself or placed behind glass or crystal.

The first Lover's Eye piece is thought to have been sent by the Prince of Wales (later George IV) to the widow Maria Fitzherbert. A miniaturist was commissioned to paint only his eye in order to preserve the secrecy of their relationship. George IV wore Maria Fitzherbert's eye miniature hidden under his lapel. 

This highly romantic, sentimental and original idea appealed greatly to people of the Georgian era. Today, Lover's Eyes Miniatures are considered highly collectible and fetch very high prices. (NOTE: There is a thriving market in fakes, so please exercise caution if you have the opportunity to purchase one of these lovely items). 

 Maria Fitzherbert, (1756–1837), circa 1788.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

Maria Fitzherbert, (1756–1837), circa 1788.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

  A “memory box” made of embossed and painted paper containing eye miniature, ca. 1830.   (Credit: Skier Collection)

A “memory box” made of embossed and painted paper containing eye miniature, ca. 1830.

(Credit: Skier Collection)

 Miniature(Source: Sentimental Jewelry Blog

Miniature(Source: Sentimental Jewelry Blog

 Source:  Pinterest/  Amanda Hsiao    

Source:  Pinterest/ Amanda Hsiao

 

Miniature on ivory, c. 1830’s. Hand-painted miniature of a left hazel eye on ivory in heart-shaped pendant.


Further reading:  https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/02/03/hair-work-jewelry/

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/01/21/the-major-jewelry-motifs-of-the-georgian-era/

 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Diamond Engagement Rings

The custom of giving a diamond ring as a promise of marriage is said to have started in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. This sparked a craze for diamond engagement rings amongst the wealthy and, in particular, royalty, which continues to this day.  

 This engagement ring was commissioned in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. It is believed that he sent her a letter proposing marriage along with the ring.

This engagement ring was commissioned in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. It is believed that he sent her a letter proposing marriage along with the ring.

The smallest diamond engagement ring on record was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, when she was two years old and betrothed to the infant Dauphin of France, son of King Francis I, in 1518.  

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A pointed oval diamond cluster ring known as a ‘navette ring’ became a popular engagement ring during the time of Louis XVI (1754-1793) and continued in popularity for decades afterwards. 

 Antique Diamond Navette Ring. Langs Antiques.

Antique Diamond Navette Ring. Langs Antiques.

In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte presented Joséphine with a diamond and sapphire engagement ring as a symbol of their love. The simple gold band is set with two pear-shaped stones, a diamond and a blue sapphire of one carat each, that sit side by side in opposite directions. 

 Napoleon and Josephine's engagement ring. 

Napoleon and Josephine's engagement ring. 

The diamond promise ring was only embraced by the general public after 1870 with the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa.  

The Tiffany, or solitaire, setting was introduced in the late nineteenth century. 

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The ‘princess ring,’ a type of English engagement ring designed with three to five diamonds in a row became popular in the United States in the early twentieth century. 

 

  A THREE-STONE DIAMOND RING AND WEDDING BAND   Comprising: a diamond ring set with three cushion-shaped diamonds of graduated size,  size J, stamped '18', British hallmarks and date inscription to inner band, estimated total diamond weight approximately 0.90ct;  and a wedding band of engraved design,  size K, stamped '18', British hallmarks and maker's mark  (2)   Undated  SOURCE: Bonhams

A THREE-STONE DIAMOND RING AND WEDDING BAND

Comprising: a diamond ring set with three cushion-shaped diamonds of graduated size, size J, stamped '18', British hallmarks and date inscription to inner band, estimated total diamond weight approximately 0.90ct; and a wedding band of engraved design, size K, stamped '18', British hallmarks and maker's mark (2)   Undated

SOURCE: Bonhams

 In the early part of the twentieth century, platinum was used for diamond engagement rings because of its strength and durability. However, it was declared a strategic metal during World War II, and its usage was restricted to military purposes. This led to the rise of both yellow and white gold diamond engagement rings.

 

  A DIAMOND AND PLATINUM WEDDING SET    circa 1924    center old European cut diamond approximately: 0.80ct; size: 6 3/4   Undated  Source: Bonhams

A DIAMOND AND PLATINUM WEDDING SET

circa 1924

center old European cut diamond approximately: 0.80ct; size: 6 3/4

Undated

Source: Bonhams

The Great Depression and World War II caused the demand for diamonds to plummet. In 1948, the De Beers diamond mogul Sir Ernest Oppenheimer connected his son, Harry, to the New York advertising agency N.W Ayer.  The result was a campaign —  famous for its slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ — which helped turn the United States into the biggest market for the world's supply of gem standard diamonds. The campaign established many of today's standards for diamond engagement rings, including the ‘two months' salary’ guideline which says that a prospective groom should plan to spend two months' salary on an engagement ring for his bride-to-be. The De Beer's campaign has to this day solidified the diamond's status as the engagement ring stone of choice in America and, subsequently, much of the rest of the world. 


 1948 De Beers Campaign. 

1948 De Beers Campaign. 


© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Pippa Bear
The Heart Motif
130px-Heart_corazón.svg.png

"We can hear the silent voice of the spiritual universe within our own hearts."

                                                                           Ruth St. Denis (Dancer 1878-1968)

A Brief History of the Heart Symbol

The familiar heart shape is an  almost universal symbol of love with deep historical roots. It is thought to have been originally inspired not only by the shape of the actual heart organ, but also by botanical forms such as the ivy and the fruit of the silphium. It is also thought to be a stylised depiction of a woman's curves. 

Ancient Greek pottery incorporated countless examples of the heart shape and it appeared in early religious art. The heart can be seen in the Istanbul Empress Zoe mosaic dating from 1239 and also in stucco reliefs and panels from Persian ruins dating from 90 BC to 637 AD. However, it was not thought to be a metaphor for love until at least 1250, when the earliest known example was shown in an illuminated manuscript.  

It wasn't until the 15th century, however, that it truly developed into the symbol of love that we know today. The heart symbol came to the forefront during the Renaissance. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the heart symbol exploded in popularity and became a prevalent Valentine's motif.  

Today, the heart shape is ubiquitous and never seems to decline in popularity or meaning. 

 The earliest known visual depiction of a heart symbol, as a lover hands his heart to the beloved lady, in a manuscript of the   Roman de la poire 'mid-13th century.

The earliest known visual depiction of a heart symbol, as a lover hands his heart to the beloved lady, in a manuscript of the Roman de la poire'mid-13th century.

 Ex Voto dedicated to St. Catherine of Siena (1347-80), Italian School, 15th C | Musee des Beaux-Arts, Nimes, France | Bridgeman Images

Ex Voto dedicated to St. Catherine of Siena (1347-80), Italian School, 15th C | Musee des Beaux-Arts, Nimes, France | Bridgeman Images

 Royal Banner of the Kings of Denmark (12th or 13th century). The heart shape was frequently used in heraldic designs. 

Royal Banner of the Kings of Denmark (12th or 13th century). The heart shape was frequently used in heraldic designs. 

 Heart pierced with cupid's arrow

Heart pierced with cupid's arrow

The Heart in Jewellery

During Georgian and Victorian times, the heart was often found in jewellery pieces given as sentimental gifts between family members, close friends and lovers. Heart shaped lockets containing sentimental keepsakes such as hair or miniature portraits were particularly popular. Beginning in the early 1800s, Irish Claddagh ring featured a heart clasped in two hands.  These rings came to be widely used to symbolise friendship and love and are worn as friendship, engagement and wedding rings to this day, particularly in Ireland.

As was typical of the Victorians, the heart motif had a nuanced meaning depending on its setting and design. For example, two hearts set alongside one another meant 'betrothed'. Sapphires were added to represent fidelity or rubies for passion. Diamonds symbolised enduring love. Many Victorian pieces used the heart symbol alongside other symbols, for examples snakes or birds.  If a flame was used, this represented passion or 'The Sacred Heart of Christ'.  Various flowers could be incorporated into the piece to convey the specific meaning accorded to each flower. 

An ever expressive array of pavé hearts, engraved hearts, hearts encrusted with gems or carved from them adorned the throats, ears, fingers, clothes, bonnets, hair and wrists of our fore-bearers and continued in popularity throughout the 20th century and to this very day. 

Below you will find some examples of beautiful heart pieces used in antique and vintage jewellery. 

 Cartier Diamond Pave Heart Pendant. Elder & Bloom  The diamond pave puffy heart by Cartier is an iconic design. 

Cartier Diamond Pave Heart Pendant. Elder & Bloom

The diamond pave puffy heart by Cartier is an iconic design. 

 Victorian Heart-Shaped Locket Pendant  The slightly domed heart-shaped pendant pavé set with graduated half pearls, glazed locket back displaying hairwork, mount engraved 'Robert George, Aug 26th 93', on half pearl set bale together with two belcher-link chain necklaces spaced with pearls, pendant length, including bale, 3.7cm. (3)  Source:  www.bonhams.com/auctions/18170/lot/191/

Victorian Heart-Shaped Locket Pendant

The slightly domed heart-shaped pendant pavé set with graduated half pearls, glazed locket back displaying hairwork, mount engraved 'Robert George, Aug 26th 93', on half pearl set bale together with two belcher-link chain necklaces spaced with pearls, pendant length, including bale, 3.7cm. (3)

Source: www.bonhams.com/auctions/18170/lot/191/

 A Diamond, Opal, Pearl, Ruby and Enamel Necklace  circa 1890:  Source:  www.bonhams.com/auctions/10791/lot/58/

A Diamond, Opal, Pearl, Ruby and Enamel Necklace

circa 1890:

Source: www.bonhams.com/auctions/10791/lot/58/

 Opal necklace circa 1900  Source Pinterest  (Christies auction)

Opal necklace circa 1900

Source Pinterest  (Christies auction)

 Made in 15ct gold at the start of the 1900’s, it is set with 6 drop opals with one superb heart shaped opal at the bottom, which is surrounded by 10 diamonds. With a further 8 diamonds along the chain, the diamonds total 0.86 carats, and match so well with the opals.   The entire length measures 38.5 cm, and this is a truly spectacular piece that will always be cherished.  Source: Kalmar:  www.kalmarantiques.com.au/product/antique-opal-and-diamond-necklace/

Made in 15ct gold at the start of the 1900’s, it is set with 6 drop opals with one superb heart shaped opal at the bottom, which is surrounded by 10 diamonds. With a further 8 diamonds along the chain, the diamonds total 0.86 carats, and match so well with the opals.

 The entire length measures 38.5 cm, and this is a truly spectacular piece that will always be cherished.

Source: Kalmar: www.kalmarantiques.com.au/product/antique-opal-and-diamond-necklace/

 An antique diamond brooch/pendant, circa 1900, designed as a stylized heart, the sinuous ribbons of old European-cut diamonds accented by similarly cut diamond-set foliate and floral motifs;     Source: www.bonhams.com/auctions/23415/lot/5/

An antique diamond brooch/pendant, circa 1900, designed as a stylized heart, the sinuous ribbons of old European-cut diamonds accented by similarly cut diamond-set foliate and floral motifs; 

Source: www.bonhams.com/auctions/23415/lot/5/

Further Reading:

Lockets

Symbolism in Victorian Jewellery

Pave

The Language of Flowers

The Language of Stones

The Language of Birds

Fede, Claddagh, Gimmel and Puzzle Rings

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Pippa Bear
Evaluating a Rolled Gold Griffin Locket

In this post, I’d just like to discuss this rolled gold griffin locket and breakdown how we can evaluate it.

 

There are several clues which help:

The first prominent clue is the fact that it has a maker’s mark from S & B Lederer & Co. This was a company founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1878.  They later operated from Fifth Avenue in New York City. They produced gold plated and silver jewelry of good quality. They used a variety of signatures including S.B.& L, sometimes with an inverted triangle and sometimes with a star. They eased operations circa 1931 so we know this piece is from before 1931 and after 1878. 

The style of the griffin motif (created with repoussé and chasing, probably using a machine stamp) itself is very ‘Art Nouveau’.  The griffin and mythical creatures in general were popular motifs in the Art Nouveau era.  However, it is the more the recurrent whiplash motif which genuinely place it as in the style of Art Nouveau. So we know that it is at least after the date of 1890, when Art Nouveau first came about and it is likely to be from before 1920, when Art Nouveau styles ceased to be the height of fashion (and we know it is not a replica because of the marker’s mark).

There are other clues to look at.  The barrel clasp on the necklace is indicative of a piece from before the 1940s, as after that date necklaces were made with the circular clasp we are familiar with. 

Another clue is the rose hue of the gold.  Rose gold was very popular in the Victorian era. The gold actually tests as 9k rolled gold or gold fill. This places it after the date of 1844 when rolled gold was first introduced to the USA (I will discuss rolled gold more in a future post).  The fact that it is 9k rolled gold suggests that it from the Victorian era as 9k was very common in mid-priced jewelry like this.   But the biggest clue is that it has no hallmark for the gold purity. This places it from before 1906 as purity marks were required in the USA after that date, even for gold fill.

Some other clues to look at are the relatively large link size on the belcher or cable chain.  It was likely that although the links of this necklace were machine made, they might well have been assembled by hand. As mechanization improved, chains became finer and had smaller links. The length of the chain (it is 17 inches long, by 1920 longer chains were in fashion) also suggest it is from the late-Victorian era, as does the relatively large size of the pendant itself.

The glass paste gems are in imitation of diamonds and diamonds were very popular in the late Victorian era.  In addition, they appear to be foiled and possibly Swarovski Crystals, which place them after 1892.  They are cut, rather than molded, which make them higher quality and also indicate that they might be Swarovski Crystals.

So, all in all, we can say that this Art Nouveau 9k rolled gold American locket and belcher chain with glass paste gems is most likely from between the years of 1892 and 1906. As they were slightly later in adopting Art Nouveau style in the USA, it is likely to be towards the later end of these dates.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pippa Bear
Victorian Symbology

The Victorians wore jewellery which conveyed nuanced meaning, expressed sentiment and brought fortune. They celebrated life events, friendship, love, and courtship with these designs. Below is a list of motifs and an outline of what they symbolised  for the Victorians. Many of these meanings remain today although others have been lost along the way. 

BIRDS

Birds had a wide variety of meaning for the Victorians. For example, swallows symbolized love and mating for life.

Read more about the LANGUAGE OF BIRDS 

 Victorian turquoise and silver bird bangle. Elder & Bloom. 

Victorian turquoise and silver bird bangle. Elder & Bloom. 

CRESCENT MOON AND STARS

The crescent moon represented a new relationship and the hope it would “wax” into matrimony. Read more about ASTROLOGICAL MOTIFS 

  The   simple crescent moon was a popular motif in the late Victorian era  England, c. 1890 Gold set with diamonds V&A Museum   

The simple crescent moon was a popular motif in the late Victorian era
England, c. 1890
Gold set with diamonds
V&A Museum

 

CROSSED OARS

Crossed Oars symbolised ‘contentment’.

  Photo source: Spielman Antiques    

Photo source: Spielman Antiques

 

DOGS

A dog symbolised loyalty and friendship.

 Victorian Micro Mosaic Dog Brooch. Lang's Antiques

Victorian Micro Mosaic Dog Brooch. Lang's Antiques

 

FIGURE EIGHTS

Figure eights symbolised eternity or ‘infinity’.

 Victorian 'Figure Eight' Brooch. Photo Source: Lang Antiques. 

Victorian 'Figure Eight' Brooch. Photo Source: Lang Antiques. 

FLOWERS

Flowers and plants had diverse hidden meanings for the Victorians. An entire 'language of flowers' was developed, known as 'Floriography'.  Read more about the LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS

  Forget-me-not, rose and acorn motif. The acorn symbolized strength and longevity.   Paris, c. 1820-1840 Brooch with gold, diamonds and turquoises. V&A Museum

Forget-me-not, rose and acorn motif. The acorn symbolized strength and longevity.

Paris, c. 1820-1840
Brooch with gold, diamonds and turquoises.
V&A Museum

GARTER MOTIF

The garter symbolised chastity and virtue. The 'order of the garter' was an order of chivalry founded by the British monarchy. 

 Garter Motif brooch. Source, Lang Antiques. 

Garter Motif brooch. Source, Lang Antiques. 

GREEK KEYS

The Greek Key motif symbolised infinity or the ‘eternal flow of things’. Read more about the GREEK KEY MOTIF

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GRIFFINS

The mythical griffin represented courage.

 Victorian Griffin Pendant. Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Griffin Pendant. Elder and Bloom. 

HANDS

Hands had a variety of different meanings, depending on the form, including affection, strength, family and love.  

See THE HAND MOTIF  See also  FEDE, CLADDAGH, GIMMEL and PUZZLE RINGS

 Victorian Hand Motif Necklace / Watch Chain. Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Hand Motif Necklace / Watch Chain. Elder and Bloom. 

HEARTS

These symbolised love, friendship, affection and devotion. Combined hearts and flowers signified fidelity and remembrance. 

 Victorian Heart Earrings. Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Heart Earrings. Elder and Bloom. 

 

HORSESHOE

Horseshoes symbolised good luck and fortune.

 Victorian Horseshoe Motif Brooch. Source: Ebay. 

Victorian Horseshoe Motif Brooch. Source: Ebay. 

 

KEYS

Keys symbolised knowledge and success and were also given as a 'coming of age' gift on the 21st birthday. They also meant 'you have the key to my heart'. 

 Victorian Key Pendant. Source: Butter Lane Antiques. 

Victorian Key Pendant. Source: Butter Lane Antiques. 

LIZARDS

A lizard  symbolised ‘wedded bliss’ and was given as wedding or anniversary gifts.

 A Victorian opal, diamond and ruby salamander brooch, late 19th century.  Bonhams. 

A Victorian opal, diamond and ruby salamander brooch, late 19th century.

Bonhams. 

 

LOVER’S KNOT

Lovers’ knots symbolized ‘eternal love,’ ‘fidelity’ and ‘commitment’. See also  FEDE, CLADDAGH, GIMMEL and PUZZLE RINGS

 Victorian Lover's Knot Ring. Lang's Antiques. 

Victorian Lover's Knot Ring. Lang's Antiques. 

SCARAB

Scarabs symbolised ‘endurance of the soul.’ They rose to prominence with the 'Egyptian Revival' Movements. 

 Victorian Scarab Necklace. Lang's Antiques. 

Victorian Scarab Necklace. Lang's Antiques. 

 

SHAMROCKS AND FOUR-LEAVED CLOVERS

Shamrocks and four-leaved clovers symbolised good health, good luck, and happiness. They were very much associated with Ireland and many were produced there. They could often be made with real shamrocks or four-leaved clovers set under clear enamel, rock crystal or glass. 

 Victorian Four-Leaved Clover Brooch. Source: Ebay

Victorian Four-Leaved Clover Brooch. Source: Ebay

 

SNAKES  

Snakes symbolised eternal life, sexuality and mystery. Read more about SNAKE MOTIFS

  Victorian gold serpent ring. Elder and Bloom.     

Victorian gold serpent ring. Elder and Bloom. 

 

STONES

Acrostic jewelry was a way to convey a sentimental message by way with the first letter of each stone, the first letter of which spelled out a word. Read more about the LANGUAGE OF STONES

 England, c. 1830 Pendant, gold with lapis lazuli, glass in imitation of opal, garnet, emerald and gold. Here, the pendant has the stones of Lapis Lazuli, glass in imitation of Opal, Vermeil ( the old name for garnet ) and Emerald which spell LOVE. V&A Museum

England, c. 1830
Pendant, gold with lapis lazuli, glass in imitation of opal, garnet, emerald and gold.
Here, the pendant has the stones of Lapis Lazuli, glass in imitation of Opal, Vermeil ( the old name for garnet ) and Emerald which spell LOVE.
V&A Museum


Further reading: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/02/21/charm-bracelets/

 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Language of Birds

The Victorians assigned symbolism to many things and birds in jewellery held a nuanced and precise meaning. Below is an overview of this meaning. 

Swallows and bluebirds

Both swallows and bluebirds had a special meaning for seafarers because these birds were the first sign that land was near. Swallows were thought to lead ships home and prevent them from being lost. The meaning assigned to these birds became to be 'safe home', or ‘to safely return home’ and so they were often given to loved ones when they set out on a journey. They also symbolised 'heart and home'  and were associated with faithfulness. 'Messengers of Venus' was another assigned meaning. Flying birds in general were thought to represent the soul. 

 Victorian turquoise set swallow or bluebird brooch

Victorian turquoise set swallow or bluebird brooch

 Aesthetic Movement (Late Victorian) 'Sweetheart Brooch'. Swallows are known to mate for life so were therefore often given to one's sweetheart. Brooches with the swallow motif are often known as 'sweetheart brooches'. 

Aesthetic Movement (Late Victorian) 'Sweetheart Brooch'. Swallows are known to mate for life so were therefore often given to one's sweetheart. Brooches with the swallow motif are often known as 'sweetheart brooches'. 

 Victorian Swallow brooch. Two swallows signified romantic love. 

Victorian Swallow brooch. Two swallows signified romantic love. 

 A blue bird or swallow with a wishbone was  a common design, signifying 'Wish for lasting love'

A blue bird or swallow with a wishbone was  a common design, signifying 'Wish for lasting love'

Doves

Doves have carried the meaning of hope and peace since ancient times.  During Victorian times, they were often shown with the word pax (the Latin word for peace) holding an olive branch in their beak. The dove was a symbol of faith and was meant to represent The Holy Spirit.  The French 'Saint Esprit' or 'Holy Spirit dove' could often be depicted descending from heaven to earth with wings spread. Doves were often pavé set with turquoise, which was meant to bring luck to the wearer. When the dove held a heart in its beak, it symbolised love.

  Victorian Turquoise Pavé dove bangle. Currently for sale at Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Turquoise Pavé dove bangle. Currently for sale at Elder and Bloom. 

Bird's claw

A bird's claw meant 'Thinking of you' or 'Praying for you.'

 In Victorian times, actual bird's claws were sometimes turned into brooches. (One of these will never be sold by Elder and Bloom!)

In Victorian times, actual bird's claws were sometimes turned into brooches. (One of these will never be sold by Elder and Bloom!)

Phoenix 

A phoenix represented renewal, resurrection, rebirth and immortality. 

 Art Nouveau Phoenix locket. Previously sold by Elder and Bloom. For more information see  here.

Art Nouveau Phoenix locket. Previously sold by Elder and Bloom. For more information see here.

Swan

Swans were symbolic of 'purity and grace'. 

 Late Victorian Swan Brooch. Previously for sale by Elder and Bloom. 

Late Victorian Swan Brooch. Previously for sale by Elder and Bloom. 

Humming Bird

The meaning of the humming bird was 'God's Tiny Miracle'

 Victorian Hummingbird pendant. Previously for sale at Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Hummingbird pendant. Previously for sale at Elder and Bloom. 

Pheasant

The pheasant was thought to symbolise nobility, virtue and refinement.  It also evoked the spirit of the countryside. 

 Victorian pique pheasant brooch. Previously for sale by Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian pique pheasant brooch. Previously for sale by Elder and Bloom. 

Love birds

Love birds signified faithfulness, eternal love and marriage

 Victorian 'love bird' brooch. 

Victorian 'love bird' brooch. 

Blackbirds

Blackbirds were worn during mourning.

 Victorian Blackbird mourning brooch. 

Victorian Blackbird mourning brooch. 

Crow or raven

A crow or raven meant 'Protection of friends'.

Owl

An owl represented vigilance and wisdom. 

Peacock

A peacock represented immortality, beauty and knowledge.

Eagle

An eagle represented nobility, strength, courage, wisdom and power.

Feathers

Feathers signified 'obedience' and could imply the obedience of a wife to her husband or to God. 

Parrot 

Parrots and birds of paradises were also often depicted but I have yet to discern the symbolic meanings. 

 Victorian parrot pendant with real feathers. 

Victorian parrot pendant with real feathers. 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Jewellery of the 1925 Paris Exhibition
 Words found in an exhibition catalog read,  ‘France owes it to herself to prove to the world that her artists, craftsmen and manufacturers have not lost their innovative ingenuity, the quality of balance and logic, especially allied to gifts of grace and fantasy, that have earned her, in the past, a universal sovereignty surer and more durable than that which flows from the power of arms.’

Words found in an exhibition catalog read, ‘France owes it to herself to prove to the world that her artists, craftsmen and manufacturers have not lost their innovative ingenuity, the quality of balance and logic, especially allied to gifts of grace and fantasy, that have earned her, in the past, a universal sovereignty surer and more durable than that which flows from the power of arms.’

The Paris 1925 Exhibition was an international exhibition devoted to the decorative arts. With it was born the spread of the movement which we now know as 'Art Deco'.

Style Moderne

The Paris Exhibition was France's demonstration to the world that it continued to be the greatest nation as far as the applied arts were concerned and, in particular, fashion and luxury goods. Britain and Italy also played leading roles at the exhibition. Germany and the USA were conspicuously absent.

Modernism and originality were emphasised. The term 'Art Deco' was not coined until the 1960s. At the time, people thought of the Art Deco style as simply 'modern or contemporary' style or 'style moderne'.

 Henry Wilson, a British Jeweller, described the exhibit as follows: ' There was very much that was new in the French Section of Jewellery, and much that was very beautiful. Jade, black onyx and enamel were freely used to give contrast and richness.   Rainbow effects of the prismatic colours natural to coloured gems were much sought after, and the combinations in most cases were rich and beautiful.   In fact, colour was being sought instead of mere brilliance. In addition to this there was a tendency towards oriental effects in design. [It was] derived possibly from the use of oriental carved stones as centres of ornament.’

Henry Wilson, a British Jeweller, described the exhibit as follows: 'There was very much that was new in the French Section of Jewellery, and much that was very beautiful. Jade, black onyx and enamel were freely used to give contrast and richness. Rainbow effects of the prismatic colours natural to coloured gems were much sought after, and the combinations in most cases were rich and beautiful. In fact, colour was being sought instead of mere brilliance. In addition to this there was a tendency towards oriental effects in design. [It was] derived possibly from the use of oriental carved stones as centres of ornament.’

Designers 

Three design companies were prominent at the exhibit. These were: Cartier, Després and Van Cleef & Arpels. All of these companies are now considered defining forces behind the Art Deco style.  At the exhibit, Van Cleef & Arpels won a grand prix for a half-open rose in diamond-studed rubies and emeralds. Cartier, however, had the highest status, showing their work separately from the other designers in the Pavillon de l’Élégance, instead of in the main Grand Palais. Other companies were Fouquet, Chaumet, Dusausoy, Lacloche Frères, Linseler & Machack, Boivin, Mauboussin, Mellerio and Ostertag. Jewellery artists included Raymond Templier, Paul-Émile Brant and Gérard.

Materials

Platinum and chromium-plated metal made a strong appearance in keeping with the theme of 'modernism'.  Other popular materials included rubies, onyx, lacquered silver, jade, enamel, rock crystal, gold, lapis lazuli and diamonds. Flattened silver necklaces were presented by Després. Emeralds were showcased in the form of a spectacular shoulder necklace by Cartier with a matching diadem and brooch. It incorporated three enormous Mughal emeralds. (It remained unsold as it seemed it was too lavish to be worn by anyone.)

 The Cartier Timken necklace, designed in 1925. It is one of the most important examples of Cartier jewellery from the Art Deco era. It is set with three rare Mughal emeralds carved on the front and reverse weighing 71.91ct, 30.27ct and 29.21ct, sapphire beads, buff-top cabochon sapphires, emerald beads and diamonds

The Cartier Timken necklace, designed in 1925. It is one of the most important examples of Cartier jewellery from the Art Deco era. It is set with three rare Mughal emeralds carved on the front and reverse weighing 71.91ct, 30.27ct and 29.21ct, sapphire beads, buff-top cabochon sapphires, emerald beads and diamonds

Monochrome and Pavé

Black and white jewellery was prevalent, in particular Cartier pieces of pavé diamonds and dyed onyx. This showcasing of pavé went on to greatly influence costume jewellery styles. Monochrome styles continue to be strongly associated with Art Deco. 

 Dyed bone inlay and brass Art Deco theatre bag. Elder and Bloom. 

Dyed bone inlay and brass Art Deco theatre bag. Elder and Bloom. 

Islamic Influences

Stars and geometrical themes were featured.

Chinese Influences

Dragons, chimeras, Buddhas and pagodas made a strong appearance. 

 Art Deco silk theatre purse with Chinese motifs. Elder and Bloom. 

Art Deco silk theatre purse with Chinese motifs. Elder and Bloom. 

Egyptian Influences

Falcons, lotus flowers, snakes and winged female figures were showcased. 

 Art Deco Snake Bangle. Elder and Bloom. 

Art Deco Snake Bangle. Elder and Bloom. 

Carved Gemstones

Baskets of fruits and flowers made from carved gemstones dazzled the exhibition visitors. (See also 'Tutti Fruitti.')

In Conclusion

The Paris 1925 Exposition has gone on to be considered the apex of Art Deco style and has forever brought French design to the forefront of the applied arts. How marvellous it must have been for those who love beauty and style to stroll past those dazzling exhibitions! Because of the 1925 Paris Exposition Art Deco design spread throughout the world and has continued in its immense popularity to this day with no sign of abatement. 

See also: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/03/12/art-deco-motifs/

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See also: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/03/12/art-deco-motifs/

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Green Gemstones
 Antique emerald and pearl ring. Elder and Bloom. 

Antique emerald and pearl ring. Elder and Bloom. 

Below you will find a list of green coloured gemstones that may be encountered in antique and vintage jewellery.

Emerald

This is a yellowish green to bluish green beryl.

Green Tourmaline 

There are several green colored varieties of tourmaline and they can be referred to as 'verdelite' or 'chrome' (a rich green to sightly yellow-green tourmaline) or 'paraiba' (a light to deep green to blue green shade of tourmaline). 

Peridot

This is a yellow green to green gemstone. 

Green Zircon.

This can be green to yellow-green to gray-green in colour. 

Alexandrite

In daylight alexandrite can be bluish to blue green and in artificial or evening light violet-red. Discovered around 1834. (For more about alexandrite, one of my favourite gemstones, see here). 

Chrysoberyl

A pale green to yellow green transparent gemstone. 

Chrysoprase

This is a type of chalcedony.

Sapphire

This is a yellow green to blue-green to gray-green corundum

Demantoid Garnet

This is a variety of yellow-green to emerald- green garnet. Discovered in 1868. For more about garnets, see here

Tsavorite Garnet 

This is a yellowish green to bluish green variety of garnet. As far as I know, tsavorite is not found in jewellery dating before 1971. 

Red and Pink Gemstones

Here are all the red and pink gemstones that one is likely to come across in antique and vintage jewellery. 

Ruby

This is a bluish red to range-red corundum

 Jugendstil Pendant. Elder & Bloom. 

Jugendstil Pendant. Elder & Bloom. 

Pink Sapphire 

This is a pinkish red variety of corundum (basically a less colour saturated form of ruby)

 Annular brooch with pink sapphires. British Museum AF.2702

Annular brooch with pink sapphires. British Museum AF.2702

 

Garnet 

There are several varieties of garnet. For more information see here. 

 Victorian Garnet Earrings. Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Garnet Earrings. Elder and Bloom. 

Red Spinel

Red Spinel can be red to brownish red and pink

 Antique red spinell earrings. Elder & Bloom. 

Antique red spinell earrings. Elder & Bloom. 

Pink Tourmaline

This is a pink variety of tourmaline and can be all shades of pink 

 1860s Brooch with Pink Tourmaline. V & A Museum M.21-1979. 

1860s Brooch with Pink Tourmaline. V & A Museum M.21-1979. 

Morganite

This is a pink to orange pink beryl (discovered in 1910)

 Vintage Morganite Ring. 

Vintage Morganite Ring. 

Pink Topaz

This is a pink to violet-pink variety of topaz that is created by heated golden brown topaz. 

 Pink Topaz and Diamond Ring 1800 -1 869. V & A Museum 1309-1869

Pink Topaz and Diamond Ring 1800 -1 869. V & A Museum 1309-1869

Red Zircon

This is a brownish red to deep, dark red zircon

 Reddish-brown zircon ring. 1850. V & A Museum 1282-1869

Reddish-brown zircon ring. 1850. V & A Museum 1282-1869

 

Red "Emerald" or 'BIXBIte'

This is a red to bluish red to orange-red beryl

Discovered in 1904

 Red Beryl or Bixbite Estate Brooch. 

Red Beryl or Bixbite Estate Brooch. 

 

Kunzite

This is a violet-pink to pink-violet spodumene

Discovered in 1902

 Kunzite and silver brooch. Ebay. 

Kunzite and silver brooch. Ebay. 

 

Rubellite

This is a red to violet-red tourmaline 

First discovered 1822

 Rubellite Estate Ring. Ebay. 

Rubellite Estate Ring. Ebay. 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

Pippa Bear
Jewelry Eras
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Here is a simplified review of the main antique and vintage jewellery eras for quick reference.

GEORGIAN 1714 – 1837

VICTORIAN 1837 – 1901

* Early Victorian – 1837 – 1860 (Romantic Period) 

* Mid-Victorian – 1861 – 1880 (Grand Period)

* Late-Victorian – 1880 – 1901 (Aesthetic Period)

ART NOUVEAU ERA – 1890 -1910

ARTS & CRAFTS ERA 1894-1923

EDWARDIAN ERA – 1901 – 1915

ART DECO ERA – 1920 – 1940

MODERNIST 1930 – 1960

RETRO OR COCKTAIL ERA – 1940 – 1959

Further reading:

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/01/13/the-ages-of-antique-jewelry-defined/

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2014/03/22/getting-clear-on-antique-and-vintage-eras-and-terms/

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2017/06/17/key-jewellery-looks-by-decade/

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Black Materials

Here is an overview of the different black materials used in vintage and antique jewellery

Jet

Jet is fossilised wood. For more information see here.

 Simple jet bead circa 1910. Elder and Bloom. 

Simple jet bead circa 1910. Elder and Bloom. 

Onyx

Onyx is a variety of chalcedony. For more information, see here.

 Victorian Onyx pendant locket. Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian Onyx pendant locket. Elder and Bloom. 

Berlin Iron

Berlin iron is made from cast iron and delicate wire pieces. For more information, see here. 

 Germany, Cast iron earrings. c. 1820-1830 V&A Museum   

Germany, Cast iron earrings. c. 1820-1830
V&A Museum

 

Enamel

Enamel is fired ground glass. In theory, almost all methods of enamelling can produce black items but generally it is en grisaille, niello and taille d'epargne which are known for being worked in black. (Technically, niello work is not true enamel but is usually classified as such)

For more information, see here. 

 Niello work. 

Niello work. 

Gutta Percha

Gutta Percha is a type of rubber derived from the gum of Asian trees. It is usually molded rather than carved and mould lines can be visible when examined carefully. When rubbed vigorously, it gives off an acrid, rubber smell. It is very flexible and durable and can produce a wide variety of jewellery items. Upon close inspection, you can see that it is actually brownish-black. Popular through the mid and late Victorian era, it made its debut at the Great Exhibition of 1851. 

 Gutta Percha Brooch. 

Gutta Percha Brooch. 

Vulcanite

Vulcanite is vulcanised India rubber formed using sulphur. It was first patented in 1844 by Charles Goodyear. Vulcanite is almost always moulded, as opposed to carved. It is actually white and can be dyed to produce a variety of colours, often in imitation of coral and tortoiseshell. Most commonly, however, it was dyed black and used in mourning jewellery as a substitute for jet. Over time, black vulcanite usually turns dark brown. It is lightweight and warm to the touch. It will develop a sheen with polishing but is never as glossy as jet. Like jet, it will leave a brown streak on porcelain or unglazed tile. 

 Victorian Vulcanite cameo pendant. 

Victorian Vulcanite cameo pendant. 

French Jet

French jet is black or very dark red glass. It can sometimes be backed with foil or attached to a metal setting but is most commonly found as beaded necklaces. It first made its appearance in the early part of the 19th century but came into its own in the 1860s when the techniques to produce it were perfected. It was produced in France, Germany, Austria, England and what is now the Czech Republic. It is cold to the touch and heavier than jet and has a distinctive glitter. Sometimes it is roughly moulded or carved to further simulate jet. Upon close examination, it can often be identified by tiny chips. If you gently tap it against your teeth, you should be able to identify the chink as glass. 

 French jet necklaces. Elder and Bloom. 

French jet necklaces. Elder and Bloom. 

Bog Oak

Like jet, bog oak is fossilised wood. It is usually mined from the bogs of Ireland and is not necessarily oak but can be fir, yew or pine. Similar in feel to jet, it is lightweight and warm to the touch but generally has a more matte finish. It was used from the early 1800s and grew in popularity after 1852 when techniques involving heat and pressure were invented to mold it and create detail. It can be carved or moulded. It is generally found in mourning jewellery as a substitute for jet but can also often be found with Irish motifs in the form of souvenir jewellery. 

 Victorian bog oak brooch. 

Victorian bog oak brooch. 

Tortoiseshell

With age, tortoiseshell can darken enough to appear black. See here and here.

 Tortoiseshell pique pendant. Elder and Bloom.

Tortoiseshell pique pendant. Elder and Bloom.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Edwardian Era
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Although King Edward's reign spanned the years 1901-1910, when referring to jewellery, the Edwardian Era generally means the years 1901 - 1915.  Stylistically, Edwardian era jewellery can also be said to have begun much earlier, during the last years of the Aesthetic Era. The Edwardian era also occurred simultaneously to the French Belle Epoque Era and is also known as The Garland Era due to the prevalence of the iconic garland motif (see under 'Motifs' below). 

The designs of the Edwardian era jewellery were light and airy, influenced by the fluid lines of Art Nouveau design whilst still based on traditional motifs. Edwardian era jewellery is perhaps the  most ethereal and feminine jewellery of all and can be seen as a rejection of the ostentatious and stuffy designs of the Victorian era. Edwardian jewellery's emphasis on light coloured materials can also be seen as an reaction to the previous century's obsession with black mourning jewellery.  

MATERIALS AND MANUFACTURING

Platinum quickly became the most important metal during this era. Prior to 1903, platinum was usually backed with gold. However, in 1903, the invention of the oxyacetylene torch and its ensuing high temperatures enabled pieces to be made solely from platinum. The strength and malleability of platinum allowed pieces to be created, often using pierced open work and filigree, that were both very fine and delicate whilst at the same time very durable.  Because of the adaptability of platinum, the new decorative technique of millegraining, in which extremely tiny bead like details are added to the edges of jewellery, emerged during this period. 

The most popular gemstones were diamonds and pearls.  Amethyst, turquoise, sapphires, garnets and opals were all popular stones. Jewellers experimented with new cuts such as calibré, baguette, marquises and briolettes.

STYLES

Dog Collars

 Princess Alexandra 

Princess Alexandra 

Although the choker style necklaces, known as 'dog collars', were popular in France around 1865, the fashion boomed in England around 1880 when worn by Princess Alexandra. (It is said she was covering up a scar on her neck.) The styles of these tight fitting necklaces ranged from elaborate platinum pieces to wide rows of pearls to black velvet or or moiré, often with a central design in the form of a plaque, a garland, a flower or a buckle.  

Négligée

This is a necklace comprised often of fine chain links but not necessarily with two parallel pendants suspended at slightly different heights. This type of necklace began to be popular around 1900.

Sautoirs

Sautoirs were very long necklaces, often ropes of pearls or beads or chains with gems. They often had a fringed tassel at each end. They were worn wrapped multiple times around the neck or loose and falling past the waist. (This fashion continued in earnest in the Art Deco era).

 Risqué Edwardian lady wearing a sautoir necklace and an aigrette. 

Risqué Edwardian lady wearing a sautoir necklace and an aigrette. 

 

White Jewellery

The Edwardian era is typified by the craze for all white jewellery. The beautiful pierced or filigree platinum and diamond pieces are said to  have complimented the new electric lighting perfectly and corresponded with a focus on evening events, the theatre, dinners and elegant cruises.  

 Edwardian Era DIAMOND AND NATURAL PEARL PENDANT NECKLACE Christie’s Sale 2604

Edwardian Era DIAMOND AND NATURAL PEARL PENDANT NECKLACE
Christie’s Sale 2604

 Edwardian era diamond and platinum brooch. Christies. 

Edwardian era diamond and platinum brooch. Christies. 

Black and white

Around 1910, the all white jewellery began to be mixed with black ribbons, black enamel, jet or onyx. These jewels could be worn whilst still observing mourning etiquette.

Résille

These were very fine, netted necklaces made of platinum, often set with diamonds.  They covered the neck and shoulders and flowed to the bodice. Cartier named them draperie de décolleté.

 Edwardian lady wearing a résille necklace. 

Edwardian lady wearing a résille necklace. 

 

Earrings

Earrings in this era grew larger and longer, often dangling, designed to move and flow and catch the light. Again, there was an emphasis on platinum, diamonds, filigree and millegrain work. 

 Edwardian lady. Note the dangling, flowing earrings and the aigrette. She is also wearing a 'fringe' necklace, a style popularised by archaeological revival. 

Edwardian lady. Note the dangling, flowing earrings and the aigrette. She is also wearing a 'fringe' necklace, a style popularised by archaeological revival. 

 

Bracelets

The fashion for wearing many bracelets at a time fell out of favour. Bracelets where more delicate and refined than ever. 

Tiaras and Bandeaus

Tiaras were lighter and more elaborate as platinum allowed for more intricate and fine designs.  Towards the end of the 1910s, bandeaus started to be worn across the forehead. The meander tiara, with the Greek key motif, was also popular. 

 Edwardian lady wearing a bandeau.

Edwardian lady wearing a bandeau.

 

Aigrettes

Aigrettes became all the rage and were worn extensively by the well to do and even, at times, by ordinary woman. 

Rings

Rings were worn stacked and often on nearly every finger. They often had a central stone surrounded by other smaller stones.

Buckles and slides

Buckles, usually associated with the early Victorian and Georgian era, and slides, were worn at the waist to emphasis slender waistlines.  They were also attached to ribbons and worn around the head instead of tiaras or aigrettes. 

 Edwardian Lady appearing to have a buckle in her hair. 

Edwardian Lady appearing to have a buckle in her hair. 

 

Mix and match

Parures were no longer in fashion as women worn jewellery of different designs and styles.  The lines between what was worn during the day and what was worn during the evening blurred as a more relaxed approach to jewellery emerged. 

MOTIFS

Textile 

Textile inspired motifs such as garlands and ribbons, bow knots, tassel and fine lace work motifs became extremely prevalent. The garland was such an ubiquitous motif that the Edwardian era is often referred to as 'The Garland Era'. 

 A garland motif Edwardian Era platinum, diamond and topaz brooch Christie’s Sale 8127

A garland motif Edwardian Era platinum, diamond and topaz brooch
Christie’s Sale 8127

 

Ornamental

Cartier designers took inspiration from the historical architecture of Paris, whilst other designers sought inspiration from the 18th pattern books and records which began to be published around 1850. 

Oriental 

Inspired by performances such as the Russian Ballet's Schéhérazade in Paris,  tastes turned to all things oriental.  Colourful gems, peacock feathers and Indian flavoured designs took centre stage. 

 

IN CONCLUSION

Although very different in style and materials and manufacuring, The Edwardian aesthetic developed simultaneously to the Art Nouveau and the Arts & Crafts movements, as well as the German Jugendstil movement and other related design movements. They can been seen as sharing a rejection of the oppressive past and an embracing of freedom and fluidity. This wonderful explosion of elegance, freedom and feminine expresson came to a sudden end with the outbreak of the World War 1, four years after the death of Edward VII. Jewellery manufacturing almost ceased entirely during this period. Precious metals became very hard to come by and platinum, being sought after by the weapons industry, was rarely used until after the war.  We have yet to see a return to the exquisite sensibilities of the Edwardian era, although many have continued to wear and revere the styles. 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Antique Jewelry Care
 Victorian garnet gold earrings. Elder and Bloom. 

Victorian garnet gold earrings. Elder and Bloom. 

Antique and vintage jewelry requires extra care in its storage, cleaning and wear. Below you will find some tips to preserve your pieces in the best condition possible.

1) Never use ultrasonic cleaners as these type of machines can cause damage to delicate pieces.

2) Store in a cotton lined box or soft pouch, away from direct sunlight. 

3) Store in dry, humidity free areas without extremes of heat.

4) Keep pieces separated so they do not scratch each other. 

5) Never store in air-tight, plastic bags.

6) Put perfume, lotions and other cosmetics on before you put your jewellery on. 

7) Bleach and chlorine can cause damage so never wear when cleaning the house, showering or swimming. 

8) Use a soft polishing cloth to prevent tarnishing of silver jewellery. 

9) Be cautious when using chemical dip solutions as they can strip away patina and cause damage. 

10) Make certain that any foil backed jewellery (i.e. Georgian or early Victorian pieces) stay dry. Always remove before washing your hands etc. Even a little bit of moisture can damage these kinds of pieces. 

11) Lockets containing photos and hair should be kept away from all water.

12) If you notice any loose stones or if the prongs seem to catch on things take it to the jewellers for evaluation. 

13) Always make certain that all jewellery is completely dry before being stored. 

CLEANING

Most metal based antique jewellery can be cleaned with warm water, mild detergent and a very soft toothbrush. A soft silver polishing is an excellent choice, as well as a soft dry brush. A loupe or magnifying glass can help you see the dirt and grime in hidden places. If you do feel the need to use a chemical, a very small amount of Windex sprayed onto a cloth, never directly onto the piece, can be used with caution. 

Extra care should be taken with the following materials: 

1) Pearls are very sensitive to oils, chemicals and moisture. Never get your pearls wet. Store them as flat as possible. 

2) Turquoise, Lapis, Malachite are porous and should be kept away from all oils and chemicals. They are also easily scratched.  

3) Butterfly Wings are easily damaged and should be kept dry and away from moisture and all chemicals. Any contact with water or chemicals can ruin a butterfly wing if it gets inside the casing.  To clean the casing, use a dry polishing cloth.

4) Cut Steel is easily damaged by moisture of any kind and will rust.  Use a soft brush to clean. 

5) Micromosaic or Pietra Dura should be kept dry and stored separately.  Clean with a soft, dry brush and watch out for loose stones. 

6) Cameos should be gently cleaned with a soft, dry cloth. 

7) Portrait Miniatures can be gently wiped with a soft cloth.  

8) Ivory, Coral, Tortoiseshell and Amber are all particularly sensitive to direct sunlight, oils and chemicals.   

9) Enamel can be chipped so always store with great care. Use a silver polishing cloth to clean. 

10) Hair Work is prone to breakage. Always store with great care and never attempt to clean hair work jewellery. 

 

 

Hair Pins

In Victorian times, hair pins were an essential part of every woman's attire. Respectable women over the age of 15 or 16 were expected to wear their hair up and hair pins were a useful tool as well as desirable ornamentation. Hairpins continued to be worn throughout the Edwardian era but fell out of favour with the shorter hairstyles of the 1920s. However, just as many women continued to wear their hair long, hair pins continued to be worn. 

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A simplified version of the hair pin is still worn today although often only as a way of holding thick hair in place (for example when worn to hold a chignon) and not as a decoration in itself. Today's most common incarnation of the hair pin is the everyday 'bobby pin' or 'hair grip'. 

 Contemporary 'bobby pin' or 'hair grip'. 

Contemporary 'bobby pin' or 'hair grip'. 

 Contemporary hair pin. 

Contemporary hair pin. 

Traditionally, hair pins came in matching pairs and could be worn in a variety of ways - horizontally, vertically or at an angle. They could be worn alone or as part of more elaborate ornamentation. Simpler ones were worn by day whilst evening hair ornamentation could be highly decorative. 

Hair pins generally came in two varieties: 

One-point Hair Pins.

These are comprised of a single long, straight piece, with a point at one end and usually an ornament on the other.

 Victorian One Point Hair Pins. Currently for sale at Elder & Bloom. 

Victorian One Point Hair Pins. Currently for sale at Elder & Bloom. 

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During the Renaissance period a type of one stick hairpin known as a 'Bodkin' was worn by the wealthier classes. It was made of precious metals and was often embellished with diamonds and pearls and other gemstones.

Two-point Hair Pins. 

These are comprised of a ornament with two prongs. (Two-point hair pins will sometimes be called 'hair combs' because they are very similar to hair combs but have only two teeth and not multiple teeth.) 

 Two point hair pin. Previously sold by Elder & Bloom. 

Two point hair pin. Previously sold by Elder & Bloom. 

See also: 

Aigrettes

Hair Combs

Myrtle Crowns

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Jugendstil

Jugendstil was an artistic style or design movement that arose in Germany around the mid-1890s and continued until at least the end of 1910. The movement also spread throughout the other German speaking and Nordic countries.

It appeared to originate from the Berlin Werkstatte – the collectives of artisans and craftspeople that flourished during the era.  The name ‘Jugendstil’ literally means Youth Style and derives from the Munich magazine Die Jugend (‘Youth’).

 An image from Jugend Magazine. It was filled with art such as this.

An image from Jugend Magazine. It was filled with art such as this.

With the Jugendstil design sensibilities there came a reverence for youth, for nudity and a more liberated sexuality, for all things ‘natural and free’. Women wore their hair long and flowing, corsets were ditched and a general joie de vivre was embraced by all.  (I have always maintained that these naturalistic movements of the late 1800s were a precursor to the 1960s American cultural revolution).

There were two somewhat distinct phases in Jugendstil. Prior to 1900, the designs tended to be floral and to be more influenced by Art Nouveau and Japanese design, as well as more Victorian in flavour.

 Early Jugendstil Brooch. Elder and Bloom. 

Early Jugendstil Brooch. Elder and Bloom. 

Later, came a more abstract and architectural phase, at times machine like, pre-echoing by over a decade the geometrical designs of the Art Deco era. (This later phase was greatly influenced by the Belgian architect Henry van de Velde.)

 Late Jugendstil Brooch. Elder and Bloom. 

Late Jugendstil Brooch. Elder and Bloom. 

Jugendstil is a cousin of the English Art Nouveau movement and certainly has much in common with the Arts and Crafts movement. Although often referred to as the ‘German Art Nouveau’ (even by myself), Jugendstil is quite distinctive and is also compelling in its originality and character.

Sources / further reading:

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/03/15/international-names-for-art-nouveau/

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/02/17/the-female-form-in-art-nouveau-jewelry/

https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/02/13/the-art-nouveau-whiplash-motif/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Henry-van-de-Velde

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Earring Styles

Below, you will seven styles of earrings commonly found in antique and vintage jewellery. (In a previous article, I discussed how to age earrings by the  findings. )

Stud earrings

Stud earrings became popular in the late 1800s but fell out of use when ears stopped being pierced in the early 1900s. They became popular again in the early 1960s and continue in popularity to this day.

 Gold, diamond and silver stud earrings. England, late 18th century. V&A Museum

Gold, diamond and silver stud earrings. England, late 18th century. V&A Museum

 3.50 Carat European Cut Diamond Stud Earrings, c. 1900. Photo courtesy of LangAntiques.com (Note the ‘threaded posts’ - these can be indicative of a finer piece). 

3.50 Carat European Cut Diamond Stud Earrings, c. 1900. Photo courtesy of LangAntiques.com (Note the ‘threaded posts’ - these can be indicative of a finer piece). 

Button Earrings

This type of round or domed earring with no dangling element first became popular in the 1930s. Earlier examples tend to have screw backs whereas those from the 1950s and 1960s tend to be clip-ons. From the mid-1960s onwards some button earrings were also produced for pierced ears.

 Vintage Angel Skin Coral clip on button earrings. Elder and Bloom

Vintage Angel Skin Coral clip on button earrings. Elder and Bloom

Top and Drop Earrings

This is a style of earrings which has two sections, usually round or oval.  The two sections normally match and the bottom section is normally the largest.  The top section usually hangs just below the lobe except when there is a pierced post and then it might sit on the lobe itself. The style has been around for centuries but is associated with the Georgian era as it was so popular in that era.

When the bottom section is detachable, these are known as day to night earrings as they can be converted for daytime or evening attire.

 Antique gold and coral ‘Top and Drop’ earrings. Elder and Bloom.

Antique gold and coral ‘Top and Drop’ earrings. Elder and Bloom.

Pendeloque Earrings

This is a style which began in the 1800s. It is similar to the Top and Drop earring  style, but the two sections are connected by a third central section, designed as a bow.

 Pendeloque gold filigree and pearl earrings. Salamanca 1800-1870. V&A Museum.

Pendeloque gold filigree and pearl earrings. Salamanca 1800-1870. V&A Museum.

Girandole Earrings

This is a style which has three dangling elements with the central element usually being the largest or hanging lower than the other two elements.  The style first appeared around 1700 in France but is often associated with the decade of 1870 as it experienced enormous popularity during the Rococo Revival of that period.

 Antique gold and coral Spanish Girandole earrings.

Antique gold and coral Spanish Girandole earrings.

Drop Earrings

This is a very popular style which consists of a single element attached to the finding.

 Victorian drop earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.

Victorian drop earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.

Chandelier Earrings

This is a style of earring which has tiers of dangling elements, resembling a chandelier. They are often associated with the Mid-Victorian era.

 Queen Letizia of Spain wearing chandelier style earrings.

Queen Letizia of Spain wearing chandelier style earrings.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Understanding the Differences Between Bakelite and Catalin
 Faceted Bakelite Bangle. Elder and Bloom. 

Faceted Bakelite Bangle. Elder and Bloom. 

One of the great misnomers in vintage and antique jewellery sales is ‘Bakelite’. Nearly all jewellery that we refer to as Bakelite jewellery is actually Catalin, a similar but different type of early plastic. This can be confusing but is more easily be understood if you think of the term ‘Bakelite’, when it refers to jewellery, as simply being another term for ‘Catalin’. (When I sell Catalin jewellery, I call it ‘Bakelite’ because otherwise the customer may not know what it is.)

Bakelite

Bakelite was a type of early plastic first developed in 1907 by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York. It was used in a wide variety of products, ranging from radios to household appliances and industrial parts but was rarely used for jewellery.  It was produced into the 1950s.

Catalin

Catalin was developed and trademarked in 1927 by the American Catalin Corporation when they acquired the patents for Bakelite.  Catalin contains no fillers and is transparent and almost colourless. It can be carved and faceted. It has a wide variety of applications, including jewellery.

The Catalin Corporation introduced 15 colours, including clear, opaque and marbled versions. Catalin jewellery was produced from 1927 until the end of World War II. Production ended because every piece had to be cast and polished by hand which proved to be too expensive.

Final words

Made only between the years of 1927 until approximately 1945, Catalin / Bakelite jewellery is very much associated with the Art Deco era. Iconic and characterful, it is surprisingly pleasant to wear and has a truly addictive quality. It has unexpected nuance and charm. Two pieces striking each other – for example, when two bangles are worn – make a delicious ‘clunking’ sound. The colours and styles are vast and gorgeous. Often the styles are completely one of a kind, especially when hand-carved. For all of these reasons and more, it is no wonder that Catalin / Bakelite jewellery is becoming increasingly sought after and is considered a collector’s item.

The tests for Bakelite and Catalin are the same.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sources / further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalin

http://plastiquarian.com/?page_id=14230

À jour

À jour is a term used in jewellery manufacturing which describes an open backed setting that allows the light to shine through the gemstone, enhancing the scintillation, brightness and colour. À jour settings are not found prior to 1800 when nearly all gems were mounted with closed backs.

The term à jour is from the French word for ‘day’.

 

 Victorian earrings with  à jour  settings

Victorian earrings with à jour settings

Please note: Plique à jour is a type of enamelling that incorporates an open background which is filled with transparent enamel.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Greek Key Motif

The Greek Key Motif

The ‘Greek Key’ motif in jewellery can also be known as the ‘Running Dog’, the ‘Greek Fret’, the ‘Maze Pattern’, the ‘Labyrinth Pattern’ or the ‘Meander Motif’. The name is derived from the River Meander, the historical name for the Büyük Menderes River in contemporary Turkey. The River Meander had many twists and was mentioned by Homer in the Iliad.  There is also said to be a connection between the motif and the Cretan labyrinth.

The earliest examples of the motif have been found in the farming communities in Anatolia, 6000 BC and it was a common pottery design throughout Neolithic Europe. It was the most important symbol in ancient Greece, decorating many temples and objects. Interestingly, the Ancient Chinese developed a similar design known as ‘Chinese Fretwork’. Variations of the motif are also found in African, South American and Native American design. It is also reminiscent of many Celtic design elements. 

 

To the Ancient Greeks, the design symbolised infinity or the ‘eternal flow of things’. It is also said to symbolise friendship, love and devotion and is given as a marriage gift to this day. It is also thought to represent the four cardinal points or the four seasons. 

Most of us will recognise this ubiquitous motif even if we are not aware of the name or the origin.  There are many variations – sometimes the pattern is rectangular and sometimes it is rounded, sometimes there is a simple geometric design and other times is is more elaborate and complex. It may boarder an object or cover a larger area. (If the decoration forms interlaced patterns, it is known as Guilloche.) However, two elements remain consistent – the design is maze-like and repetitive.

Georgian and early Victorian Neo-Classical and Architectural Revival

The Georgian era was distinguished by several great archeological discoveries greatly influencing Georgian jewelry motifs.  When the ruins of Pompeii were excavated from 1706 to 1814 a wave of Neo-classical design influenced almost every area of manufacturing, art and craft. In the 1760s in particular, Roman and Greek motifs, such as Greek Keys and laurel and grape leaves, abounded. The Greek Keys motif was particularly popular on the mountings of cameo. The Greek Keys motif continued in popularity through the Victorian era and remains popular to this day.

 Fine Antique Coral Cameo Brooch within a Frame Accented By Greek Key Motifs And Applied Ropetwist Borders, With Pendant Hook, Mounted in Gold c.1801-1908 Prices4Antiques

Fine Antique Coral Cameo Brooch within a Frame Accented By Greek Key Motifs And Applied Ropetwist Borders, With Pendant Hook, Mounted in Gold c.1801-1908 Prices4Antiques

Art Deco

The Greek Keys Motif experienced another wave of popularity during the Art Deco era. However, many have said that the designers of the Art Deco era were in fact deriving their ‘Greek Key’ Motifs from the Egyptian designs that were being uncovered during the great archeological discoveries of the era. This makes a certain amount of sense as the Art Deco era is not known for it’s neo-classical styles, besides the Greek Key, but is of course renowned for it’s Egyptian Revival styles. Regardless of the inspiration, the motif is still referred to as ‘Greek Keys.

 Art Deco Greek Keys bangle. Elder and Bloom.

Art Deco Greek Keys bangle. Elder and Bloom.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli has been loved since antiquity for its intense, vibrant cobalt blue colour. It can be flecked with either white or gold (calcite or pyrite).

A metamorphic rock, mainly composed of the mineral Lazurite, it usually originates from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia or Chile. It is also mined, to a lesser extent, in Italy, Mongolia, the United States and Canada.

Below you will find some of the many applications for Lapis Lazuli in antique and vintage jewellery:

Pietre Dure

Lapis Lazuli is also one of the principal stones used on Italian Pietre Dure (micro-mosaics). 

 Necklace, 1808, Pietra dure, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, gold. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Necklace, 1808, Pietra dure, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, gold. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 

Acrostic

The Georgians and the Victorians, with their passion for acrostic jewellery (‘The Language of Stones’) used Lapis Lazuli to represent the letter ‘L’ for ‘Love’.

 Acrostic Pendant. 1830. V&A Museum.

Acrostic Pendant. 1830. V&A Museum.

Cameo and Intaglio

Many beautiful examples can be found of Lapis Lazuli used in cameo and intaglio. 

 Lapis Lazuli Cameo. 1580-1600. Italy. V&A Museum.

Lapis Lazuli Cameo. 1580-1600. Italy. V&A Museum.

Arts & Crafts

The Arts & Crafts movement designers favoured Lapis Lazuli as the stone fitted in with their ‘beauty before perceived value’ philosophy.

 Arts and Crafts Pendant 1903. May Morris. Set with variety of stones, including lapis lazuli. V&A Museum.

Arts and Crafts Pendant 1903. May Morris. Set with variety of stones, including lapis lazuli. V&A Museum.

 

Art Deco

Art Deco Jewellery designers prized Lapis Lazuli as it suited their vibrant, bold styles.

 Art Deco Lapis Lazuli Diamond Gold Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

Art Deco Lapis Lazuli Diamond Gold Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

Cartier stands out as a design company who loved to use Lapis Lazuli during the Art Deco era.

 Lapis Lazuli Brooch. Cartier 1920-1930. V&A Museum.

Lapis Lazuli Brooch. Cartier 1920-1930. V&A Museum.

Imitations

There are four other stones that can be mistaken for Lapis Lazuli. These are:

  1. Dyed Jasper or Howlite. It will have the cobalt blue colour but will not show the white or golden patches. (Known as ‘Swiss Lapis’).
  2. Sodalite, which is one of the components of Lapis Lazuli, looks similar but the color is much paler.
  3. There is a synthetic spinel which also imitates Lapis Lazuli. (Known as ‘Gilson Lapis’). This looks very similar but does not have the same random patterns shown in natural Lapis Lazuli.
  4. Azurite is not as hard and has a darker tint.

Tip: To see if a stone has been dyed, try removing the colour with acetone.

Final note: 

Lapis Lazuli has, of course, been used as a paint pigment since the late Middle Ages and has been a favourite of many of the great artists. This beautiful painting by Vermeer showcases not only Lapis Lazuli as a paint pigment but also a style of pearl earring from the era.

 ‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. Vermeer.

‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. Vermeer.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sources / Further Reading: 

http://www.langantiques.com/university/Lapis_Lazuli

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapis_lazuli

https://hyperallergic.com/315564/lapis-lazuli-a-blue-more-precious-than-gold/