Lorgnettes

  A pair of French Art Nouveau gold and diamond lorgnettes   Christie’s Sale 5891

A pair of French Art Nouveau gold and diamond lorgnettes
Christie’s Sale 5891

A lorgnette is a pair of spectacles which are held to the eyes with a long handle, rather than being fitted over the ears.  The word is derived from the French word ‘lorgner’ to peer at. Lorgnettes were invented in England during the 1700s by a man called George Adams.  Lorgnettes were very popular throughout the Victorian era and were the preferred way for ladies to wear spectacles.  They continued to be worn through the 1920s and beyond, although they eventually came to be seen as something older ladies wore. Lorgnettes were often worn around the neck with a chain.  Often, lorgnettes were highly ornate and jeweled and were considered more of a piece of jewelry than just a practical item. Holding lorgnettes up to the eyes in a way that was just so was considered a perfect opportunity to convey comportment, style and finesse. They were a more feminine and streamlined look for stylish ladies than the spectacles that gentlemen wore.

  Belle Epoque Sapphire and Diamond Lorgnette   Christie’s Sale 2306

Belle Epoque Sapphire and Diamond Lorgnette
Christie’s Sale 2306

Resources / further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorgnette

 

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