Good morning, my darlings! Today we’re going to talk about the noble necklace: more specifically, notable styles of necklaces throughout history, as illustrated by the glorious inventory of renowned jewelry dealer, M. Khordipour.
We’re starting with two fantastic (and very different) examples of Victorian necklaces! The first one is a wonderful example of the sentimentality of the Victorian era. In a time when what one said out loud was carefully regulated by societal rules, inanimate objects – like what one wore and how – took on great meaning.
This black enamel and diamond locket is a wonderful example of Victorian sentimental jewelry. It was probably made to hold a likeness or a memento of a loved one – a miniature painting or a lock of hair. The black enamel suggests that it may have been a mourning piece, worn in tribute to a loved one lost. Whatever its original intention, the vivid contrast of the yellow gold, pristine black enamel, and bright diamonds makes it a striking and wearable piece.
The second Victorian piece we’re looking at fits into a category of jewelry that you know I adore: archaeological revival.
In the mid 1800’s, an Italian jeweler named Fortunato Pio Castellani, perfected the technique of creating jewelry in a style inspired by the ancient Etruscan jewels of the past. He’d been interested in designs inspired by antiquity for some time, but his personal style really flourished after he and his sons were given access to a large collection of artifacts by the papal bank, which had seized them from a bankrupt collector.
When the Victorian world – already in love with Egyptian revival styles – saw Castellani’s Etruscan-style jewels, they feel in love. The style became wildly popular, influencing the designs of other makers of the time.
This exquisite Victorian Etruscan revival set (I know earrings are off topic, but I couldn’t resist including them) is by French goldsmith, Eugène Fontenay. He was also known for his work in the archaeological revival style – and for creating this emerald and diamond tiara for Empress Eugenie.
The invention of the oxyacetylene torch in 1903 meant that platinum jewelry exploded onto the scene in the Edwardian era, inspiring the creation of designs that took advantage of the strong, bright, beautiful metal’s unique properties. Edwardian jewelry is delicate, with lots of flourishes, garlands, bows, and lace-like platinum openwork frequently embellished with diamonds.
Edwardian jewelry is not hard to love.
Above, you can see two M Khordipour beauties from the Edwardian era. The pendant on the right is a perfect example of the airy, spun-sugar delicacy that was made possible in the Edwardian era by advances in platinum-working technology. This piece features the textbook Edwardian platinum openwork, accented by onyx, pearls, and diamonds. Read More