• 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

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

     

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    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).

     

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

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

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    Miniature(Source: Sentimental Jewelry Blog

     

     

     

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    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: Hair Work Jewelry

    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.

  • Antique Jewellery in Art

    Antique Jewellery in Art

    We can learn a great deal about antique and vintage jewellery by studying old masterpieces. I hope you enjoy the stunning works below and feel as inspired by them as I do. I choose a few at seeming random but looking at them now as a whole I am struck by the shared sense of calm and grace emanating from the fine lines and sensual colours.  I also note a predominance of pearls and ferronières.

    Herzogin Ludovika in Bayern, geborene Prinzessin von Bayern. Mother of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

    Herzogin Ludovika in Bayern, geborene Prinzessin von Bayern. Mother of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

     

    antique-royals- Joseph Karl Stieler

    Antique-royals- painting by Joseph Karl Stieler

    Maria Feodorovna diamond and pearl necklace with bow motif

    Maria Feodorovna diamond and pearl necklace with bow motif

    Pierre Mignard - The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons

    Full title: The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons Artist: Pierre Mignard Date made: 1691 Source: http://www.nationalgalleryimages.co.uk/ Contact: picture.library@nationalgallery.co.uk Copyright © The National Gallery, London

    Marie Antoinette's Playhouse

    Marie Antoinette’s Playhouse

    Portrait of a Lady by Friedrich Wilhelm Herdt

    Portrait of a Lady by Friedrich Wilhelm Herdt

    If you love these paintings above, you may also enjoy my Antique and Vintage Jewellery in Art and Photography Pinterest board here.

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  • Striking Snakes

    Striking Snakes

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    Antique 14k Gold Green Gem Snake Ring

    Here is wonderful 14 karat (hallmarked) rose gold snake motif ring with a green gem stone (probably an emerald although has not been tested). It has an à jour setting which means the light shines through it beautifully.

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

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    Art Deco Enamel Snake Necklace

    Here is a rare. wonderful and striking Art Deco lariat necklace with a double snake head motif created in cloisonné enamel. It is created from two serpentine strands – one fixed in place by an enamel band and the other loose

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

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    Art Deco Gilded Snake Bracelet

    Here is an unusual and magnificent vintage Art Deco gilded (golden coloured) silver snake (‘ouroboros’) bangle with turquoise and coral embellishments.

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    For more information, see my article: Victorian Serpent Motif

  • Feedspot Blog Award

    Feedspot Blog Award

    I’m happy to report this blog was just voted one of the best 20 vintage jewellery blogs on the Internet and has received an award from Feedspot.

    Thank you to everyone who is following and have helped this blog grow, I do appreciate you very much.

    To see the full list, click here. 

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  • March Treasures

    March Treasures

    Antique 14k Gold Green Gem Snake Ring

    Antique 14k Gold Green Gem Snake Ring

    Here is wonderful 14 karat (hallmarked) rose gold snake motif ring with a green gem stone (probably an emerald although has not been tested). It has an à jour setting which means the light shines through it beautifully.

    Era: Possibly late Victorian or Edwardian.

    Style: Late Victorian Egyptian Revival (The Art Deco era also saw a revival of snake motif jewellery).

    Click here for more details


    Art Deco Gilded Snake Bracelet

    Art Deco Gilded Snake Bracelet

    This unusual and magnificent vintage Art Deco gilded (golden coloured) silver snake (‘ouroboros’) bangle has turquoise and coral embellishments.

    Era: Probably 1920-1940 .  Style: Art Deco / Egyptian Revival / Chinoiserie. Origin: Austria

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    Chinoiserie Dragon Head Bangle

    Chinoiserie Dragon Head Bangle

    Here is a magnificent, rare, antique, heavy and chunky, brass double headed dragon motif woven mesh bangle. (Era: Probably 1890 – 1950)

    The first wave of Chinoiserie (Western and Chinese fusion design) came in the 18th century. Towards the end of the 19th century there was a renewed interest in all things Chinese. This style continued through the Art Deco period and onwards. I haven’t quite been able to make my mind up about the age of this amazing bracelet which is why I’ve given it a wide range.

    Origin: Austria

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    Antique Diamond 14 k Earrings

    Antique Diamond 14 k Earrings

    Truly stunning antique 14 karat gold diamond earrings. (Not hallmarked but electronically tested). The bottom diamonds have an à jour so the light shines through them beautifully. They are primarily constructed from yellow gold with what I believe are white gold rims around the diamonds.

    Era: Possibly pre-1884 as most German and Austrian jewellery had hallmarks after that date. This style is known as ‘Top and Drop’ and has been popular since Georgian times. The style of these earrings is so classic that I haven’t been able to accurately age them.

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    Vintage St. George and Dragon 10 k Gold Earrings

    Vintage St. George and Dragon 10 k Gold Earrings

    Rare vintage hallmarked 10 karat yellow gold coin earrings. They are meaningful, very stylish and unusual. Era: 1973. Style: Art Deco / Spanish / Flamenco

    Origin: England

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    Victorian Gilded Green Bead Earrings

    Victorian Gilded Green Bead Earrings

    Stunning antique gilded 900 silver green bead earrings. They are back fastening.

    Era: Possibly 1840 – 1848.  The style is very ‘Biedermeier’ which would place them before 1848, however the style continued on so they could also be a little later, anywhere up until 1900 or even early 20th century. (The lack of wear on the hallmarks suggests they are not as old as the Biedermeier era, although they definitely have the style. The Biedermeier period in Germany (1815-1848) was an amazing period during which the arts and beauty flourished. The styles were influenced by the courtly styles of the French Rococo movement.)

    CLICK HERE for more details


    © 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.

    Mary-Of-Burgundy-Engagement-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.

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    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.

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    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.

     

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    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.

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

     

     

  • The Heart Motif

    The Heart Motif

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HEART SYMBOL

    The familiar heart shape is an  almost universal symbol of love and has 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 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 developed into the symbol of love that we know today. The heart symbol truly 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.

    Roman_de_la_poire_heart_metaphor

    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.

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

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    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. Hearts were also often seen in engagement and wedding rings. 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 or eternity. 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.

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

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

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

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    Opal necklace circa 1900 Source Pinterest (Christies auction)

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

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    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: http://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.

  • Three Treasures for February

    Three Treasures for February

    Art Deco Amethyst 8 k Gold Drop Earrings

    amethyst earrings

    Here are some hallmarked 8 karat yellow gold and amethyst drop earrings. They are very feminine, magical, utterly stylish and catch the light beautifully.  Late Art Deco, probably 1925-1940.

    Click here for more details

    Amethyst is February’s birthstone so these would make a great gift for yourself or someone else who has a birthday this month!


    Art Deco 14k Amber Gold Earrings

    amber gold

    Here are some gorgeous Art Deco 14 karat gold and amber earrings. They are simply beautiful and full of character in a very ‘Art Deco’ drop shape. The amber is remarkably clear and lacking in inclusions which is generally thought to be the most sought after type.

    Click here for more details


     

    Victorian Coral 14 k Seed Pearl Earrings

    new coral seed

    Here are some classic, petite, 14 k rose gold (not hallmarked) and natural salmon coral and seed pearl button drop front fastening earrings. Personally, I am addicted to this gorgeous style of earring and these are a fine and lovely example.

    Please note: These are tiny earrings and would suit someone who loves petite earrings. They would also look lovely on a child or teenager.

    Era: Probably mid to late 1800s.

    Click here for more details