The Language of Birds

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.

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Victorian turquoise set swallow or bluebird brooch

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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’.

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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

SWAN

Swans were symbolic of ‘purity and grace’.

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Late Victorian swan brooch. Previously for sale at Elder and Bloom.

HUMMING BIRD

The meaning of the humming bird was ‘God’s Tiny Miracle’

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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.

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

LOVE BIRDS

Love birds signified faithfulness, eternal love and marriage

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Victorian ‘love bird’ brooch.

BLACKBIRDS

Blackbirds were worn during mourning.

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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.

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Victorian parrot pendant with real feathers.

See also:

The Language of Stones

The Language of Flowers

© 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

Jewellery of the 1925 Paris Exhibition

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’, however, 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’.

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.)

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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.

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Art Deco Theatre Bag. Elder and Bloom.

ISLAMIC INFLUENCES

Stars and geometrical themes were featured.

CARVED GEMSTONES

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

EGYPTIAN INFLUENCES

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

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Art Deco Snake Bangle. Elder and Bloom.

CHINESE INFLUENCES

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

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Art Deco Theatre Bag with Chinese Motifs. Elder and Bloom.

N 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/

© 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.

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Green Gemstones

Green Gemstones
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Antique emerald and pearl gold 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

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.)

© 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.

Jewelry Eras

Jewelry Eras

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

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Retro Era Italian angel skin coral and 18 karat gold cocktail ring. Elder and Bloom.

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.

 

 

The Edwardian Era

The Edwardian Era
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 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 a 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

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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).

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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.

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

BLACK AND WHITE

Around 1910, 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.

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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.

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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 were 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.

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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, 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.

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Edwardian Lady appearing to have a buckle in her hair.

MIX AND MATCH

Parures were no longer in fashion as women wore 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’.

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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 all be 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

Antique Jewelry Care
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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.

© 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 Spanish 18 karat Gold Coral Earrings

I couldn’t resist sharing these rare and beautiful earrings that I just put in the store. Please click here to find out more about them.

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If you are interested in learning more about antique and vintage coral please see here and here.