• 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

    phoenix represented renewal, resurrection, rebirth and immortality.

    Griffin

    Griffins signified great courage.

     

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    Art Nouveau Griffing 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.

    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/

    © 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.

  • Red and Pink Gemstones

    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

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    Jugendstil Pendant. Elder and Bloom

     

    PINK SAPPHIRE

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

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    Annular brooch with pink sapphires. British Museum AF.2702

    GARNET

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

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    Victorian Garnet Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

    RED SPINEL

    Red Spinel can be red to brownish red and pink

     

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    Vintage red spinel earrings. Elder and Bloom.

     

    PINK TOURMALINE

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

     

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

    MORGANITE

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

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    PINK TOPAZ

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

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    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

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    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

     

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    Red Beryl or Bixbite Estate Brooch.

    KUNZITE

    This is a violet-pink to pink-violet spodumene

    Discovered in 1902

     

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    Kunzite and silver brooch.

    RUBELLITE

    This is a red to violet-red tourmaline

    First discovered 1822

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    Rubellite Estate Ring.

    © 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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