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Victorian Grand Period French Jet Collar


Throughout the history of jewelry making some of the materials used in its construction remain constant (such as precious metals) and others change as quickly as do the seasons. It was during the mid Victorian period that the use of black materials such as gutta percha, jet, bog oak and vulcanite became very fashionable. The term “French jet” refers to a type of black glass. More than likely the label was applied as a marketing ploy to equate it to Whitby jet; imitation not withstanding, it possesses properties that enable intricate construction and a great delicacy.

Ultimate in its size and design and a marvelous treat for the senses, a fringed necklace encloses the neck as it gracefully drapes the décolletage. Cool to the touch, hexagonal, round and square beads are multi-faceted to catch the light. Any subtle movement generates a soft clinking sound as the beads collide and their surfaces shine brightly. Each bead is joined to its companions with Japanned base metal links and the original double fish hook clasp provides secure closure. The reverse has typical construction with a matte black lacquer finish.

Measures 15-1/2 inches or 39.3 cm in length by 2-1/4 inches (5.7 cm) wide and has a weight of 95.3 grams. Condition is very good; a bit of wear to the lacquer finish and to the “O” fittings at the connection points; one drop fitting repaired; retains original clasp. Dates to Mid Victorian Period circa 1870.

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