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An Early 18th C. River of Diamonds

SOLD Item 10859

The Three Graces is exceptionally thrilled to present this remarkable diamond rivière choker necklace dating to the first part of the 18th century. Silver and rose cut diamonds are the medium transformed by the art of the jeweler. Twenty-five links meet twenty-five (25) rose cut diamonds. Rivières are typically a single line of stones or elements, sometimes graduated, and worn as a choker or high about the neck.

Flowing with a timeless elegance, the links of the necklace graduate in size from 5/16 of an inch (0.8 cm) up to 3/8 of an inch (0.9 cm) for the round links (excluding their tips). These links are in a conical form ascending upward and have at the base deeply cut serrated saw teeth embellishments. Typical of late 17th and early 18th century jewelry, we often see these domes set with various gems or with paste.

Next are joined scrolling open work links with a small center dome and another rose cut diamond. While these are consistent in size throughout, the height of the domes increases toward the center.

Rose cut diamonds are set closed backed and foiled with a rub over mount. Given this, carat weight is impossible to determine; the gems range in size from about 3 mm up to about 5 mm in width and length. Smaller stones of 1 to 2 mm dapple the scrolled links.

Classic for this period is the reverse with deep, sculptural work for the domes. Similar in technique, it is gilded with yellow gold to protect the wearer from patina from the silver. The small C-shaped fittings at each end are the original ribbon mounts. (The ribbons are modern and can easily be changed).

Condition: Excellent and remarkable for its age with little of note; light wear to the gilded surfaces; two tiny chips to one diamond.

Measurements: Length is 11-3/8 inches (28.9 cm) not including the ribbons. Width is 7/16 of an inch (1.2 cm) at the center and 3/8 of an inch (1 cm) at the end fittings. Weighs 29.8 grams.

Historical Notes: Little jewelry from the earlier part of the 18th century seems to have survived; even less is written about the time period. More examples from the mid to later 1800s exist. While the late 17th and most of the 18th century were known for grandeur in the Baroque and other ornate styles, there was a period in the very early 18th century where English jewelry is often referred to as Queen Anne. Her brief reign took place from 1702 - 1714. Usually the jewelry is linear and simpler in fashion. Often rivières were the choice of necklace and double large stone earrings were the fashion.

Nonetheless, this necklace has elements of the austerity of the earlier years, yet employs Baroque links of open fretwork. In this rivière, the cone shape popular in the later 17th century is still used, as well as the wonderful scalloped or saw tooth edging around the base. The basic design is linear yet embellished with flourishes and meticulous craftsmanship.

Most necklaces of the 18th century were placed around the neck with ribbon. Consequently the original fittings are C-shaped loops at each end that allow a length of ribbon to be sewn to each side and then tied in a bow at the back of the neck.