Antique Diamond & Platinum Lorgnette
The lorgnette, from the French “lorgner” meaning to stare or peer, became popularized in 1785. Typically used by women, it is a pair of optical lenses mounted with a handle which at times was used as a status symbol and for affectation.
The example presented here is perhaps at the zenith of the genre. The handle is crafted of onyx and topped with a platinum tulip-shaped end cap encrusted with rose cut diamonds. A solid platinum “O” fitting allows the lorgnette to have a chain or ribbon attached and worn around the neck for easy accessibility. A matching design on the other end attaches to a very beautiful and most cleverly designed mechanism (also of platinum and diamonds) which contains a spring attached to a small that unlatches a catch enabling the two hinged lenses to spring apart. With forty-two (42) rose cut diamonds of approximately 1 carat in total diamond weight set into platinum, the wearer of these spectacles certainly had something to be stared at!
Hallmarks: French mark for platinum.
Measurements: 3-7/8 inches (9.8 cm) in length by 1-5/8 inches (4 cm) in width when closed. Open, it extends to 6-1/8 inches (15.5 cm) in length. Spectacle lens is 1-1/2 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter; handle is 2-5/16 inches (6 cm) in length. This antique lorgnette has a weight of 20.6 grams (13.2 dwt).
Date & Origin: Circa 1890 – 1910 and is French in origin.
Overall Scale: Large