Georgian Garnet & Paste Earrings
The mid-18th century was a turning point in which jewelry was separated into pieces worn in the daytime and during the evening. Diamonds were typically “saved” for the more important night events; semiprecious stones such as garnets and pearls were favored for day wear.
Cluster of gems and pastes became popular in England and Europe in the 18th century. This example displays a version of a late 18th century daytime earring. Although all the stones appear to be original, it may be that this Georgian jewel did not begin as a pair of earrings but was converted from a larger suite of jewelry. A two-element articulated design incorporates flat cut garnets of a deep port wine color and silvery white pastes, foiled, in rub over settings and set closed back in silver. The surmount features a three garnet arching crown over a single clear paste supporting a larger floral cluster pendant drop of garnets and white pastes. Later date 14k yellow gold ear wires have replaced the original fittings.
Condition: Good; pastes have become silvery grey due to patination of the foiling; modern ear wires and gold fitting to the back with some silver solder evident; a bit of patina to silver reverse.
Measurements: 1-5/8 inches (3.2 cm) in length by just shy of ¾ of an inch (1.7 cm) in width. This pair of antique earrings has a weight of 6.3 grams (4.0 dwt).
Date: Circa 1780
Overall Scale: Medium
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