Victorian Seed Pearl & Enamel Necklace
Although there have been and will continue to be exceptions, change in jewelry styles arrives slowly. The era we know as Victorian lasted almost seven decades and has been defined by three periods: Early or Romantic, Mid or The Grand Period and Later or the Aesthetic Period.
Events such as the death of the Royal Consort Prince Albert and the major archaeological discoveries had a great impact on not only the national mood but became a source of inspiration and influence on the jewelry designers of the day. Of course there still remained vestiges of previous trends and portents of what was to come in the area of the decorative arts.
This mid-19th century necklace is clearly a result of the impact of classical revivalism and the somber effect of HRH Queen Victoria’s loss. Black enamel has been applied to 14k yellow gold beads in two variations: solid enamel and ¾ enamel with a centered ring of gold set with natural half seed pearls. Hand-strung on a foxtail gold chain, the beads alternate between solid and three-quarter and terminate with the original gold barrel clasp. In homage to the ancients, a fringe of five graduated teardrop beads dangles.
Measurements: 15 inches (38 cm) in total length; beads are just shy of ¼ of an inch (0.6 cm); dangles vary from 7/16 of an inch (1.1 cm) to 9/16 of an inch (1.3 cm) in length and 3/16 of an inch (0.4 cm) to ¼ of an inch (0.6 cm) in width. This antique necklace has a weight of 29.1 grams (18.7 dwt).
Date: Circa 1860 – 1870
Overall Scale: Small.