Haute Victorian Gem-Set Pendant & Chain
The grandeur of those Victorian times is clearly expressed in this 14k yellow gold pendant brooch. Set with a combination of richly colored gemstones, it is almost in deference to the deep enamels which ornamented the Holbeinesque pieces of the same era. The configuration and overall symmetry are clearly inspired by those creations.
The pendant radiates out from a central faceted natural sapphire of approximately 2.35 carats to a surround of twelve (12) old mine and cushion cut diamonds to an oval of twelve (12) natural rubies (with an estimated total weight of 3 carats) interspersed by four (4) natural pearls (guaranteed to be natural) from 5 to 5.5 mm in size arranged at the cardinal points. A diamond studded ribbon motif in trefoil style surmounts the piece. The lower element appears as a modified castellated perimeter with diamond dotted fringe which suspends a gold capped diamond set natural tear drop pearl 10 mm by 7.5 mm. x 7.4 mm. In all, fifty-four (54) rose cut and forty-six (46) old mine and cushion cut diamonds equal an estimated 1.9 carats.
Typical for the period, the chain is 14k yellow gold ornamented with eighty-eight (88) natural pearls. The chain concludes with a box clasp set with an untested pearl.
Date: Circa 1870.
Measurements: Pendant is 2-3/16 inches (5.4 cm) in length by 1 inch (2.6 cm) at the widest. Chain is 16 inches (41.7 cm) in total length. Weight of 21.9 grams (14.1 dwt) for pendant and chain.
Condition: Excellent and superb over all; safety clasp is a later replacement for original "C" clasp; a bit of silver solder evident to reverse of pendant bale and is not visible from the front.
Note: Stones have not been removed from their mounts to preserve the integrity of the setting. All diamond and gemstone weights have been approximated by measurement and formula and may vary from actual weights.
Historical Notes: The 1867 Cape Colony South African diamond discovery immeasurable changed how the world perceived diamonds. Before that discovery diamonds were only mined in Brazil and in India and were quite rare. Once viewed as the exclusive purvey of royalty and the uber-rich who were the less than “1 per centers” of today. The consequent availability in terms of both numbers and cost led to the development for the fashion of diamond jewelry which overtook the later part of the 19th century.
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