18th C. Amethyst & Enamel Button Earrings
One aspect of the history of jewelry that we at The Three Graces find particularly alluring is the “recycling” or “reappropriation” of items of adornment. Transmuting one object to another can be seen as a form of alchemy by a jeweler.
Here we have a classic example of the button, either for cuff or for the bodice transformed in a pair of attention grabbing earrings. The button itself is of high carat 22k yellow gold. A three dimensional dome shape immediately offers visual interest.
Centered is a faceted round amethyst of a passionate pale hue set in an elongated rub over collet of gold. Radiating out is a multi pointed star configuration with a white enamel ground punctuated with black dots. This particular combination was most prevalent in the 1600s especially with the use of tiny dots. Edges of the star are outline in gold and stand against a black enamel backdrop. A smooth perimeter encloses a band of work ruffled gold. Later date 9k yellow gold ear wires have been added.
Date: Early to mid 18th century; possibly late 17th century.
Measurements: 13/16 of an inch (2.0 cm) including ear wire by 9/16 of an inch (1.4 cm) in diameter; and 3/8 of an inch (1.0 cm) in depth. Weight of 4.2 grams (2.7 dwt) for the pair.
Condition: Very good for their age; both amethysts chipped and have surface wear; one pushed in just slightly; on both earrings black enamel has been restored in a number of areas; later ear wires; backs have dimples and center is slightly imperfect (see photographs).
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