Victorian Etruscan Revival Earrings
The mid years of the Victorian era is known as the Grand Period. No wonder as the jewelry which emerged during this time frame became bolder – each piece had so much more presence than ever before. Moreover, the fashion of revival jewelry influenced by the Etruscan, Greek and Renaissance “cultures” truly came into its own.
This long pair of articulated three-element section earrings provides a good characterization of the cardinal signs of Etruscan revival jewelry. Applied wire work and granulation (small orbs of gold) virtually decorates the entire earring. A centered modified open heart-shaped form is appointed with scrolling and twisted rope.
Most jewels of this type avoided the use of gemstones and relieved upon the intricate gold work for adornment. Attached to the bottom of the “heart” is a stylized semi-corolla of flower petals bringing a balance overall sense of symmetry to the earrings. In addition, the design relies upon the use of geometric elements in conjunction with phytomorphic or plant morphology. Finally, the process known as “blooming” accentuates these 14k yellow gold earrings with a bloom of 18k yellow gold which leaves the earrings with an amazingly beautiful matte finish of golden buttery hues.
Date: Circa 1860.
Measurements: 2 inches (5.0 cm) in length including ear wire by 13/16 of an inch (3.0 cm) at the widest. Weighs 9.1 grams (5.8 dwt) for the pair
Informational Notes: “Blooming, a popular finishing technique for karat gold jewelry from 1870 to 1890, was first documented in 1853. The means for creating a bloom finish involved dipping a karat gold item into a boiling mixture of hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid), saltpetre (potassium nitrate), salt and water. This process burned off any alloys on the surface resulting in an alloy-free, thin layer of soft pure gold on the item. This thin gold skin was dotted by an infinite number of microscopic pits or holes which caused the matte sheen. The effect is reminiscent of the soft skin found on a peach. Dipping the item into the boiling mixture was referred to as colouring, and the resulting sheen was termed bloom.”- from Antique Jewelry University reference.
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