Antique Early Georgian Garnet Necklace
Grandeur – it a word well suited to the 18th centuries urbane and metropolitan center’s decorative and fine arts. Just pick up a costume, architecture or fine art book covering this era you will encounter some of the most sumptuous and regal of overtones in every area – a hold over from the magnificence of the 17th century. Garnets were also a major force in jewelry and the early and mid Georgian period is replete with examples still extant today. Almandine garnets – rarely seen today – encrusted many a jewel. Their fuchsia pink and mulberry tones are so feminine and lustrous.
Choker’s and necklaces that sat tight upon the throat were also a great fashionable accessory. Often they were threaded on ribbons and usually fairly wide. They either were in themselves a band of gems or may also have included a center pendant or even large drop such as a girandole. The previous period of Queen Anne (1702-1714) saw large chunky paste chokers adorning many a fashionable grande dame.
Presented here is an example of one of sheer poetry. Simply one of the finer necklaces we have had the good fortune to offer. Circa 1730-1750 – the motif is a ribbon and lyrical flowers. Asymmetrical in orientation, this earlier part of the century tended toward non-symmetrical designs. A sinuous band of garnets winds its way through the entire length of the necklace. Atop and bottom this are stems, flowers and leaves along with their arching stamens. Each stone is flat cut, with a planar top surface and just a few simple facets on each edge. Over 200 garnets bedeck the surface and provide warmth, light and fire.
The stones are all set into metal, with closed backs then foiled underneath to bring out the vivid pink tones of the gems. All hand wrought, the silver is quite thin and fine. And being that silver is difficult to work with in such a delicate manner – it is quite an achievement by the master craftsman that spent their hours toiling over this jewel. Note the way the varying thicknesses of the ribbon undulate through the choker as well as the deep and rich silver work on the back with its silky patina.
Traditionally this is worn by tying or sewing a ribbon to each of the end loops and the placing around the neck and tying a bow at the back. Measures 7 3/16 inches long with each link approximately 3/4 inches wide (18.2 cm by 2.2 cm wide). Now cased in an early, but not the original, fitted green velvet and cream silk lined leather case of Harvey & Gore, 4 Burlington Gardens, London. Harvey & Gore still exist today and are still one of the premier antique jewelry stores having been established in 1720.
Condition: Excellent overall. Restoration has occurred to the small "O" ring joints of each link and the end ribbon loops (of gold) and these are not original. All stones are in remarkable condition with natural and characteristic variations of shade and hue; as is the silver work and overall appearance and quality of the garnets. It no longer fits its fitted case perfectly as at some point a link was inverted and the ribbon was not a continuous element. We have righted that error but the box does close tight. Most likely English in origin again, circa 1730-1750. Superb and quite scarce. Just picture this draped on your nekc, your silk taffeta embroidered gown clinging to your person, its hand made lace sleeves falling about your arms, your silken hand-painted fan wafting the night breeze to your heavily china'd face.
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