Compelling Antique Chrysoberyl Rivière Bracelet
Chrysoberyl is a little understood gemstone. Very popular with the Iberian peninsula residents in the 18th century, mines in Brazil at the time produced these gleaming gemstones; it was adapted for use in a variety of stupendous jewelry from rings to earrings. Often referred to as chrysolite, most examples are rare today and collectors have latched onto its infinite mysterious colors (from pale yellow to puce soft greens), its high refractive index (how shimmering it is) and its relative rarity in early examples. Chrysoberyl’s refractive index is about 1.75, similar to ruby and sapphire and very high compared with many other gemstones. Simply, it exudes fire and brilliance.
Spanish examples tend toward the grand. The English also used it is jewelry, although few examples remain. Versions from the Isles tend to be a bit more understated. Here is a rare example, and what a magnificent one it is. Resembling green "diamonds" for their sheer brilliance, the stones are arranged in a simple line or rivière (literally river in French for a river of stones). Set horizontally, the gems are faceted and foiled for added brilliance. Set deep within wells of rose gold, a striking juxtaposition with the hues of pale greens, it is quintessentially early 19th century. Each cup is deep – about 5 mm, and the gold is now as smooth as silk from decades upon decades of caressing. Feeling as good as it looks, it is tactile and visual. Edges are crimped and tight to prevent moisture from penetrating into the well or foil. Twenty-one (21) stones slide down the bracelet, measuring from 8 mm by 6 mm to almost 1 cm by 7 mm. Slight graduation down the lines gives a highly refined appearance.
We estimate the weight to be over 20 carats, however, please note than an accurate carat weight is not possible unless the gems are removed from their mountings. Total weight of the bracelet is 22 grams.
This bracelet is an English example of one of the only forms of this sort – even in texts examples are not to be found. The total length is 8-1/8 inches long (20.4 cm long. It is in very fine condition with very light general wear with one stone just a hint less sparkling than the rest. This shows up quite pronounced in the photos but is actually very subtle in person. In most light it is truly difficult to even detect it although bright and direct studio lights makes this very evident in photographs. Divine! Original clasp and untouched, rare; for the discerning client. Comments from every quarter will arise when this graces the wrist. Circa 1800-1810 and most likely English in origin.
Note: we have photographed this in both studio light and natural light to try to reveal the actual color of the chrysoberyl stones, however neither does reveal the true brilliance and color.