Late 17th C. Diamond & Garnet Pendant
Early jewelry has an aesthetic that, for some, is an immediate thrill; for others, it is training for the eye. A bit less fluid yet bold and often strong of line and thought, these forms can be most complex. When you see silver or gold work with high domes and intricate scallops and lines on the surface, often you are face-to-face with a jewel that has remarkably survived many centuries. Here is a breath-taking example of later 17th century silver-smithery. The piece is studded with flat-cut garnets and minute diamonds used as accents (diamonds were still very scarce and usually for the ultra-rich). The overall form is bow and drop, which has been carried well through the 18th century, inspiring a surprising amount of jewelry.
Note the high silver domes with two holding minute diamonds imperceptibly peeking out from the tops. Two additional drops hold large garnets with silver spread around the edges like butter. The sides of each stone are encased within metal. Lacework (tracery) holds other garnets. The bow is stylized and strong, dotted with wine colored gems. In all the pendant carries twenty-nine (29) garnets. Thick and massive, the silver work is at point nearly 4-mm thick with the domes over 6-mm. Measures 1-1/16 inches wide and just under 2 inches long (4.5 cm by 5 cm long).
Most of the reverse still retains its sheen of gold that has been finely layered on the back to protect clothing and skin. The original ribbon loops and pendant bale remain evident. Overall, in very fine condition with little of note and less than one expects over the course of time, is a bit of wear to the gold layer at the back; one small garnet appears replaced. Circa 1670-1690. This early piece must be touched and held to bask in its historical magic.