17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace

Story

This is a jewel that could be housed in any museum, yet is also wearable and deserves to be shown to the world.

This necklace stands as a testament to the 17th century’s obsession with enamel work and with flowers. Gold and enamel have been transmuted into an object of indescribable beauty, entirely hand-made by master craftspeople over 350 years ago.

The central plaque is breathtaking in its adept artistry. A miniature painting in enamel, it depicts three figures floating amid violet hued clouds. One, a reclining female figure is shown robbed in royal blue with a long cloth of jonquil yellow and maroon tones. At her feet rests an enrapt putti; in her hand she holds a staff aloft.

Over her is a winged angel with a flowing green scarf and dressed in rose toned robes. A wreath of leaves rests on her head.

The oval plaque is held in place with a rim of patterned gold. Next are tiny pillows of enamel in black and rose, which appear to be in tulip form. (See later historical notes for more about the tulip in Europe). This is secured with gold serrated edges, typical of the time period.

The back of the enamel is rendered in an opaque white ground. A slightly bluish tint reveals the metal beneath (likely copper). It is thoughtfully decorated in rose tones with a tiny pattern in the center and at four points (one now missing) are raised beads of enamel.

On each side of the plaque are two filigree elements of the most ornate and fine workmanship. Of swirls and coils of gold, they link the plaque to the chain.

Chain-making is something which, on the surface, can be perceived as mundane – merely a backdrop for hanging a pendant. But it can be the most creative, versatile and varied of jewelry-making elements.

This is one of the most intricate and unusual types of chains you will ever see. Round circlets of gold are dimpled with puffed texture and joined together to form vertical rows of four each.

Tiny orbs of gold dot each juncture. These are then placed side by side and joined with hand wrought circles of gold to form flat sections. At the top and bottom of each section are florets of gold with tiny gold stamen centers, and filled with black and white enamel. The flowers demarcate the linking of each section.

Swirled with gold filigree, floral and flora, the clasp is a small masterpiece in itself. The surface is raised with miniscule filigree work. Each end is a tiny white flower of four petals, in the center a large black flower of 5 inner petals and 6 outer petals with white dots and white center. Intricate designs encrust the entire surface as well.

Later sections of four rows of hand-made oval and patterned 14k gold chain have been added toward the back. These can be removed if desired. The remainder of the necklace is 15-18k gold.

A rare and fine reminder that during the Renaissance and up until around 1700, jewelry’s focus was on enamel, rather than on gemstones or diamonds.

17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace 17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace
Item 20774

17th Century Enamel & Gold Necklace

Only One Available

$9,850 USD
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Date: Circa 1650 with 14k oval chains a modern addition. This can be removed if desired.

Measurements: Length of 17 inches long. If oval later chains are removed, it would be 13 7/16 inches long. Center oval is 1 1/8 inches long by 15/16 inches high. Width of chain is 11/16 inches at widest.

Condition: Four rows of oval chain are a modern addition. The central plaque has enamel loss to the central upper border of tulips. The reverse has one knob of enamel missing which hold the gold collet. One black enamel flower has one petal missing enamel located at the back next to the clasp slide and one minute chip on another petal above this. The round chain sections are in a variety of lengths with few inner links are replaced or missing. The clasp is in excellent condition but has two holes for linking to the chain which are empty.

Provenance: From a private collection and originally purchased from The Three Graces in 2005 and obtained in London.

Historical Notes: Tulips were cultivated for medicinal purposes in Amsterdam in 1593 and merchants caught on to the flower’s beauty and rarity. They were cultivated commercially and became the rage of the 17th century and "tulip mania" swept Europe. Not only were the flowers a passion and were purchased with abandon, but the motif appears on a great deal of jewelry throughout the century, as well as other decorative arts.

The painting is of particular note. The 17th century enamelists reached a type of perfection in portraying scenes that has never been reproduced since. The enamelists work by layering powdered glass pigments and firing each successive color and tone. The amount of precision and skill required to render this type of spatial realism, skin tones, flowing cloths and emotion is hard to comprehend. This is one of the finer enamel plaques of its day. Note that the eyes and expressions impart emotional reality, that the robes appear twisted and turned in space, the figures appear lifelike and with depth.

Story

This is a jewel that could be housed in any museum, yet is also wearable and deserves to be shown to the world.

This necklace stands as a testament to the 17th century’s obsession with enamel work and with flowers. Gold and enamel have been transmuted into an object of indescribable beauty, entirely hand-made by master craftspeople over 350 years ago.

The central plaque is breathtaking in its adept artistry. A miniature painting in enamel, it depicts three figures floating amid violet hued clouds. One, a reclining female figure is shown robbed in royal blue with a long cloth of jonquil yellow and maroon tones. At her feet rests an enrapt putti; in her hand she holds a staff aloft.

Over her is a winged angel with a flowing green scarf and dressed in rose toned robes. A wreath of leaves rests on her head.

The oval plaque is held in place with a rim of patterned gold. Next are tiny pillows of enamel in black and rose, which appear to be in tulip form. (See later historical notes for more about the tulip in Europe). This is secured with gold serrated edges, typical of the time period.

The back of the enamel is rendered in an opaque white ground. A slightly bluish tint reveals the metal beneath (likely copper). It is thoughtfully decorated in rose tones with a tiny pattern in the center and at four points (one now missing) are raised beads of enamel.

On each side of the plaque are two filigree elements of the most ornate and fine workmanship. Of swirls and coils of gold, they link the plaque to the chain.

Chain-making is something which, on the surface, can be perceived as mundane – merely a backdrop for hanging a pendant. But it can be the most creative, versatile and varied of jewelry-making elements.

This is one of the most intricate and unusual types of chains you will ever see. Round circlets of gold are dimpled with puffed texture and joined together to form vertical rows of four each.

Tiny orbs of gold dot each juncture. These are then placed side by side and joined with hand wrought circles of gold to form flat sections. At the top and bottom of each section are florets of gold with tiny gold stamen centers, and filled with black and white enamel. The flowers demarcate the linking of each section.

Swirled with gold filigree, floral and flora, the clasp is a small masterpiece in itself. The surface is raised with miniscule filigree work. Each end is a tiny white flower of four petals, in the center a large black flower of 5 inner petals and 6 outer petals with white dots and white center. Intricate designs encrust the entire surface as well.

Later sections of four rows of hand-made oval and patterned 14k gold chain have been added toward the back. These can be removed if desired. The remainder of the necklace is 15-18k gold.

A rare and fine reminder that during the Renaissance and up until around 1700, jewelry’s focus was on enamel, rather than on gemstones or diamonds.