|Necklace of Gold and Diamonds|
United States, Circa 1960
The Victoria & Albert Museum
For several years, after the Second World War, gemstones were so expensive as to be prohibitive and their trade was extremely rare in Europe. Gold jewelry therefore became fashionable for those who could not afford pieces which were encrusted with gemstones.
A trick employed by many jewelers to make their gold jewelry more affordable was to reduce the amount of precious metal that was used by using wire, often corded in ornamental patterns. These pieces appeared heavy and chunky, but were often hollow. Small diamonds were set into these playful pieces in order to create the illusion of sparkle and color on a greater scale.
Here’s a great example of this practice. Made around 1960, this necklace of gold is set with small diamonds. It was made in the United States.