Friday, March 22, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Russian Zigzag Bracelet, c. 1860-1895

Bracelet of Rubies and Diamonds set in Gold
Russia, 1860-1895
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the mid Nineteenth Century, the bracelet was one of the most important pieces of jewelry in a woman’s sparkly arsenal.  They were worn stacked high on the arms—bracelets, not women.  

As the V&A points out, “The French connoisseur Edmond Joly de Bammeville declared that the ‘daytime’ bracelet was the ‘main feature of national dress’ in England. Up to seven or eight of differing design might be worn between the wrist and elbow on both arms. Alternatively, they could be worn in pairs and even over gloves.”

Here’s a pretty nifty example of the trend.
  This bracelet of an interlocking zigzag design of alternating diamonds and rubies is set in a gold framework.  It was made in Russia between 1860 and 1895  by an unknown jeweler and is, simply put, quite stunning.

This was the sort of bracelet favored by the then-future Queens Alexandra and Mary, at the time, respectively Princess of Wales and Duchess of York.  Queen Mary would have, I think, especially liked this piece.  

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