Friday, August 30, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Townshend Orange Tourmaline, 1800-1869

Orange Tourmaline
The Townshend Collection
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here’s another of the 154 gems which the Reverend Chauncey Hare Townshend bequeathed to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A). The collection included several gems which had previously been owned by the Hope family (those folks who had the big blue diamond) and, in 1913, the collection was added to by Sir A.H. Church.

This rare stone is actually a tourmaline. We tend to think of tourmalines as being pink, green or blue, but this one is a rusty orange with a bit of brown in it. It’s quite a find! Townshend purchased this stone from H.P. Hope. This setting of gold is likely not the setting which had been used by Hope. Many of the rings which Townshend purchased from Hope have shoulders or bezels embellished with diamonds. Townshend had several of them reset in simpler mounts so that the stone itself would be the focus. In this case, because of the rarity of the color, Townshend wished for nothing to distract from the tourmaline.

No comments: