Friday, September 6, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Phillips Bros. Garnet Necklace, 1870

Garnet Necklace
Robert Phillips
The Victoria & Albert Museum

London jeweler Robert Phillips was doubtlessly one of the most influential jewelers of the late Nineteenth Century. His firm, Phillips Brothers, was known for spearheading the Revivalist taste in London--a trend which borrowed visual cues from a range of historic periods and a variety of sources.

Mrs. Haweis, a society writer, recalled one visit to Phillips in Cockspur Street in her book, "The Art Of Beauty."

She wrote:

"Under the direction of Messrs Phillips, the most perfect models are sought for the ornaments they furnish. Museums and picture galleries are ransacked for devices of necklaces, earrings and pendants."

This garnet necklace, dating to c. 1870, is a great example of Phillips' historically-inspired wares. The necklace of gold mesh is punctuates with gold pendants in the form of vultures which are hung with almandine garnet carbuncles. The reverse shows the plumed mark of Phillips Brothers of Cockspur Street.

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