Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mastery of Design: The Aragon Star Earrings, 1795

The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Aragon Star Earrings were made in 1705 of chrysoberyls set in gold and silver with open drops comprised of stars and crescents in the center. This pair of earrings takes its name from their place of origin—Aragon, Spain.

Chrysoberyl is a name used for a variety of gemstones of similar properties and composition, including peridot, alexandrite, cat’s eye and chrysolite. These versatile stones were much admired during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. With their wide range of colors, exceptional brilliance and a hardness of 8.5, they were found to be a sturdy and attractive gemstone. Clear or white chrysolite, along with white spinel, were often used as an alternative to diamonds in order to create exquisite pieces like these earrings that were slightly more affordable. Now, these stones, along with spinel, are quite rare and fetch as high a price as the average white diamond. 

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