Monday, May 5, 2014

Mastery of Design: The Dame Joan Evans Filigree Necklace, 1825-30

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Necklace of Gold Mesh, chrysoprase, rubies and diamonds.
France, c. 1825
From the Collection of Dame Joan Evans
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the 1820s, gold was put to good use in a variety of new ways--mesh necklaces and bracelets, gold chain and wire work became the fashion. Colored golds also became quite popular.
  Goldsmith experimented with colors.  For example:  in gold alloy more copper gives a redder gold, while extra zinc or zinc and silver will result in a pale yellow gold.

The technique of filigree with spirals and granules (cannetille and grainti) was revived in France then copied in England. While consumers appreciated the intricacy of the style, jewelers liked the economical nature of the designs which appeared to be weighty, but actually used less gold.

From the important jewelry collection of Dame Joan Evans, we have this necklace with pendant of gold mesh and filigree with cannetille and grainti decoration.
  Made in France between 1825 and 1830, it is set with chrysoprases, brilliant-cut diamonds and rubies.

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