Sunday, March 1, 2015

After a Fashion: An Enamel and Diamond Necklace 1660-1900

Enamel and Diamond Bow Necklace
with Pearls and a Large Sapphire Drop
Western Europe
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This necklace was over two hundred years in the making. The centerpiece of the gorgeous work is a bow of turquoise, opaque enamel, set with diamonds. This was made in Western Europe around 1660 and was acquired by Lady Alma-Tameda. This enamel and diamond brooch was adapted into a necklace in 1800. The chain consists of alternating enamel bows of white, black and blue, backed in yellow gold. Near 1900, the pearl and large sapphire drop was added to the central bow along with two mounted enamel pieces in a floral design.

The floral pieces, as well as the necklace as a whole, insist on maintaining an organic feel. Therefore, the sapphire drop mimics the natural shape of the Baroque pearls and the diamonds—even the later additions—are table-cut so as to rely on their own inherent sparkle as opposed to overworked faceting.

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