Splendid fantasy

High quality Art Deco diamond pendant, platinum & gold, Alfons Grupp circa 1930

With the invention of gaslight and then electric light at the end of the 19th century, glistening brightness suddenly filled the interiors of Europe. No more dark, yellow candlelight, but the white glow of bright lamps made the ladies' jewellery shine and glitter as never before. No wonder that as a result of these developments a new fashion also emerged: white jewels made of diamonds in silver settings responded to the new lighting conditions and replaced the previous more colourful jewellery designs. In general, jewellery was increasingly richly set with sparkling diamonds to create an ever more luxurious and rich appearance. At the great balls in Paris, London and St. Petersburg, ever more magnificent diamond necklaces were presented, as well as tiaras, brooches and rings, all dreams in white diamonds. The name of the era, the Belle Époque, still indicates the goal of the period: To shine in beauty. But the fashion for white jewellery also remained current in the following decades, right up to Art Deco. Only the materials of the settings changed. The fast tarnishing silver was first replaced by platinum overlays or the white gold developed shortly after the world war. The necklace pendant presented here also presents its impressive glitter in platinum. The design presents itself as a filigree openwork shield that appears as delicate as lace. Effective shadow gaps in curved arabesques are arranged around a central diamond weighing approximately 0.12 ct. Thirteen smaller rose-cut diamonds set the multifaceted frame with small highlights and fine mille handles divide the surfaces into thousands of small elevations that play with light and shadow. The jewel with its platinum face is forged from yellow gold on the reverse; the antique chain, probably created at the same time, is also made of platinum. The pendant shows the workshop mark of Alfons Grupp's Pforzheim manufactory "AGRU" on the back of its loop and can be dated to around 1930. The fine piece of jewellery is excellently preserved.

In the years shortly before 1890 there was a true revolution in the field of jewellery. The excess of historicism in form and colour appeared to be no longer in keeping with the times throughout Europe. Increasing mechanization, also in jewelry making, had repeated the same forms over and over again until they had finally become interchangeable and arbitrary. The jewellers feared for their existence: jewellery sales were declining rapidly, a new fashion was not in sight! At the beginning of the new decade the crisis was overcome. White jewels were the solution, and they quickly caught on. Instead of many poorly combinable pieces of jewellery, ladies now concentrated on a few, but all the more high-quality objects. They were united by their common colour: white diamonds and pearls shone in settings of silver, later platinum and white gold. The designs are filigree and completely restrained in their formal language. Leaves, tendrils and light geometric shapes suddenly dominated the picture, which until just now had been populated by putti in large numbers. The ring presented here is a piece of this new fashion, which remained current into the first years of Art Deco.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.