Cleopatra's Jewels

Antique pendant brooch with large peridot & pearls, Great Britain circa 1900

In the late years of the Victorian reign, the British rediscovered an ancient place steeped in legend: St. John's Island in the Red Sea off Egypt. Peridots were recovered here in ancient times until it was forgotten and then rediscovered only in the 19th century. Since the British took over the rule of the country on the Nile from 1882 onwards, the gemstones of Egypt found their way into the British jewellery of those years. The peridot played a special role here, because the green stone is said to be the favorite stone of the last pharaoh Cleopatra. With the resumption of peridot mining on St. John's Island, a great fashion began which brought peridot into the focus of elegant jewelry designs. Peridots had previously been so sought after and yet so rare that particularly large and beautiful specimens had to be removed from old pieces of jewellery for a long time in order to be reworked (cf. Arthur Herbert Church, Precious Stones..., Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1913, p. 109). Now jewellery designers and lovers could indulge themselves completely and almost without restriction in this passion for the green gemstone. Here now is a particularly large, rare peridot at the centre of a typically British jewel of the turn of the century. The large stone, weighing approximately 2.50 ct, has been shaped in a faceted cut, which brings out different shades of green when the light hits it. The stone is embedded in bold sweeps of gold set with natural pearls forming small leaves. A larger natural pearl is suspended pendulously beneath the graceful weave of pearl-studded gold bars. An additional fine gold-plating over the 15-carat gold of the setting gives the jewel a particularly velvety glow and supports the colour effect of the green gemstones. The piece of jewellery is in very good condition and can be worn both as a pendant and as a brooch. The large eyelet can be easily unhooked thanks to a hook on the back and a matching cord chain is included. We discovered this strikingly beautiful piece of jewellery in London, where it probably originated on the threshold of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

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.