Man-made Gem

Antique Brooch with Spinel & Diamonds, Prague Around 1905 and 1925

"Brilliant feats of engineering are today's synthetic stones, which often can only be distinguished from genuine stones by even the expert after laborious examination. Especially popular among these artistic creations are spinels in the color of aquamarine, with an enchanting clarity and translucency. Set in real silver, the ripeness of rings of real gold, they inspire undivided admiration!" (From a 1939 jewelry catalog) Spinels the colour of aquamarines were all the rage in the first decades of the 20th century because they could be made in a laboratory. So even ladies with slimmer wallets could suddenly afford beautiful gems that looked almost exactly like the aquamarines from faraway Brazil or Madagascar that were so precious. In 1902, August Verneuil had developed this previously unthinkable technique for growing gemstones by human hands, which revolutionized the jewellery world at the beginning of the century. The structure and colour of the spinels created in specially designed apparatus could hardly be distinguished from natural sapphires and rubies - and from around 1920 they became the "dernier cri", the "must have" of the fashion world. The present brooch also presents such an aquamarine-coloured spinel. It is set in an oval brooch of silver and gold and is accompanied by small diamond roses. This framing was probably created in the years around 1910, and then reworked in the 1920s in the taste of the Art Deco period. The spinel with its setting was placed anew in the piece of jewellery and the entire brooch was rhodium-plated in order to give it the uniform white colour that was so appreciated in the 1920s. Since the brooch was also newly hallmarked on this occasion, the work even reveals where it was created: in Prague, the Golden City on the Vltava.

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.