Amor Ornamenti

Antique demi-parure with turquoises & diamonds in gold, circa 1875

Have you heard the term "horror vacui", fear of emptiness? The art critic Mario Praz famously applied this expression to the Victorian love of ornamentation. Floral patterns covered the walls and upholstered furniture of the Victorian living room, dresses and jewels could not do without multiple colors and patterns. Hardly any surface was allowed to remain without ornament. From the point of view of today, where mostly rather a fear of ornament is cultivated, this antithesis to the ubiquitous minimalism can be quite refreshing. The present set of the years around 1875 illustrates this love of ornament. It consists of a brooch with matching earrings, the earrings echoing the basic shape of the brooch 'en miniatur'. In the center, each element features a flower with petals of gold filigree. It is superimposed on an openwork appliqué of neo-Gothic-like tendrils. Around each element is a frame of small gold beads; this so-called granulation is borrowed from the art of the ancient Etruscans. Turquoise cabochons and diamond roses complete the pieces, whose design appears harmonious despite the wealth of ornament. The combination of earrings and matching brooch makes the set a so-called demi-parure, such as it belonged to every better sorted jewellery wardrobe in the 19th century. For any activity during the day, a demi-parure was considered stylish, representative and appropriate; its design was always based on the current fashion. Only in the evening was it usually exchanged for diamond jewellery. Since its creation, the demi-parure has been excellently preserved in its original red velvet lined case. Worn individually or as a set, it can still accompany you on many occasions. In later times, the brooch even received an additional hidden pendant bail, so that it can now also be worn on a chain or a velvet ribbon.

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.