Antique diamond brooch of the Biedermeier period, around 1830
Jewellery with diamonds was in all centuries a special privilege of the nobility and exceptionally rich citizens. The difficulties of mining and cutting the precious stones made the white shining treasures always rare and expensive. No wonder that diamond jewellery was therefore brought to the goldsmith again and again with beautiful regularity, rebuilt, renewed and adapted to the latest fashions. To find an antique diamond jewel of substantial size and in wonderful condition is, against this background, a particularly rare coincidence - but the brooch presented here gives us this pleasure. The brooch of gold with a front of silver is designed in the form of a moving bouquet. A large flower, perhaps a feathered carnation, stands in the center of the design. A large diamond of exceptional clarity in a cushion-shaped old cut occupies the center of the blossom. The petals are set with other diamonds of similar cut. To the right, left and below the large flower are staggered leaves. Dynamically moving, as if blown by a gust of wind, they frame the blossom in a large arc. Their surfaces are also set with diamonds, which immerse the brooch in an enchanting play of light. Nature was the most popular model for jewellery designs in the first half of the 19th century. After the cool, geometric symmetry of the classicism of the turn of the century, the designs now became more asymmetrical, more moving, and full of surprising details. This development in the field of jewellery corresponds to similar ideas in the Romantic period of literature and art. So it was no longer the imperial splendour of Napoleon's time that was now the reference, but the forms of nature, seen through models from the more intimate world of the Rococo and even more distant times such as the Middle Ages. Unlike the actual jewellery of the past, however, Biedermeier jewellery always retains its own powerful physicality, a heaviness of form that clearly distinguishes it from jewellery of the Rococo period, for example. Our brooch was created in the years around 1830. The cuts of the diamonds and their open back settings, which allow a lot of light to reach the stones, prove this on a technical side. At the same time, comparisons with pieces of jewellery illustrated in the literature prove that it was made in this period, cf. among others Brigitte Marquardt:Schmuck. Klassizismus und Biedermeier, 1780-1850, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Munich 1983, 230, no. 288, as well as p. 232, also David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, p. 60. The brooch is in first-class condition. At the end of the 19th century, the mounting on the back was renewed with the brooch and two pendant loops. It is possible that the jewel was previously to be worn as a hair comb. We were able to acquire it from a private collection.
The shape of the diamond has evolved over many centuries. For a long time it was technically impossible to change the raw crystal more than rudimentary, because the diamond is so extraordinarily hard. In the 17th and 18th century it was then possible to extract more and more facets from the crystal and in the course of the 19th century the cuts came closer and closer to the shape we know today as a brilliant. It was not until 1919, however, that Marcel Tolkowsky calculated the ideal shape of the brilliant on an optical-physical basis; the exact shape, which is the standard in Germany today, the so-called fine cut of the practice, was not even determined until 1938. The shape of the modern brilliant-cut diamond really became established after the war. The brilliant is therefore actually a fairly recent invention - and this also means that with a diamond cut in the 19th century or at the beginning of the 20th century, a so-called "old cut", the proportions of the stone do not follow the standard of today's brilliant. Old cuts were always cut individually in those days: One wanted to find the optimal way between the best brilliance on the one hand and the least loss of material during cutting on the other. We find that it is precisely this individuality that makes old diamonds so particularly interesting. They are less easy to compare, and their value cannot simply be determined by means of a table: Because you have to look at each stone individually to really be able to say whether it has the fire and brilliance that you expect from a diamond.
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.