Antique diamond brooch with brown old cut solitaire, around 1910
Glittering diamonds, luminous gold and bright platinum are the materials that jewellery dreams are made of. The brooch presented here shows the harmonious interplay of these materials. It was created in the early years of the 20th century in one of Europe's metropolises and found its way to us from Bremen, Germany. The time of its creation, the Belle Époque, was a carefree era, a celebration of the beauty of life. The fashions and the balls of the great cities of all Europe were very much alike, one last time before the terrible wars. People looked forward to the future, and luxury and lust for life were to be the guideposts of that future. During this time, one loved sparkling jewellery made of high-quality materials, which should shine in bright white. The shapes were mostly classic, calm and elegant: no extremes, no experiments. A worldly neo-classicism united the taste in all metropolises of the continent. The brooch follows this ideal and is designed as a horizontal bar. A wide band of polished platinum frames a row of diamonds and small laurel leaves. A large old-cut diamond occupies the center of the design. The diamond weighs 1.25 ct and glows in a warm brown hue. It is a natural, untreated stone, as confirmed by an independent appraisal. The front side is entirely platinum. The reverse side, on the other hand, is made of gold. This was the typical procedure of the time, as platinum was so exceptionally rare and precious that it was (still) almost never used for massive pieces of jewellery. Quietly, we still think we can hear the violins of a ball band when we look at the piece of jewellery. Late at night, in the moonlight and under the glittering firmament: what might this brooch have seen, what has it experienced?
With the invention of gaslight and then electric light at the end of the 19th century, glistening brightness suddenly filled the ballrooms of Europe. No more dark, yellow candlelight, but the white glow of hundreds of lamps made the ladies' jewellery shine and glitter as never before. It is no wonder that a new fashion emerged as a result of these developments: white jewels made of diamonds and silver responded to the new lighting conditions and replaced the previous more colourful designs. In general, jewellery was increasingly richly set with sparkling gems 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 the Art Déco of the 1920s. Only the materials of the settings changed. The rapidly tarnishing silver was first replaced by platinum settings and later by jewellery made entirely of platinum or white gold, which was developed shortly after the World War.
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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.