Antique rococo silver clasp with six strands of garnets, dated 1772
After the abolition of the extremely rigorous dress codes, which since the Middle Ages had forbidden the rural population to wear colourful garments and metal jewellery, more and more colourful and varied forms of jewellery were able to develop from the end of the 18th century onwards. This resulted in an abundance of traditional costumes, which have since determined the image of festively dressed people, especially in southern Germany and the Alpine region, but also in other regions. For women, these include pile clasps and chokers, bodice cords with pendants and sumptuously decorated lacing pins, earrings and finger rings, bonnet pins and hair arrows, and for men finger rings, watch chains with a variety of pendants and silver coin buttons. The clasp of the necklace presented here comes from this context. The front side of the clasp consists of two superimposed silver parts, the upper one is openwork and riveted to the lower one. In beautiful three-dimensionality we see an arrangement of plant forms and flowers. An old hand engraving on the smaller part of the clasp shows the year "1772" on the reverse. Objects of the goldsmith's art of the 18th century are rare contemporary testimonies, so that we have taken on the fragment to preserve it. Our workshop has added six strands of garnet beads to make the antique goldsmith's work wearable again.
Today, garnets are among the classics of jewellery, but their grandiose triumph in bourgeois jewellery fashion came relatively late, in the second half of the 19th century. As so-called "carbuncle stones" they were attributed magical powers in the Middle Ages and they appear in the literature of the time as "Bohemian fire dragons", which further underpins their mystical charge. After being mined in Bohemian mines for centuries, they fell out of fashion completely by the 1800s. This changed abruptly when Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi) visited the crown land of Bohemia on her honeymoon in 1854 and was presented with some of the treasures from the Bohemian mines. The empress had a whole parure made from these garnets and presented herself in their splendour to Viennese society at a court ball. The very next day - so the story goes - a veritable run on jewels with the fire dragons broke out. A beautiful testimony to the fact that the enthusiasm for garnets also spread to the rest of Europe and continues to this day is the wonderful necklace presented here.
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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.