Celebration of light
Antique bracelet with diamonds in white gold, around 1915
Ever finer and above all whiter were the jewels to be at the beginning of the last century. Snow-white jewels not only flattered the pastel-coloured dresses and were the perfect setting for the wonderful diamonds from the recently discovered, rich diamond deposits of South Africa - even in the new electric light that illuminated the ballrooms and salons of the evening, no other jewellery shone so brightly. Silver, however, tarnished, and was therefore not fully white, and could not be worked as finely as gold. Platinum, though white and finely workable, was extremely expensive, so that it was usually put on gold only as a fine layer. So the search for a white gold continued, and in 1913 Karl Richter from Pforzheim finally registered the patent for a new precious metal alloy: white gold. This bracelet is a very early piece of jewellery made of white gold: the narrow band widens in the middle to form an elegantly openworked decorative element. Its reduced formal language hints at the transition from the graphic style of Art Nouveau to the Art Deco of the 1920s. In the centre shines a fine old-cut diamond in a raised bezel setting, which seems to float in a diamond-shaped frame. The centerpiece is symmetrical and set with additional small diamond roses. Sparkling mille handles lend a special lightness to their settings. The workmanship, the design and the materials used form a harmonious interplay and create a piece of jewellery of timeless elegance.
Jewellery in elegant, cool and noble white - that has been the dream of jewellery designers since the late 19th century. But the technical possibilities put a stop to this dream for some time. Diamonds were available, but the tricky part was the question of the right metal. At first, only silver was available to create white jewelry from, but the metal tarnishes and can leave discolorations on skin and clothes. From the 1900s onwards, platinum was used more and more, but it was difficult to work with and much more expensive than gold, so that platinum was usually only used on the front of the pieces. It was not until 1912, when Pforzheim succeeded in producing white gold on a mass scale by cleverly alloying gold with other metals, that the way was clear for all-round white jewellery. However, it was to take until after the First World War for the new metal to really establish itself: with the fashion for Art Deco, however, there was no stopping it.
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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.
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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.