From the lapel to the ear
Fancy archaeological style gold earrings, England, circa 1880 and later
Until the beginning of the 19th century, the forms of jewelry of classical antiquity were still unknown. Neither in the Renaissance, nor in Classicism had excavations produced genuine jewellery of antiquity. The designs of these epochs were merely approximations of an ideal that had to be derived from other contexts such as architecture or sculpture. This changed abruptly with the discovery of genuine Etruscan jewelry beginning in the 1820s in Italy. Princess Alexandrine of Canino, for example, was known to enjoy wearing some original Etruscan jewelry found at her country estate near Rome, to the envy of her friends. But the number of pieces, which were all chance finds, remained small and only a fraction of the ladies could still own original, millennia-old Etruscan jewellery. Therefore, the goldsmiths of those years soon began to produce pieces of jewellery according to ancient forms that were now finally known. Especially Pio Castellani from Rome and his sons excelled in this field and designed jewellery, which from the middle of the century became a well-known trademark and a true fashion in the whole of Europe. But also in the rest of Europe their works, which were quickly known under the term "archaeological style", were received with interest and merged with the forms of their own history. The pair of earrings here speaks the formal language of this fashion: below an ear hoop with attached hemisphere, a richly decorated element is movably attached, showing fine granulation along with fine cord soldering and coiled gold wires. Forming a niche at the bottom, large pendulums are attached there. The earrings were probably created in recent decades from an antique brooch and an originally shorter pair of earrings as a mariage: The two richly ornamented tops were probably joined at their lower ends and framed a now lost showpiece as a brooch. A skilful goldsmith separated them from each other and inserted them into a pair of pendulums and added the bows. The resulting earrings now make a coherent design in the taste of the late 19th century.
The late 19th century was infatuated with the past. Society was changing, industry had long since transformed the once tranquil towns into large metropolises, and new technologies such as the telegraph were bringing the world closer together. In this situation, citizens yearned for stability and reliability - and looked back to history to find role models for their own times. At the same time, fashions were now changing at an increasingly rapid pace. In earlier centuries, aesthetic preferences had changed only very slowly. In the 19th century, however, their change accelerated enormously. The history of jewellery knows as many fashions as generations in the hundred years between 1800 and 1900. At the beginning and end of the century, for example, white jewellery, richly set with diamonds, was in demand. In the 1860s and 1870s, strong colours were in demand, preferably large, polished surfaces of yellow gold and intense coloured stones.
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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.