Seduction of the senses

Delicate Art Nouveau Natural Pearl & Diamond Necklace, circa 1895

Jewellery is not only a precious material and an elegant form, but its history is also closely intertwined with the history of technical innovations, discoveries and inventions, such as gaslight and then electric light at the end of the 19th century. For all of a sudden, glistening brightness 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. No wonder that as a result of these developments a new fashion was born: white jewels, richly set with diamonds, responded to the new lighting conditions and replaced the previous more colourful designs. The diamonds were initially set in silver. It was only later that platinum became available to goldsmiths, and finally, around 1913, white gold. This enchantingly delicate and light necklace is an early example of this fashion. It is made of gold with a front of silver in which diamonds are set close together. Large, genuine natural pearls are pendulously attached and pick up the elegant white colour tone. The designer, unknown to us, developed the large pendant from the natural model of the lily - a flower that was more important than any other to the artists of Art Nouveau. On the one hand, it was considered a pure flower, for since the Middle Ages the lily had also been the symbol of Mary, the Mother of God. On the other hand, however, the artists of the turn of the century, beguiled by the intense scent of the plant, could no longer take it as pure and innocent as the generations before them. Rather, the image of the lily changed to a symbol of seduction and eroticism - depending on which aspect of the blossoms one wanted to emphasize. The necklace, symmetrically designed towards the middle, is very well preserved. It is at the same time delicate and yet expressive - and precious, as confirmed by an independent certificate that comes with the piece of jewellery.

"As is well known, pearls are now the magic word that makes the heart of every lady of the world beat faster, and to an ever-increasing extent pearls are pushing the red-hot rubies, the sparkling emeralds, even the flashing brilliants into the background. [...] Formerly the valuable pearls were fished almost exclusively in the Persian Gulf, and more especially near the Bahrain Islands, but for some years past very considerable quantities of pearls of high value have been brought to light from the bottom of the sea in the coastal waters of Australia, especially Queensland, and in the years 1901 to 1907 no less than 4640 tons of pearl shells were fished, the value of which the statistics give as nearly 14 million crowns. (One crown 5.10 Mk.)" Deutsche Goldschmiede-Zeitung, No. 45, 1910, p. 399.

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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.