Delicate symmetry

Elegant brooch with natural pearls & diamonds in silver & gold, around 1900

In the years around 1900, tastes in fashion changed fundamentally, and with them the appearance of jewellery. Gone were the days of historicism with its preference for voluminous shapes and bold colors. Light creations made of pearls, diamonds, silver or platinum, which were put together in delicate arrangements, were now particularly popular. The characteristic necklace of this era was the short choker, also known as choker or collier de chien. These short, usually multi-row chokers were made famous by Alexandra of Denmark, wife of the Prince of Wales who would shortly thereafter ascend the English throne as Edward VII. While chokers for formal occasions in the evening often consisted of up to twelve strings of pearls, those for daytime use were much more comfortable to wear. Especially popular were ribbons made of velvet or silk, which were decorated with delicate diamond-studded ornamental elements in the middle. Such an ornamental element was once the exquisite piece of jewelry at hand here. Its rectangular frame, richly set with shimmering white genuine natural pearls, encloses an arrangement of leaves and other pearls set with diamonds, symmetrical towards the centre. A large old-cut diamond brilliantly occupies the center of the design. The finish is fine and delicate, yet effective, just as the fashion of those years demanded. On the sides, the frame, made of gold with a face of silver, shows the fine holes to which ten rows of pearls were once attached. In the years between the wars, the ornamental piece was then converted into a brooch, as necklaces de chiens worn close to the neck were now out of fashion. As a brooch, however, the work could still be worn with pleasure - not unlike today.

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 longer 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 also emerged: 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 the white gold developed shortly before the world war.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.