The ball season can begin

Antique necklace & tiara with round 7.13 ct diamonds in white gold & platinum, circa 1915

The beginning of each ball season holds special woes for the debutantes: not simply regarding the choice of gown, but perhaps even more importantly so regarding the jewelry that is to be worn. Of course, these are luxury problems – but what is nicer than to concern oneself with questions of luxury? Up until a century ago, a tiara was one of the fixtures of a lady’s ball attire. There’s hardly any item of jewelry that has more impact, let alone may showcase such a wealth of precious stones. Always an item worn by nobility and later on by the wealthy bourgeois as well, antique diadems are rare finds. The tiara at hand dates to the years around 1920 and is a rare example of a tiara in a more modern formal vocabulary. 52 European old cut diamonds gleam in a setting of white gold and platinum. The gemstones mark the crossings of fine knife wires forming a mesh, culminating in an especially large diamond. Since the diamonds showcase various historical cuts, all individually cut by hand, it is likely that at least some of them were taken out of older jewelry pieces when the tiara was made, as it was usual in times past. However, the tiara cannot only be worn as such – it is also a necklace when worn in reverse. By way of two screws, the piece can be fastened to a head band; if those are unscrewed, the centre piece can be combined with a platinum chain to work as a necklace. In the latter variant, a large aquamarine drop can be suspended from the central diamond. We acquired this unusual and versatile piece in the UK. It is in beautiful condition and a very rare piece to come across.

In ancient times, diamonds were valued primarily for their incomparable hardness. As symbols of invincible strength, their beauty was secondary at best. In fact, early diamonds do not appear at all attractive to the modern eye. Medieval cutting techniques also did not allow for spectacular light reflections, and the widespread table cuts only brought out the brightness and color of the stones. All this changed in the course of the 17th century. The nobility of the Baroque period developed a taste for glittering gemstones. Rose-cut diamonds, whose many facets reflected candlelight beautifully, were particularly popular. In the middle of the century, a first, early brilliant cut developed, called the Mazarin cut after the influential Cardinal Jules Mazarin, characterized by a crown of 17 facets. By the end of the century, these diamonds were then replaced by a new shape, named the Peruzzi cut after its inventor. Vincenzo Peruzzi was a gem cutter from Venice, who increased the crown of the diamonds by additional facets to a total of 33, thus increasing the fire of the stones enormously. However, these early brilliant diamonds were not standardized in terms of the number and shape of the facets. Each stone was cut in such a way that as much substance as possible could be preserved. New diamond deposits in Brazil in the second half of the 18th century then led to a cut shape that became known as the Old Mine Cut. These diamonds are already very similar to today's full-cut diamonds, but several generations of continuous improvement of the cutting technique were still necessary until the Old Mine Cut became first the European old cut, and finally in the 1940s the modern full cut.

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.