Glow of water, red of roses

Pretty Belle Époque bar brooch with rubies & diamonds, circa 1910

"The jewels were a composition of diamonds and rubies, and looked as delicate, pure, and noble as a mediæval work of art set in colors. A true enchantment lay about this intimacy of water-glow and rose-redness distributed in the sensuous figures, which can only be so taken from the thoughts of our ancestors." (Adalbert Stifter: Der Nachsommer, 1857) The magic of diamond and ruby jewellery that captivates the protagonists of Stifter's "Night Summer" also surrounds this brooch. The piece of jewellery takes us back to the beginning of the 20th century. The years of the Belle Epoque were an era full of luxury, joie de vivre and celebration of beauty. The world's most beautiful dancers danced at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, the society couples in love met on the Ringstrasse in Vienna, and the ladies' gowns and diamonds shone brightly at the balls in the elegant Unter den Linden hotels in Berlin. The small brooch has a classic stick shape with a modern twist. On the stick, offset from the center, a small square is placed on the stick in which four red, calibrated cut rubies sparkle in a framing of diamonds. This gives the design, whose face is covered with platinum, a tension that is created by the asymmetrical design and the contrasting colours of the gemstones. The workmanship and choice of materials of the very well preserved pin allow us to date it to the years around 1910. Numerous slim jewellery pieces with reduced shapes were created at this time, which were set with ever new combinations of brightly coloured gemstones and diamonds. Equally typical of the period is the production of the back of the piece in yellow gold under a surface of platinum, because the white metal, whose sparkle one wanted to compliment the diamonds and coloured stones, was very difficult to work with and also extremely expensive, so that a substructure of gold represented a good compromise that was often used. The brooch is in first-class condition and found its way to us here in Berlin.

The ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum. Corundum can be found in almost all colors of the rainbow, even completely colorless stones are among them. But while all these stones can also be addressed as sapphires, only the magnificently red stones of this mineral genus are rubies. Among the coloured stones, the ruby is by far the most valuable stone; only particularly high-quality pink, blue or green diamonds fetch higher prices today. Throughout history, the best rubies have always been mined in Burma, around the city of Mogok. They are characterized by an intense pink-red color, also known as "pigeon's blood". The best stones seem to glow as if from an inner fire, which is best visible in daylight: stones that still appear fantastically red in artificial light can appear washed out under the sun. According to tradition, rubies are divine, princely stones. Since color is reminiscent of blood and burning fire, their connection to burning love was quite natural. Supposedly, they even prevent disease and give proud, fresh courage. Indian princes therefore even had themselves addressed as "King of Rubies".

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.