In bloom

Precious diamond brooch with natural pearl, Paris circa 1890

Paris, shortly before 1900: luxury, joie de vivre and beauty had been elevated to the ideal of the last decades of the 19th century. The Belle Époque revelled in wealth and splendour. The world's most beautiful dancers danced at the Moulin Rouge, and couples of the highest society met atop the brand-new Eiffel Tower. Artists of all countries flocked to the city, bringing new art to light; poets met in the cafés. At the new Opera Garnier, Parisian high society flaunted their gowns and finery, always of the latest fashion. This brooch of those years presents itself in a harmony of white: pearls and diamonds shine in its light and are set in silver. The design shows a vine, which forms a frame for a blossom of two large diamonds and a natural pearl. A total of around 4.00 carats of diamonds are set here. The free, elegant distribution of the leaves, sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left, already hints at Art Nouveau's delight in the world of floral forms. At the same time, the closed form is reminiscent of the crook of a bishop's crook. The fact that the brooch shines in the cool brilliance of silver to support the light of the diamonds and pearls in the best possible way was the usual technique at a time when white gold or platinum were not yet available to goldsmiths. The back of the piece is made of high karat gold to avoid stains on clothes or skin. The hallmarks of the brooch show that it was made in France, more precisely in Paris. We discovered it in the Rhineland.

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 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 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 gemstones 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 also in the following decades the fashion of white jewellery remained current, up to the Art Déco of the 1920s.

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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.

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