Precious knots

Long Victorian gold earrings, Great Britain circa 1875

Knots are well-known symbols of love since ancient times. Symbolically, they bind the lovers indissolubly together, and thus stand for the eternal duration of the feeling. Due to the possibility of redesigning the knot in all times according to the taste and fashion of the time, this motif has always remained current and has been taken up again and again. The present pair of earrings dates from Victorian England and follows this tradition. Created in the 1870s, it takes the form of so-called "Lover's Knots" and two suspended pendulums complete the design. The basic shape of the earrings is reminiscent of the "Etruscan Revival" style, which inspired numerous jewellery designs in the second half of the century. Earrings of this type were made in small factories, mostly in the north of England, from ever new combinations of similar elements - this meant that customers could be presented with a wide choice and yet the production remained affordable. And last but not least, the wearer did not run the risk that her friends would wear the same earrings as she did! The earrings here live from the movement and play of light on the surfaces, we discovered them in London. As a final image, we show a contemporary illustration from 1872 that illustrates the earring fashion of the era - it helps us date this pair as well.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, the forms of truly ancient jewelry were still unknown. Neither in the Renaissance nor in Classicism had excavations produced genuine jewellery from antiquity. The designs of these epochs had merely been approximations to an ideal that had to be derived from other contexts such as architecture. This changed abruptly with the discovery of genuine Etruscan jewelry beginning in the 1820s in Italy. Princess Alexandrine of Canino, for example, was known to enjoy wearing some original Etruscan jewelry found at her country estate near Rome, to the envy of her friends. But the number of pieces, which were all chance finds, remained small and only a fraction of the ladies could still own original, millennia-old Etruscan jewellery. Therefore, the goldsmiths of those years soon began to produce pieces of jewellery according to ancient forms that were now finally known. Especially Pio Castellani from Rome and his sons excelled in this field and designed jewellery which became a well-known trademark and a true fashion all over Europe from the middle of the century on. In Germany and Austria, corresponding pieces were created from the mid-1860s onwards. On the Castellani jewellery, see in detail Susan Weber Soros/Stefani Walker (eds.): Castallani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry, New Haven/London 2004.

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.