Serendipity

Magnificent demi-parure of earrings & brooch in Victorian style

Serendipity, according to the Duden dictionary, is the "accidentalness of a discovery that was not originally intended but is significant; also the accidental discovery itself". To this we also owe the existence of the present set. But first things first: Like so many good stories, this one begins with a mysterious discovery in a book. For the set of earrings and brooch we discovered a counterpart in a well-known reference work on antique jewellery, namely David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010. On page 172 of this well-known work among jewellery lovers, we find two almost identical pieces of jewellery. Our earrings correspond in their design with a piece of jewellery which, however, has the function of a pendant brooch there; our brooch, on the other hand, corresponds with another brooch which, however, is set with rubies in the book. The use of different gemstones, the slightly different designs and also the different settings of the pieces illustrated in the book suggest that they were not designed as a set, never belonged together. Ours, however, do! So far, so mysterious. Then a look under the magnifying glass reveals more details. All three items in our set are made in silver on gold using the old technique, even the almandines were backed with foil as was the custom long ago. However, while the jewels from the book date to around 1870 stylistically and because of their diamond cuts, none of the diamonds used in our set were cut in the years before 1890 - many even later. Only a few, tiny other details also betray a later origin. So what happened? Once upon a time, a jewellery lover opened Understanding Jewellery - and it was to the fortunate circumstance that the two antique pieces there happened to be pictured side by side that we owe the existence of this demi-parure. Because he or she apparently went to a goldsmith versed in ancient techniques with this very book and had the two pieces reforged, slightly modified, to make a set. The resulting demi-parure is magnificently appointed and hand-forged, with an eye for detail that is unusual in modern times. A total of 250 diamonds, totalling some 2.87 ct, set the patinated silver, and at their centre glow glowing red almandines foiled according to ancient techniques. We were able to discover the set in London - and decipher its unusual history here in Berlin. It was created in 1989 at the earliest, because that was the year in which Understanding Jewellery was first published.

Red gemstones have always fired people's imagination. In the Middle Ages, long before their chemical differences were recognized, red stones such as garnet, ruby and spinel were grouped together under the name "carbuncle". Such carbuncles were believed to have magical powers and to glow from within. In the medieval novel "Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne", for example, such a stone illuminates Charlemagne's sumptuously furnished bedchamber as bright as day. Centuries later, in Victorian times, the term was used again to describe almandine garnets that were cut into cabochons and thus became one of the most popular gemstones of the time.

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.


OUR PROMISE

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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