Diamond Fringe

Victorian diamond necklace in silver & gold, circa 1880

The splendid diamond necklace at hand was fashioned in the late 19th century. Its creator's goal was to let the diamonds appear as bright and glistening as possible, using the latest techniques of his time. White gold had not yet been invented, and platinum was then barely ever used due to its hardness – thus, silver was the preferred material to set diamonds until around the turn of the century, as it would not tint the diamond's brightness. Silver covers the entire front of the necklace, as a thin layer on solid gold. The warm hue of the gold is only visible on the sides and back of the necklace, allowing it to be worn without leaving traces of oxidation on the skin or clothing, as silver might. Another innovation can be seen in the open settings of the diamonds: throughout the 19th century, diamonds had mostly been set in closed-back settings. It was only in the later 19th century that goldsmiths began to set them more delicately in open settings, allowing more light to catch the facets of the stones. Thus equipped, the diamonds show a beautiful brilliancy, made possible by the use of silver and open settings. Though delicate, the necklace is quite sturdy and has survived more than a century in very good condition.

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 longer 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 also emerged: 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 gems 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 the fashion for white jewellery also remained current in the following decades, right up to the Art Déco of the 1920s. Only the materials of the settings changed. The rapidly tarnishing silver was first replaced by platinum settings and later by jewellery made entirely of platinum or white gold, which was developed shortly after the World War.

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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.